Cristina is gone, this is the end we would never wished to tell you. Last Monday, while the veterinarian put that gentle soul to sleep, our caresses accompanied her towards a painless sleep, beyond that pain that in the last few weeks had not given her a moment of relief. She was 20 years old.
We hope for a happy ending when we read a story and we want it when we are inside of it. Of Cristina's story we wrote the salvation in Colleferro's hell, the long journey with her companions from Lazio to Piedmont, the birth of foal Medoro here at our Rifugio, the moments of relief from the laminitis, the inflammation that always was there, but sometimes It was a step away and made us hope that it would have let her free of pain.
If you have supported us for a long time, you remember Colleferro's hell and seizure. The emergency was continuous, with animals dying before our eyes when salvation seemed to be just one step away, but also with commitment and the hope of succeeding in saving more and more. The arrival of rescues here at Sala Biellese was not the end, because the recoveries never end with rescue, but they start that way and go on for years, because building a new life takes time and efforts.
A new life, a reparied life. Because every abuse, every abandonment leaves something, and sometimes not all the cures and the love of the world succeed in erasing it.
When Cristina arrived, she was already suffering from laminites and was in foal. In her conditions, it took a lot of care, attention and a bit of lucky to make her give birth to Medoro. She has been a loving mother it could not have been otherwise, given the tenderness she always showed to anyone, including humans.
One morning, two years ago, while she was in an acute phase laminitis, the children of a summer school came to visit our center. Cristina was on the opposite side of the fence: a few dozen meters, an infinite space in her condition. Still, an insecure step after the other, patient and stubborn as the donkey sge was, she made her way to those children, who had encouraged her throughout the journey, immediately in love with that big dark donkey with good eyes. Words could explain the essence of donkeys better than her. This was Cristina.
When Medoro was weaned, we moved Cristina to the old large donkeys area, where she tied up with everyone and found a special friend in Chanel, who has always been close to her, when the disease was strong and in good moments, the ones we will never forget.
Whoever thinks animals do not feel should have seen her unbelieving joy while she could jump over a fallen trunk once, two, ten times: happy and free like the foal she probably had never been, not even twenty years ago, before she arrived in Colleferro, with hundreds of other donkeys, mules and horses, where the death normal and even the most basic cares were not an option.
Over the last few weeks, the treatments that, along with a controlled diet and special hoof care, had allowed her to live a dignified life and to keep under control the pain, had stopped working. No effect from new therapies given. She spent the day lying alongside the fence, and when she was forced to move, she seemed to tread on a shattered glass carpet. That life of pain, along with the results of the analysis and the lack of response to the treatments, made our veterinarian decide for euthanasia.
When we save a donkey, we make a promise: that for a day or twenty years, we will give it a real refuge. "Shelter, defense, protection against pitfalls or dangers": taking care of someone is a constant commitment that means "be quiet, now I will think of you". Even when thinking about someone, protecting, means choosing to put an end to the pain in the last measure, the one we would not want to use, but sometimes we have, to help the donkeys we promised to defend.
It has never been easy and it will never be. We do not know if and what's next, but we know that Cristina is now free of pain and has fallen asleep among our caresses, in that place where she has met more respect and love than she had met in her first 16 years of life and where she gave her sweetness and kindness in return to anyone who had the fortune to meet her.
We can not do miracles, unfortunately. We can not erase the past. But we can give a present worth living to many more like Cristina, who need us and you. See how you can help us .