The Donkey Sanctuary said a sad farewell to a favourite at the Sidmouth Sanctuary, as Dartanyan the Poitou donkey was put to sleep on the advice of the veterinary team.

Dartanyan was 14 years old and was well known for his distinctive, shaggy coat and tall stature. He shared his home at Shelter Six with his bonded companion, Jump the mule.

Dartanyan had a history of veterinary conditions, including an episode of cellulitis in one of his hind legs in 2022. Since then staff kept him closely monitored, ensuring he enjoyed a good quality of life and was free from pain and discomfort.

Recently however, he started showing signs of becoming unwell and despite best efforts from the veterinary team, his health continued to decline. Due to his other ongoing health conditions, they recommended that the kindest decision would be to put Dartanyan to sleep.

“Dartanyan was truly an icon of the Sidmouth Sanctuary and his presence will be dearly missed,” said Marianne Steele, CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary. “It is hard to say goodbye to any donkey in our care, but our priority is always to act in the best interests of the animal concerned. “Thanks to an incredible team of vet and grooms, Dartanyan was able to enjoy a long and happy life among his companions, just as he deserved.”

Dartanyan came into the care of the sanctuary in 2011, along with his Poitou companions Guinness, Aramis and Percy, after their owner could no longer provide the specialist care they required. The breed originates from the Poitou region of France, and they are easily identified by their thick coat which is prone to matting and tangling.

“The legacy Dartanyan leaves is a deep understanding of this rare and extraordinary breed of donkey, knowledge that will inform our work and help us improve the lives of many more Poitous, just like Dartanyan, in the future,” added Marianne.

Lead image of Dartanyan by The Donkey Sanctuary

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