A donkey left alone in a field during Creek Fire evacuations was set to be reunited with her owners on Saturday, September 12, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) said.
The sheriff’s Public Information Officer Sarah Jackson told Storyful that the animal’s owners were out of town on business and that those minding the donkey, who is named Gertie, were forced to evacuate.
Madera District Attorney Investigator and MCSO Reserve Deputy Derek LaFontaine noticed Gertie on Friday as he was helping patrol closures and evacuations, and was lauded by the sheriff’s office for coming to her aid.
“Derek is an animal lover and spotted this lone donkey in North Fork,” the MSCO wrote as it shared video of LaFontaine feeding Gertie. “He was able to contact the owners and fed the donkey her hay and topped off her water. He says she loved the carrots and seemed grateful for the visit.”
The following morning, LaFontaine went to check on Gertie again and said her owners were coming up later that day to bring her down to safety. “Topped off her water and threw a flake. She was excited for the visit (as you can tell in the video lol),” LaFontaine said.
Fortunately for Gertie, the fire was about three to four miles away and was not moving in her direction, Jackson told Storyful.
Though LaFontaine only paid a couple of visits to Gertie, Jackson believes Gertie made a life-long friend. “Donkeys are much more social and intelligent than many people may think,” she told Storyful. “Isolation from people or other domesticated animals is psychologically hard on them and they form bonds with humans very quickly. Gertie will likely always remember him.” Credit: Madera County Sheriff’s Office via Storyful