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Wilbur's Story

Meet Wilbur. A beautiful, scraggly rescue donkey from at East Cape Horse Care Unit (‘ECHCU’) who recently found his “Happy Ever After” home at Grass Roof Farm Stall, Port Elizabeth. Wilbur has an inspiring true story of courage, hope and strength.

His story starts much the same as most township donkeys’; he started out life as a young jack, owned by Mrs Peg-leg , a Walmer Township resident, who used her donkeys to make a living by pulling a cart.

When Mrs Peg-leg got sick, a group of children took over the donkey cart which Wilbur and his younger brother Junior pulled. Keeping in mind that the law states that children are not allowed to be in control of a donkey cart, these children were overloading the cart and at one point they had Wilbur and Junior pulling a double cart.

Donkeys should not start pulling a cart before the age of 4 as their bodies are still developing and their bone structure firming up to prepare them for life.

At this point in time, September 2014, Wilbur was around 5 or 6 years old and Junior couldn’t have been more than a year old. Naturally Wilbur was the bigger donkey and with donkeys being stoic of nature he didn’t complain and took most of the load when pulling the cart.

Megan Hope from the Eastern Cape Horse Care Unit had been looking for this group of children who had taken over the cart from Mrs Peg-leg but they always seemed to evade her, until this particular day when poor Wilbur and Junior just couldn’t do it anymore! The children were beating them and trying to make them go faster while pulling a heavy load and going up a hill.

Junior eventually couldn’t take it anymore and collapsed and Wilbur could barely stand from utter exhaustion and the beatings he was getting.

Megan and her team stepped in and seized both Wilbur and Junior and were given a court order allowing the ECHCU to keep the two donkeys.

In the two weeks that followed Wilbur and Juniors futures were not looking good, Junior lay down in the ‘hospital camp’ for all that time until one day he managed to summon up enough strength to stand on his feet. In this time another guardian angel arrived in the form of Tracey Schoeman, who adopted the two brothers and took them to live at her cattery in Theescombe, Port Elizabeth.

Wilbur’s recovery has been a long one and is ongoing, with a lot of ups and downs, but this boy is not ready to throw the towel in just yet! He has experienced a number of bad bouts of colic, lameness (he had pieces of glass trodden into his hooves which caused long-term effects), just lying down, but he always seems to find the strength to push through whatever situation he finds himself in and comes out victorious at the other end.

As with countless other donkeys and horses, Wilbur’s story would have been very different had the ECHCU not been there to rescue him. To be blunt, neither Wilbur nor Junior would be alive today without the ECHCU, or they would have been in such a bad state that euthanasia was the only way left to help.

Bring your family and friends to meet Wilbur and Junior at Grass Roof Farm Stall between 8AM-4.30AM daily, where you will also find Wilbur merch for sale! Grass Roof is a farm-to-table restaurant, farm stall, and bakery located in Heron Rd, Cnr New Seaview Rd, Sardinia Bay, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

The ECHCU is a non-profit organisation which relies on donations to feed and care for the horses and donkeys in its care, pay rent, fuel and salaries for their staff who all have hearts the size of a mountain for these precious animals, run their vehicles and not forgetting, pay veterinary bills. Prior to the pandemic the ECHCU was receiving very welcome funding from the racing sector but with the negative impact COVID-19 lockdown has had on many, so it has affected the ECHCU. Their funding has been withdrawn and they are left to go month-to-month in the hope of having enough funds to see them through. If you can find it in your heart to help keep the doors of the Eastern Cape Horse Care Unit open, so that there can continue to be many more heart-warming stories such as Wilbur’s, then please make a donation into their Go-Fund-me account – Every R1 helps.

Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animals …”

By donating to ECHCU and using the Ref: Wilbur you will be allowing Wilbur’s story to make a difference in the lives of the any rescue donkey at ECHCU.

EASTERN CAPE HORSE CARE UNIT: Standard Bank Branch Code: 051001 Account No: 080733875 Ref: Wilbur

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