A giant donkey finds new best friend

Donkey giant enters Guinness World Records book Animal World

A giant Poitou donkey left heartbroken by the loss of his best friend has found a new companion

Topper the giant donkey, a fourteen-year-old Poitou, one of the largest breeds of donkey, lived with his companion Amber.  But when doctors discovered that Amber has a cancer and they put her to sleep, Topper stayed alone.

At around the same time, previous rehoming had not worked out and the donkey Dolly returned to the refuge. She had lived at a home with two other donkeys but unfortunately Dolly couldn’t deal with them.

Donkey Welfare Adviser Justine Thomas could see that Dolly was unhappy, and believed that there was someone out there who could provide her with the love she deserved.

After hearing about Topper’s situation, Justine worked with colleagues. They made arrangements to introduce Dolly to Topper at his home near Marlborough.

Poitou donkeys are a rare breed and require a specialist care regime. Justine knew that Topper’s owner, who has a great experience in their care, would help Dolly to make friends.

Measuring an average of 14.2 hands high, Poitous are distinctive not just because of their size, but also their long shaggy coats. Although a regular breed of donkey, 14-year-old Dolly was particularly tall, so would match Topper’s stature perfectly.

“Donkeys form strong and long-lasting friendships and much prefer the company of their own kind, so it was very important that we found Topper a new donkey companion. Dolly is a perfect partner,” said Justine Thomas, Donkey Welfare Adviser at The Donkey Sanctuary.

Topper’s owner and Dolly’s new Guardian, Sarah-Jane Newton, said, “Topper was clearly in distress at being on his own and I was extremely concerned for his welfare, even to the extent that the whole family slept out in the garden summerhouse right next to his stable, just to keep him company at night.

“Topper was beside himself with happiness when he saw her, and although Dolly needed some time to settle in.”

The Donkey Sanctuary is a global leader for equine welfare, research and veterinary care. The charity operates programs worldwide for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation.

“They are inseparable now, and it has been wonderful to watch their relationship blossom.”

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