A pair of donkeys have been given a new chance in life thanks to The Donkey Sanctuary and their adopters.

Stallions Rupert and Toby were found in a dirty pen at a West Yorkshire property in 2016. Both donkeys were in a “pitiful state” and had been suffering from neglect for a long time.

An investigation involving The Donkey Sanctuary, World Horse Welfare, the RSPCA, Bransby Horses and West Yorkshire Police discovered the pair.

Rupert and Toby were underweight and their coats were in poor condition with areas of hair loss and matting. Their hooves were severely overgrown and twisted and they were unable to stand or walk normally .

“On first seeing Rupert and Toby, it was immediately obvious that they needed specialist care if they stood any chance of recovery,” said Hannah Bryer, Head of Welfare at The Donkey Sanctuary.

“They were very quiet and not particularly interested in what was going on around them. Donkeys are naturally inquisitive, so any change in this behaviour indicates that something is wrong.

“Both donkeys had difficulty walking, and it was obvious they were experiencing significant pain. We needed to act quickly to find local solutions as travelling them too far could cause further health issues and increase the risk of hyperlipaemia.”

Rupert and Toby were taken to an emergency holding base in Yorkshire where the vets, farriers and grooms could begin their treatment.

Following many months of care and rehabilitation, the donkeys’ health slowly improved, and they were well enough to travel to The Donkey Sanctuary’s Devon base.

Charity grooms noticed the pair had very gentle temperaments, making them ideal candidates for our Rehoming Scheme, so the pair were put forward.

Last year, Rupert and Toby became ready for rehoming, and the pair left the sanctuary to join a new home with one of the charity’s Donkey Guardians.

Rupert and Toby have settled into their new home and Toby has even enjoyed some agility in his field.

“Toby seems to enjoy his new activity and has taken to it like a pro,” said the charity’s Donkey Welfare Adviser, Sophie Foster. “He spends much of time freely running around his paddock, leaping over the low obstacles set up for him.

“Rupert is yet to join in and seems content to watch, occasionally lifting his head from his grazing just to see what’s going on.

“It’s so lovely to see that Rupert and Toby have now settled into their new safe forever home. As well as being best friends, the pair also adore the family’s young children.

“After suffering so much pain and neglect in their life, it is so humbling to see they have now become part of their new family.”