Noldi, an eight-month-old domesticated ass, was born blind on a Swiss farm, and was never accepted by his herd, as he struggled to avoid running into obstacles. Farmers considered putting him down, until an outcry from animal rights groups led to a happy
ZURICH - A blind donkey named Noldi is the September 2012 "pin-up" on the new calendar just issued by Gut Aiderbichl, an Austrian animal sanctuary. It is the storybook ending after a near-death experience for the troubled ass, whose cause had been championed by a number of animal conservationists.
The eight-month-old animal had been born blind on the farm of Wagerenhof, a home for the disabled in Uster, Zurich. He was never accepted by the herd and, according to the head of the home Luzius Voigt, was even picked on by the other donkeys. An additional problem was that because he couldn't see, he couldn't recognize obstacles and would run into them. "It irritated and frightened him, and he would take it out by being aggressive," said Voigt.
So home management had two options: look for another place for him to go; or put Noldi down if no suitable place could be found. When word spread that he might be euthanized, the Wagerenhof head received hundreds of e-mails from outraged animal conservationists.
Thanks to a tip he received from a member of the public, Voigt contacted the Gut Aiderbichl animal sanctuary in Henndorf, near Salzburg, Austria. There, on what was formerly a farm, many old animals live out their days. There are also handicapped animals, including a number of blind horses and donkeys. By the end of January, the deal was done, and Noldi left Switzerland for Austria. At his new home he has a padded stall, and a paddock designed especially for blind animals.
"Noldi has assimilated well here and feels at home," says Gut Aiderbichl press spokeswoman Britta Freitag.
He has also made a good friend, a sighted donkey named Mario. Says Freitag: "Mario can see, and he took Noldi under his wing and showed him the whole sanctuary." Indeed, now if you flip to the month of September in the farm's new 2012 calendar, you will see the two new donkey buddies pictured together.
Read the original article in German
Photo - Gut Aiderbichl