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Meet Francis


Arrived 7th October 2019
Passed 21st February 2020

We’ve been reluctant to share any sad news mainly because all losses take their toll on Alan Gent, the compassionate founder of this special place. Alan cares for each and every animal that lives here and knows and treats each as an individual. The one Alan most recently brought back from a terrible state, Francis, the chocolate brown donkey, died earlier this year and it was tough.

Francis was a true little angel. And as our loyal supporters know, all the horses presiding here have their good points but they would be happy to have learnt that this little fellow had them all. When giving Francis his two grooming’s for each day, if he was a bit close to the wall or trough Alan only had to touch him and say “move please mate” and he would gently shift his weight as softly and gracefully as a ballet dancer.

Because he had yet to be gelded, Francis would partake of his morning meal well before Alan arrived with Omar’s because Omar, another peaceful soul, shared a stable with Francis and the timing had to be managed. Francis however knew his manners and would eat about half of his tucker and then stand and wait for Omar so they could eat together. When Omar arrived Francis gave out a nod in greeting him and then kindly moved back into his own side and the two would commence in finishing their brekkie or tea.

Around 4:45 in the morning Alan would awake, flip on the kitchen light and hear an enthusiastic “HEE HAW!!” out the window as if Francis was saying, “Don’t forget me!”

The day Francis died was terribly upsetting. Alan walked out with his bucket and could not see him anywhere. He noticed his gate into the large herd paddock was open. What he witnessed thereafter was shocking and hurt Alan’s heart deeply:

“I know he was not a gate pusher and I was sure I had fastened the latch, but I must have made a bad mistake and left the chain across the gate but NOT fastened. I was not very far behind him as he with much enthusiasm walked towards the herd. He had wanted to do this for a couple of months and here was his chance and also the 23 horses with the same enthusiasm raced towards him.

When they met I was quite close and did not see any horse bite, kick or what ever and then after a few moments Francis went down on his front knees and slowly rolled onto his side. I immediately knelt next to him. Francis’s breathing was deliberate and slow and as I softly stroked his forehead his breathing gyrated twice and stopped. I nearly fainted and then noticed all the horses very slowly backed off and gave Francis some space. About two hours later my kind neighbour and I buried this beautiful, soft, once living creature. Recalling this moment I am a complete mess. I have said this a few times now that personally I am not strong enough for this life and it is affecting me physically and emotionally to continue to care so deeply for these innocent creatures who find their way to the sanctuary.”

With such a devastating loss, Alan has since made contact with the “Donkey Association of West Australia” and had a nice conversation with two of the committee members and mentioned if ever the association hears or sees a donkey in need of a home Calan Horse Sanctuary will open their hearts and gate to the needy animal.

The change in his coat from a dull brown to a shiny black shows to Alan the great benefit it was for Francis, however short his sweet and precious life, to arrive at the sanctuary and what a sad waste and loss it is with his demise- something that could have been prevented had Francis been properly loved and cared for from his beginning.

We will miss you dear Francis- our first donkey friend.

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