Extremely young and elderly animals have little or no chance in serious disasters. Often the first to succumb to illness or injuries, too slow to run and often in fragile health to begin with.
As we made our way around the island yesterday, we came across a mule whose owner Maria Andrar told us was well over twenty-five years old. Formerly her main source of transporting produce these two were now mostly “just friends”, she said.
With a smile, Maria said she’d always called the old white male “Mule”. They lived in the least affected area of the island on a relatively small wedge of the island in the rain shadow of the volcanic peak that soars above and dominates the entire place.
Despite living in the relative lushness and cooler temperatures than the searing heat of the rest of the island, “Mule” was in bad shape. His skin was split and raw where advanced mange – a mite-bourn infection that leaves animals with hairless, painful open patches of skin that eventually open and bleed – had taken hold. Clouds of flies covered his wounds. He stamped his hooves to shoo them away, but he was obviously distressed, tired and looking miserable.
Sergio Vasquez approached him and examined him while Gerardo Huertas prepared a deworming medication. After giving him the medicine through and oral applicator, we sprayed his wounds with a blue antiseptic and anti-mite medication to both begin the healing process and keep the flies at bay.
We’ll keep you updated on “Mule” and are confident his twilight years will be much improved thanks to the care he received as a result of your help.