A woman and her son were out for a leisurely stroll in the Skunk Creek Wash in Peoria, Arizona when they noticed something strange. As they came closer, they realized it was covered in fur and lying abandoned in the river bed. The mysterious lump turned out to be a 6-day-old baby donkey, and he was close to death.
Instead of trying to escape, the donkey followed the woman to her car and she brought him home. She carried the sweet little baby all the way up the stairs to her second-story apartment. When she saw the full extent of the donkey's injuries, she called a rescue team.
"I knew that if a baby donkey was allowing this woman to carry her into her kitchen, then we probably had a very sick donkey on our hands," Soleil Dolce of the Arizona Equine Rescue Organization told The Dodo in an interview.
AERO stepped in and brought the little foal in for intensive care and testing. She was dangerously dehydrated and had a nasty wound on her neck where she'd apparently been kicked by an adult donkey. The deep gash had become badly infected and infested with maggots.
Annie Brown, a volunteer for AERO, said: “We had to rush her immediately to Chaparral (Veterinary Medical Center) or she wouldn't make it. She was just that bad."
The sweet little newborn, who was named Chloe, weighed just 38 pounds when she was brought in. The vets worked to save her life after her tiny body went into shock. After Chloe was stabilized, volunteers found her a surrogate mom - a lactating donkey named Jessica. The mom instantly showed protectiveness for the foal and allowed her to nurse.
It's hard to know how Chloe was abandoned. “She could have been rejected by her dam,” said Dr. Rachel Liepman of the Chaparral Veterinary Medical Center. “She could be a stray. She could be a wild donkey. We just don't know."
Chloe has been steadily improving with the help of Jessica and the rescue team. When she's older, AERO hopes to find a good home for her.
"This morning, I had her stall door open, and she actually jumped out and started exploring outside of her stall, which she really hasn't been ready to do, but she's getting so strong and healthy, that she's turning into a very normal baby," Dolce said.
If you'd like to help Chloe recover, you can donate to AERO here!
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