Have you ever heard the story about the therapy animal called Shocks? Well, he is a rescue donkey who was lying in a field near a farm in Ireland when the rescuers found him.
He was tethered up tightly with a rope which caused painful sores and lesions on his neck. The rescuers took the poor animal and brought him to The Donkey Sanctuary in Birmingham where his life has changed.
Here, these animals are rescued from abuse and are being trained to work as therapy animals.
So, not only Shocks got the help he desperately needed, but he also became helpful to others.
In 2013, Shocks met Amber, a 2-year-old girl who was born prematurely, along with her twin brother called Hope. As a result of her condition, she underwent life-saving surgery.
Namely, the very moment she was born she couldn’t breathe and doctors gave her an emergency tracheotomy to save her life. Unfortunately, the pipe which was supposed to allow her to breathe, cut off her vocal cords, leaving the little girl completely mute.
Moreover, Amber suffers from cerebral palsy, a condition that makes it difficult for her to move around due to the stiff muscles and poor coordination.
Her father, Julian Austwick said that Amber’s inability to crawl when she was a baby and her struggles to sit up were the reasons why they decided to try the animal therapy in The Donkey Sanctuary.
This was the first time for Amber to meet a therapy animal, and for Shocks, who had been left for dead a little while before, she was the first patient too. The connection between these two was instantaneous.
At first, Amber’s parents were a bit scared because Shocks was very big in comparison to the little girl, but soon they realized they were so gentle to each other. He would lower his head to let Amber hold him around his neck.
He stimulated Amber to increase her physical activity which helped her to strengthen her muscles. She even learned to ride him.
Luckily, when she turned 3, Amber underwent another surgery which was supposed to make it possible for her to speak.
However, long after the surgery, she still hadn’t said anything. One day, after taking a ride with Shocks, before leaving the sanctuary, she hugged him and said in a high-pitched voice “I love you Shocky”.
Her father, Austwick revealed it was a proud moment for everyone because these were Amber’s first words and it was a huge relief for them to find out that their daughter could finally speak.
Her mother added that Shocks has helped Amber to come out of her shell and become more socially confident.
Now, Amber is growing up strong and she goes to school, but she never fails to visit and spend some time with her best friend, Shocks. They love their cuddles and enjoy being together.
Both of them were suffering a lot before they met each other but now each of them seems to have a bright future.
Amber’s parents were so moved by how these two healed each other, they even wrote a book about this heart-warming story.
Source/photos: The Dodo