It is with great sorrow, that we had to say goodbye to John Florio, blue collar of the exclusive adoption, for years one of our beloved donkey therapists.
Abandoned in the Romanian countryside, deeply marked in the body and mind, he was found hungry and with a deformed limb due to a previous fracture never cured. Welcomed to the Refuge in 2008, at the age of six, he immediately stood out for his strong and combative character, typical of those who decide to react to a difficult life.
In the safe and protected environment of the Refuge, John's "hardness" has given way to an infinite sweetness and sociability towards people, whom he loved to explore and sniff gently with his face.
John, despite the impossibility of flexing his left limb from the joint, a sad reminder of that distant past, he lived for years with the group of "therapist" donkeys, at the forefront of helping adults and children in need.
John made an incredible difference in the lives of so many vulnerable people over the years and, through interaction with humans, even John himself has always benefited from new stimuli and situations.
"He has always stood out for his delicacy in every situation”, recalls Laura, our Coordinator for Donkey Assisted Therapy “he welcomed people in need, with a constant presence, never intrusive. He waited patiently for people to be interested in him and to get close to him to give him a special cuddle, never forcing interaction. "
Just that limb, memory of his sad past, has worsened in the past weeks to such a point that we have not been able to alleviate his pain, but only accompany him in this last step.
All of us loved John, but above all by his adopted godmother Daniela. With her, it had been a love at first sight.
When Daniela, a generous supporter of the Refuge for years, wrote to us to adopt an exclusive donkey in memory of her friend Florio, she made only one request. She did not care that he was male or female, grey or spotted, big or small. "I would like to help a donkey with problems: her friend Florio spent a lot on others, he was a volunteer for a foundation that helps people who became disabled as a result of accidents, often offered his collaboration in beneficial concerts to raise funds and raise awareness about disability.”
While we were reading Daniela's words, a donkey made its way into our mind, with somewhat irregular steps, with good eyes and a crooked hoof: John, on the front line helping human beings in need. Just as the human loved to do, he bore the surname.
We are deeply grateful to Daniela for having loved John and having provided for him in these years and we join in the emotion for this great loss. However, at the same time we are happy to have given John, with the help of Daniela, the opportunity to spend a peaceful life full of love.