A DONKEY bound for a European slaughterhouse is alive and well and enjoying his new life in Saddleworth.
The animal, since named Red, was a sorry sight when rescuers Helen and Matthew Brennand brought him to their rural equine sanctuary above Greenfield.
Encrusted with sores and infested with bugs, Red’s ill treatment left him frightened and wary of humans.
But under the care of the Brennands and making new friendships with the couple’s horses at the Haven retreat, including new best pal Cookie, Red is learning to trust again.
Now the community is set to rally round and ensure his stay in Saddleworth is a long and happy one.
A fundraising evening for Red, believed to be about 14 years old, has been organised by Helen’s friend Carolyn Simpson at Reclamation Room in Uppermill on Wednesday, December 5.
The evening, from 7-10pm, includes live entertainment by one of Manchester’s up-and-coming bands Ambiere, previously likened to Portishead and the XX.
There will also be a bar and raffle. Tickets cost £8 and are available via Carolyn on 07738 905033.
“It should be a fantastic night and we really appreciate the support and interest around Red,” said Helen. “Everyone has been so kind.
“We normally do our own fundraising when we take horses in that we are going to support.
“We made the decision to take him in but we hadn’t expected anyone to do anything.
“Then the next thing Carolyn says she is going to put on this night and it is so lovely because everyone comes together.
“I love him to bits already. He has not found his voice yet; he hasn’t done the full ‘hee-haw.’
“When he first came his back was hunched because he was expecting to be mistreated. But he’s slowly building up his confidence again.”
Mossley Hollins pupil Roman Burton, a keen volunteer at the Haven in recent years, has also been looking after Red’s well-being.
In addition to providing a safe haven and holistic care for horses and ponies rescued from abusive situations, Helen is also an equine bodyworker and animal communicator, helping people find balance and harmony through the horses.
“The therapy work wasn’t something I planned to do but it has gradually evolved.
“I tend to work individually though I have worked with the odd group.
“It’s great for reducing stress and anxiety with more and more people realising the therapeutic benefits animals can bring.
“It is a powerful healing connection which balances emotions and re-wires neutral pathways.”
For more information on the Haven visit www.belief444.com