Lonely Donkey Won't Stop Kissing His Rescuer
It's his way of saying thank you 😍
When rescuers first saw Pippin, his body was covered in scratches and his face was dirty. He would barely lift his head, and his eyes were dull and tired.
One look was all it took to know how lonely and depressed he had become.
At around 15 years old, the donkey had already been sold and traded off to a dozen different homes throughout the years — and it was likely that, after all that time, he’d never once had a friend.
“A worker from the store where we buy the feed for the animals told us about a man who wanted to get rid of a donkey,” Laura Llácer, cofounder of Santuario Compasión Animal, a sanctuary in Valencia, Spain, told The Dodo. “When we saw his picture, we went for him. He was not well in that place.”
Pippin was kept in a small pen, and his owner told Llácer that he had recently tried to escape it, getting trapped under the gate and injuring himself in the process. He was known as Tonto by his owner, which means “silly” in Spanish.
“When he was climbing into the trailer, we saw his sadness and resignation,” Llácer said. “What moved us most was that this was the 13th time he was changing homes. We promised him that he would never have to say goodbye again.”
At first, Pippin was quite skittish because of his former life. Whenever his caretakers tried to sweep with a broom near him, he would get spooked and run as far away as possible, as if he had been beaten by one before. He was also very nervous about his ears being touched.
In addition to suffering from emotional neglect, his body needed time to recover as well. His hooves were in very poor condition and his muscles were weak from a poor diet and not having enough room to exercise.
But despite everything he had been through, Pippin was so sweet to his caretakers — and would stand still for minutes on end just getting pet and loved on. But his favorite thing, they learned, was kisses.
“From the first moment that Pippin met us, he was affectionate to us, trying to get our attention,” Llácer said. “He would call us when he saw us so that we would come to see him.”
As the days went on, Pippin began to form a special bond with his caretaker, sanctuary cofounder Alberto Terrer. Terrer made a point to pet and kiss Pippin every single day — and Pippin nuzzled him right back.
“Above all, he has a special bond with his caregiver Alberto,” Llácer said. “He always seeks to receive kisses and caresses from him.”
It’s now a little over a year since being rescued, and Pippin has just gotten more affectionate toward Terrer and all his new friends. He loves the sanctuary volunteers, the other donkeys and the cows.He loves them almost as much as he loves eating apples, his new favorite snack since coming to the sanctuary.
After seeing Pippin heal so quickly, his rescuers credit one thing for his amazing recovery: companionship.
“He had to spend the first months while he was recovering away from the other donkeys, whom he saw playing from afar,” Llácer said. “When they finally met, Pippin was super affectionate with them … As if they were the friends he had always wanted to have.”