Ever so often, a story pops up that is too endearing not to share with the world. This is the case for the story of Bella Burro, a mini-donkey with a prosthetic leg.
Bella Burro had a rough life, but it all changed for the better after her new owners adopted her. Despite the trials and tribulations of her past, this little donkey seems pretty darn happy. She now serves as an inspiration for all donkeys worldwide, and even to us humans.
Just a mere two-years ago, Bella Burro’s life looked grim, and she had little hope of seeing another day. It wasn’t until a couple living near Minneapolis came to her rescue that things started to brighten up a bit for Bella.
Bella’s previous owner was a negligent breeder that separated Bella from her mother when she was just two months old. Typically, a baby donkey should never be separated from its mother until the donkey is at least six months old. This extremely premature separation between Bella and her mother caused Bella to be severely underweight.
On top of this, Bella was outside in the midst of brutal weather conditions, which ultimately left her with frostbite on her back leg.
When Bella’s new family took her to the veterinarian in order to see what can be done with the frostbite, the veterinarian told her new owners that the frostbite was so severe that her leg would have to be amputated.
Bella’s new owner, Ann, told the Huffington Post that the veterinarians suggested putting Bella down because “donkeys don’t have any value in society”, but Ann saw value in Bella. Despite the recommendation by the trained professionals to put Bella to sleep because of her anticipated amputation, Ann decided to keep Bella and seek out another solution, “Well, she’s still here, she’s still surviving. I don’t want to put her down if she’s still fighting” Ann told the Huffington Post.
Bella’s amputation became a reality, and she was given a temporary “peg-leg” while a more suitable solution was in the making, a prosthetic leg for a donkey.
The demand for a prosthetic donkey leg is low, and it’s a niche market, so finding a suitable prosthetic leg for Bella was no easy feat… Finding a suitable prosthetic leg for a growing donkey was an even harder feat to accomplish.
Despite the odds of finding a prosthetic for Bella’s leg, her owners were determined and didn’t stop. Eventually, they found a prosthetic leg from Wyoming’s Hanger Clinic, which is the same place that made a prosthetic fin for Winter the dolphin.
The prosthetic leg offered by Wyoming Hanger Clinic will have to be replaced once Bella grows a bit. The owners intend on working with their local clinic, Arise Orthotics, in order to make Bella’s adult prosthetic. This facility will work to replicate Hanger Clinic’s design.
The process of amputating and then finding a prosthetic leg for donkeys, and other members of the equines family, comes with a hefty price tag. Amputations average about $10,000 and prosthetic prices average around $2,500.
The high cost, combined with the long process and stress of the surgery, leaves some people thinking that euthanizing the animal is the more humane option. It will also rid the animal of any possible complications that come with being an amputee. Although this seems like a valid concern, Ann seems to disagree.
“She’s so happy,” Ann told the Huffington Post. “She literally does not know she doesn’t have a leg.”
Ann says that Bella “has a story to tell,” and she wants people to know that animals are able to lead a happy life despite injuries. She hopes Bella will serve as an inspiration to people around the world, especially when people consider the next steps for their animals after an injury: “There are other options out there for animals, for disabled animals. They do very well, they thrive.”
Bella now gets to roam around freely with her dear friends, two Nigerian dwarf goats, and she is happier than ever!