It’s time for an update on Timmy, the little foal at the Donehal Donkey Sanctuary who was born with deformed hind legs and has captured our hearts with his determined spirit.

Little Timmy was born on July 20 at the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary, run by Sandra and Danny Curran, who take in donkeys that have suffered years of abuse and neglect or those from loving families who can no longer look after them themselves.

Because Timmy’s mom, Twilight, suffered some trauma before she was rescued from a forest in south Donegal, Timmy was born with a deformity in his hind legs that keeps him from walking and feeding properly.

Little Timmy's hind legs. He has a severe problem with tendons around the fetlock area. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary

Little Timmy's hind legs. He has a severe problem with tendons around the fetlock area. Photo: Donegal Donkey Sanctuary

Timmy had been making good progress, with Danny and Sandra helping him to manipulate his legs regularly in order to help the tendons shorten. However, he recently hit something of an obstacle.

Danny Curran reports:

“During the last two weeks the tendons in one of Timmy’s legs have tightened and raised his fetlock off the ground. Unfortunately the other one has shown no sign of improvement, continuing to drag as he walks. While any improvement should be good news, this imbalance had an adverse effect on his stance and forced him to walk with a very awkward gait. This in turn led to him having a very hunched or twisted appearance in his upper body.

“The vet became concerned that he might have scoliosis of the spine and emergency X-rays were called for. Timmy traveled with his Mom, Twilight, to the veterinary surgery where he patiently endured the process and thankfully his spine was pronounced to be straight. However, the X-rays clearly showed that the ball and socket were not aligned in his right hind leg.

“Following these X-rays our vet was in consultation with the veterinary department of UCD (University College Dublin) as to how best to proceed with his ongoing care. Their advice was to have our farrier fit a special set of hyper extension foal shoes which hold the legs into a more normal position. After a period of time the misplaced bones should take their natural position and stay there, even on removal of the shoes.”

That’s good news for Timmy, who seems to be adapting well to his special shoes, and even the fitting process sounds pretty adorable.

“The farrier begins by rasping (filing) the tiny hooves and then drying them with a hairdryer!” Danny explained. “They are attached using a special adhesive on a perfectly dry hoof. Timmy was very relaxed during the process and even managed to fall asleep! He is one brave little guy with a big personality.”

The Currans also wanted to send a big thank you from Timmy to all supporters from IrishCentral who have enabled his journey so far, mentioning that they’ve even had a few visitors this summer who had read about the sanctuary on IrishCentral.

Click here to make a donation for Little Timmy, and keep up with all the adorable residents of the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary on their website.