One of The Donkey Sanctuary’s newest arrivals has been named after Premiership footballer and donkey champion Kai Havertz. Kai the foal was born to rescued donkey Rosie at the international animal welfare charity’s headquarters in Devon in early spring.

The decision to name him Kai was prompted by a newspaper article in which the sought after football star talked about his long-held regard for these sensitive and intelligent animals. In the article Kai revealed that his teammates call him ‘donkey’. Aware of his affection for the animals, the striker was given the nickname because he too is a deep thinker and a calming presence on the field.

Kai enjoys some football enrichment in his field at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth

Animal-lover Kai grew up spending time with rescued donkeys at a sanctuary near his hometown of Aachen.

“I have followed the work of The Donkey Sanctuary for some time so when they got in touch to say they’d like to name a foal after me, I was delighted,” he said. “Donkeys are such incredible animals, and I am very happy to give my name so this little donkey can help raise awareness of the importance of good donkey welfare, here and all around the world.”

The staff at the sanctuary wanted to recognise Kai’s appreciation of these animals and their emotional intelligence, and the effort he is making through his new foundation to improve the lives of donkeys in his home country of Germany. Kai Havertz Stiftung is a not-for-profit organisation supporting animal protection and welfare, youth and elderly care, and sporting youth development.

Kai has won the hearts of many

“It appears the gorgeous fluffy grey and white donkey foal, who has already captured the hearts of his grooms at the sanctuary in Sidmouth, seems to be a fan of the beautiful game too,” added a spokesman for the Donkey Santuary. “As our images show, Kai the foal can be seen enjoying some enrichment in his field at the sanctuary with his football, closely accompanied by his mum Rosie. Enrichment provides the resident donkeys more opportunities to interact with their environment, make choices and to be more mentally and physically active.”

Marianne Steele, CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary, said that Kai has proved to be a “real champion of donkeys in every sense of the word.”

“We are so pleased to have the opportunity to name our new foal after him and hope he will continue to inspire people to think about donkeys differently,” she added.

Lead image of Kai (right) with his mum Rosie at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth 

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