Donkeys are incredibly intelligent creatures and are known to be very expressive with their emotions, whether it’s anger, fear or pure joy.
Immediately following his rescue, the once helpless Mike expressed his happiness and gratitude by pinning his ears back in excitement and flashing a huge infectious smile!
Keep reading to learn why Mike was so happy!
In 2015, record-setting rainfall from Storm Desmond–an extratropical cyclone–caused major flooding across Ireland and the UK, leaving the once green grounds at the bottom of the cold deep waters of December.
Mike was grazing in his fields when the massive storm ripped through the area, the river breaching the banks and the winds blowing over the fencing that kept him safe.
Wandering from his Kerry county home, Mike became trapped in the rising waters and was frozen with fear.
The weather warning for the area was delivered December 5 and he was found by Suzanne Gibbons, who runs the Animal Haven Ireland (AHI), on December 6.
The cold murky water was up to his belly and with the water rapidly rising, Suzanne knew she had little time to save the helpless donkey.
Posting a “code red” on Facebook, Suzanne begged for assistance.
“Please help me,” she wrote. “There is a donkey stranded in deep flooding in Kilorglin. I need a boat and men to help.”
Speaking with the media after, Suzanne explained that the storm had caused so much damage that “I couldn’t find anybody willing to help me go in because the river was flooding really badly.”
But then the local rowing club coach arrived with a boat to join the risky rescue mission.
Using a lifebuoy as a lasso around Mike’s neck to keep his head above the water, Suzanne said, “Finally Mike Fleming of the Killorglin Rowing Club took me out and we managed to get a life ring around the donkey’s neck and drag him to safety.”
Mike, named after the rowing coach, was really happy to be rescued.
When he arrived on land, he’s seen in an image with Suzanne where he’s smiling so hard that his eyes are squinting!
Seeing the Facebook story about Mike’s rescue, the online community gushed over Mike’s brilliant smile. “Oh my god honestly looks like he is smiling and so happy to be on land what a heartwarming story,” writes one while a second adds, “Fantastic, your smile shows your pleasure!”
Others praised the rescuers for helping the troubled donkey. “So wonderful to know that there are human beings who would risk their lives for an animal that most people would not even think twice about! Restores my faith in the human race!!” Another netizen shared, “A lovely outcome, well done everyone. Made my eyes leak!”
With Mike’s feet firmly on dry land, he was then taken to the Animal Haven rescue with Suzanne where he noshed on mash, and was treated by a vet.
The beast of burden spent the night sleeping under a warm heat lamp and while he recovered from his traumatic time in the cold waters, the donkey was treated to five-star service.
The next day, Suzanne posted a heartwarming video showing the donkey’s snout buried in a pail of food and said that he was much better. She writes that Mike was “snacking away, building up his strength,” and lifted his head from the pail only in response to his chatty neighbor in the stalls.
The AHI shared on Facebook “I think his smile made it right round the world by now, lighting it up with glowing hearts.” The post continued, “He has settled well and is loving the 5 star treatment his only concern is his neighbour, a talking bird (you can hear shouting in the background ) he is fascinated. Other [than] that…. He is loving being spoiled.”
Thank you so much to Suzanne, the Animal Haven rescue and to Mike Fleming for helping Mike Jr!
It really is so special to see Mike smile so big after he was rescued! He definitely understood they Suzanne and Mike F were wanting to rescue him because he was very cooperative, and we all know donkeys will move effortlessly when they trust a situation.
Please share this story so others will be inspired to help an animal in need!
If you enjoyed reading about Mike’s rescue, you’ll probably also like the story about these dogs who went through a massive transformation after they were rescued!