Mules are often treated even worse than donkeys and horses because they are considered to have superior stamina. Vayu was rescued by the public after his cruel owner pushed him too hard. When he couldn't keep up the pace, Vayu was hit and poked with a stick. Members of the public witnessed this, seized him and contacted Friendicoes. The poor mule was promptly relocated to the sanctuary.
Vayu is above middle age, but not old. He is blind in one eye, probably an old injury from a stick or other abuse, but is otherwise okay except for a few superficial wounds inflicted by his owner's cruel hands. He has already settled down well with the donkeys and other mules.
Update (February 2014):
Vayu has earned himself the nickname "the Don" for his dominating attitude. He has assumed the role of leader, and chases down anyone who dares to challenge his authority, whether it be animal or human! The other equines even follow his lead and won’t eat until Vayu has started eating! He is doing well, is healthy and happy to run the show.
But he doesn’t like strangers approaching him, nor does he like having the camera pointed at him. The volunteers only managed the photos below after chasing him around the field for a bit!
Update (September 2014)
Vayu is getting more aggressive by the day. He came to us with no vision in one eye and now the second eye is also losing vision. The vet says it is a consequence of bad nutrition and stress in early life. We feel his worsening eye sight makes him cranky and irritable. He aims a good kick at anyone unwise enough to approach him from behind. He has to be kept separate most of the time due to his temperament. Getting a picture of him is a herculean task as he promptly turns his back at anyone and everyone.
Update (October 2015)
Vayu has completely lost his sight in the other eye also. As we had informed you when he first came to us 3 years back, he had sight in only one eye and he was slowly losing that too. Which explained his aggression and cranky temper. These days Vayu has sort of settled down. It would be too much to say he has mellowed out. He can still be pretty mean and pack a killer kick. But he is less easily riled than before and he usually does not "misbehave" if no one intrudes into his "aura".
Earlier while we had to keep him restricted to the stable area most of the time due to his penchant to start brawls and "attack" an unsuspecting visitor he now spends all his time sitting or lying down under the open sky. Unless it is raining Vayu is found nodding out in the fields. The caregivers also do not disturb him or push him to come into the stables since he seems happiest outside.
While so far he is eating well, the vets feel he may not be with us very long as his spirit seems to be flagging and he has also lost some weight in muscle mass. He does not exercise at all, and hates being moved, maybe due to his lack of eyesight and this seems to be taking a toll on his body. But as long as he is not in pain and has a good appetite we will look after him and let him soak in as much sun as he wants to make up for a lifetime of abuse and neglect.
Update (November 2016)
Vayu is hale & hearty and still going strong. His coat is shining and he has grown a cute forelock that gives him a whacky look. While he may not have, any vision left he manages well with his other faculties. The only thing that has not changed in Vayu is his less than stellar temperament. While he has mellowed down from when he first arrived, 4 years ago his demeanour still needs some work.
But we guess it is too late in life to expect him to change his ways, especially after he has been kicked around himself for so many years before he came to us. Last year for a short period we thought we were going to lose him as he went through a lean phase but he proved us all wrong and made a full recovery and has had a good year. We hope and pray he has many more years with us.
Update (November 2017)
Like old wine, Vayu seems to be getting better with age. He has been with us for 5 years now and is completely blind. We think he is around 14 years old, but a hard life and lack of a nutritious diet contributed to his early blindness and weak muscles. He no longer needs to be watched around other animals. Known for his infamous kicks when he first arrived and injured a few other unsuspecting animals, he had to be kept solitary for a period of time to prevent him fatally injuring someone but with time he has settled down. It's been a couple of years now since we heard about the last "tantrum" of Vayu. He now spends his time in a corner of the field with other senior or handicapped equines who like a quiet life and prefer to keep to themselves. He is fed separately from the others, just to ensure no tempers start flying but overall Vayu is no longer "difficult".
Currently sponsored by:
1. Carol Richardson, WA ($100)
2. Susanne Briggs, NSW ($100)
3. Carol Butler, WA ($100)
4. Franklin Hynes & Cai Fenton, WA ($100)
5. Sally McMillan, TAS ($100)
6. Eleanor Hubble, WA ($100)