The world’s oldest mule who hailed from Ireland has died.
Tootsie, who was 56-years-old had been hale and hearty up until a few short weeks ago passed away at the Donkey Sanctuary in Mallow, Co Cork.
The much-loved mule had been experiencing problems with his liver.
A mule is the result of breeding between a male donkey and a female horse.
It has the body of the horse with extremities of a donkey. Mules can range in height from 36 inches up to 17 hands, depending on the size of the mare and stallion used. They can live up to 50-years-old but Tootsie was the exception.
Ashling O’Sullivan, a spokesperson for the Sanctuary said: We were very proud of the fact that we were caring for the oldest living mule on record.
“He loved nothing more than a buck and a gallop around his paddock which was incredible at 56-years-old.
“Tootsie was always a lively character who was first to the trough and took no nonsense from other donkeys and mules. In the past few years, Tootsie lived in our elderly donkey group at Hannigan’s Farm.
Over the past few weeks, due to Tootsie’s age, his liver started to fail. He was put on liver support medications and supplements but unfortunately he did not respond. Due to his age and the fact that Tootsie would not get better, the difficult decision was made to put him to sleep.
As throughout his life at our sanctuary, in his last moments, Tootsie was surrounded by vet and farm staff who had loved and cared for him. Tootsie will always be remembered here as a small, independently minded mule who was much loved by staff and supporters alike.”
Tootsie arrived at the Sanctuary in 1992. An elderly lady who cared for him in Wicklow since he was a foal, got in contact with staff at the charity asking if we would take him as she could not longer look after him.
Ms O’Sullivan added: “So we took him in and we are grateful she gave him to us as he is such a character.
He was such a healthy fellow full of beans and enjoyed life. He resided in our ‘Super Grannies’ group where he was surrounded by several other donkeys that are all over 30-years-old
“Our older donkeys receive a high level of care from our staff and volunteers. They sport warm rugs and are kept extra cosy by infrared heat lamps and warm bedding.
“They receive special feeding that is easily digested and nutritious and they enjoy weekly grooming sessions and are loved and adored by all.”
Two years ago, the Donkey Sanctuary were dealing with reached crisis of up to 3,000 donkeys and mules being left abused and to fend for themselves while several thousand more were estimated to be roaming free.