Rafael Benjumea hugs Alicia after she is baptised with Nana looking on. / C. M.
She was born on Mother’s Day and her name is Alicia. It was chosen from the hundreds suggested by the children who have visited the Fuente de Piedra refuge since her birth. She was baptised recently, in ceremony that also celebrated the sixth year of operation for the Donkey Refuge, a sanctuary which rescues and cares for donkeys, asses and mules in dire need.
Alicia’s mother Nana arrived at the refuge pregnant, with deformed hooves and struggling to walk. At 12 years old, she had had 16 owners and a very hard life, sadly her story is not uncommon.
The refuge opened its doors in 2004 and took in its first resident a 26 year old ex Mijas taxi donkey; his story led to the twice yearly MOT for the Mijas taxi donkeys which assures their health. The refuge has three aims; to provide a place of care and safety for animal in need, to educate owners and people about the animals and their care and to develop a programme of therapy using the animals. To this end they already work with a number of associations for the disabled, especially children, who benefit greatly from working with the donkeys.
The work of the refuge is supported by donations from visitors and from its association with the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth in Devon and the adopt a donkey programme. The refuge looks after 87 animals at its Fuente de Piedra facility and a further 113 in Badajoz. In the last six years the refuge has helped over 500 animals, some of whom have gone on to be adopted. The Refuge’s work with these patient and long suffering animals is never ending. For Alicia and her mother a better life awaits, but for so many others the suffering goes on.