Message: Email from Pamela Holmes:
I had heard about Dana, the “person who takes care of the donkeys”, when we first came to St. John last January. As a wildlife rehabilitator in New England, I knew our paths would cross. My boyfriend and I came back in December for the winter and I soon met a lone male donkey with fresh scrapes above his eyes on the road to our villa in Coral Bay. I immediately called Dana. She called me right back and said that it was fine that he was by himself and that she would meet me to give me sulfa pills for his scrapes. She thanked me for looking after him and we quickly formed a friendship. I visited her farm and was amazed that she cared for numerous rescued animals by herself including eight donkeys, eight horses, a three-legged sheep, a goat, dozens of chickens and ducks, two dogs and three cats. All of their shelter, food, medications and rental of the farm are paid for out of her own pocket. She gives horse and donkey rides to help offset some of the costs as well as support herself.
She called me on Sunday evening, Feb. 1, saying she was going to check on a donkey that she had received a call about who appeared to be missing a hoof and was bleeding. She called me back shortly later saying it was pretty bad and she needed to get the bleeding to stop. I told her we would come and help. Upon arriving, we saw that the donkey had made its way on to someone’s driveway. The poor pregnant donkey was hobbling on three legs with her back left leg bleeding as the hoof was indeed missing. She possibly got it caught in a grate. Dana knew the donkey and the several babies she had already had. Luckily, the donkey let us put a halter on her and Dana immediately administered a tranquilizer. Dana had been texting with a local vet and getting advice. We tied her between two trees and two of us tried to hold her still as Dana started cleaning her wound and bandaged it as best as she could. It was already dark and we were using flashlights. The tranquilizer took effect and she laid down. We had to loosen her lead so her head was not being pulled and we made a makeshift pillow for her. Soon she started shaking all over. She appeared to be going into shock. We covered her with a couple of sheets. Once she seemed stable, Dana re-bandaged her to make sure it wasn’t too tight. Shortly before midnight, Dana was concerned that when the tranquilizer wore off, the donkey would get up and potentially get tangled in her lead. She went home and grabbed her own bedding, came back and laid it down on the ground. Dana spent the night with the donkey. I was blown away. Her dedication was beyond words. The next morning, she arranged for someone with a pickup truck to bring the donkey to her farm. It took five of us to get her into the truck and out of the truck. She was a trooper! Dana decided to name her Suzy Q and she is recovering in her own stall at the farm. Dana will keep her until her hoof grows back and she has the baby. She will then be looking for a home for her.
Dana told me that Suzie had a baby about 3 years ago who was found with her leg broken. Dana thought she probably lying down on the side of the road when a car ran over her leg. Baby Girl, as Dana named her, healed up after the vet, Laura, put pins secured by epoxy tubing. Dana sent her to St. Croix to a home that wanted donkeys to protect their sheep and goats.
Another one of Dana’s rescued donkeys is Stormy, who was hit by a car and is now a permanent resident if the corral.
Dana has been rescuing animals on St. John since 1992. For 23 years, she has been a one-woman show, giving 110% with a 55% budget. She is truly an animal spirit and is the only person who devotes as much attention to the wild donkeys on the island. Her rescued animals are always in need of hay, Home Depot gift cards, medical supplies, etc. If you would like to make a donation, sponsor Suzy Q or any other rescued animal, please visit her website for more information. Suzy Q and all the needy wild animals of St. John thank you!
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St. John and Virgin Islands News
Police want parents to keep better tabs on their youngsters, and if children younger than 16 are out and unaccompanied by an adult after 10 p.m. they should expect to be detained by police…
By JOHN McCARTHY (Daily News Staff)
Published: February 9, 2015