With great sadness, Susan Yates walked out of the barn and headed to the house to call the vet. It was time to put down the big donkey she had just adopted five days earlier.

Emaciated, lame, and riddled with lice, Bethany was lying in the stall, and could not get up. Yates had left the stall door open when she went for the phone. “We thought she would die there,” she said.

Dr. Charlene Noll feeding Bethany in her stall at New Bolton Center

But coming back to the barn, Yates was astonished. “She had crawled out of the stall and halfway up the aisle on her belly,” Yates recalled. “She was like: Come on guys. I’m not quitting, so you’re not quitting.”

Yates called her husband, Charles, and, along with their vet, their equine dentist, and barn staff, they managed to roll Bethany’s huge frame onto a tarp, and into the trailer.

They brought Bethany to New Bolton Center from their horse farm in Westminster, Maryland.

“New Bolton is my place of choice when things can’t be done here at home,” Yates said. “I feel like I can rely on New Bolton Center to get honest appraisals of what can, and can’t, be done.”

Trying to Save Bethany

The prognosis was not good. An eight-year-old Mammoth jenny, Bethany is a giant donkey. Her body condition score was graded as poor, a 1 out of 5.

Several veterinarians, nurses, and students were ready to take the emergency case on that January day when Bethany arrived. Once they dragged her to the stall on a specially designed plastic glide sled, they then put her in a sling to support her to stand. The sling straps were slid under her chest and hindquarters and attached to an electric hoist, and Bethany was gradually raised off the ground.

Bethany being brought to New Bolton Center