It’s not every day the tale of a pet donkey comes to light, but to Greta West resident Jane Galbally the story of her four-month-old colt named Horace resembles that of fairy tale.
Born in April, Horace had a rough start to life after losing his mother, Tinker Bell, due to complications.
“She had contracted diabetes, which is a condition that is unique to lactating equines during the drought,” Ms Galbally said.
“She fed him briefly but had no strength to go on after 10 hours.”
After Horace had been pulled out by his ears and with no colostrum to provide antibodies, Ms Galbally sought a vet for help.
“The vet gave me 600ml to feed him every hour for 24 hours — meaning no sleep for me,” she said.
“But he drank well and wanted to live.”
Ms Galbally continued to feed the young donkey every two hours for the next three weeks.
Horace went from strength to strength and grew fond of his owner.
“He regards me as his mother and walks everywhere with me,” Ms Galbally said.
But she isn’t the only one Horace took a shine to.
“He developed a bond with my whippet very quickly and the rag doll cat called Mishka,” Ms Galbally said.
“They play chasey together and Horace will throw balls up into the air.”
Ms Galbally said Horace has become quite the star with her business, Jane Galbally’s Horse Riding Services.
“He enjoys our pony parties and kids love giving him his bottle,” she said.
Horace can be bold, and according to Ms Galbally “knows what he wants”.
“He has learnt to open the door into the house, making himself at home in my bedroom, and whenever I get up to put the kettle on — lots of hawking,” she said.
“He also has a tendency to bite my feet when he wants more milk.”
Now only feeding three times a day, things are a bit easier on his owner.
“Tinker Bell would be very proud of him,” Ms Galbally said.