Donkeys and an assortment of other feral animals are often found standing on the roads in the Northwest province and elsewhere in South Africa.
Thieves have stolen the wire fences just about everywhere and this allows animals to wander onto the roads with disastrous consequences most days.
Yesterday on my way back from a short trip into the countryside I came across a group of feral donkeys standing in the middle of the road.
I honked my horn and shouted out of the window and the group started to move slowly to the side of the road.
One donkey, however, was struggling to walk.
I looked down at its legs and noticed that it was shackled/cuffed with some crude contraption made of wire and pieces of hosepipe.
At about the same time a speeding car from the opposite direction barreled down the highway perilously close to the donkeys without slowing down.
I started to move on slowly thinking that there really was nothing I could do.
But, my conscience pressed me to stop and see what I could do to free the donkey.
I know close to nothing about donkeys except that I admire their tenacity and developed a fondness for them over time.
As I approached, the donkey struggled to get away from me. I followed trying my best to get closer to its front legs.
The donkey grew tired and stopped, but again, in the middle of the road.
I bent down and tried to undo the contraption but the wire was too strong for my bare hands.
I returned to the truck and grabbed a screwdriver and jack-handle from the truck. I needed a pliers or even a wire cutter.
The donkey had not moved and cars were flying by with curious looks my way.
My return caused the donkey to walk off the road into a field and I followed again until it grew too tired to move.
I started in on the contraption saying a prayer under my breath.
This was the first time I had ever been so close to a donkey.
It was an intense struggle made worse by my mechanical ineptitude but in about five or so minutes I pried off the shackles.
I noticed that the wire had cut into the legs of the donkey.
I also removed one piece of wire that had some kind of animal skin wrapped around it but failed to remove the same from the other hoof before the donkey broke free.
I am not worried about the wire that remains. It was lose enough not too cause damage to the leg/hoof area and hopefully will just fall off over time.
I watched the donkey run from me and noticed that one smaller donkey had remained close to our interaction all the time.
The two reunited and I walked back to the truck thanking God and cussing the fool responsible for the shackling.
I threw the contraption onto the back of the truck and watched the group as I drove off.