People often ask me what makes St. John so special. Sometimes it’s hard to put into words just how special this place is. For me, it’s a combination of the people and the sheer beauty of the island. Yesterday, however, the inner beauty and actions of several island residents overtook the island’s charm in a big way. Here’s what happened:
I received an email around 1:30 p.m. yesterday from a woman named Shannon. Shannon has lived in the Virgin Islands for more than 20 years. After a brief time off island, Shannon recently returned to St. John. (That in itself makes us happy.)
Here’s what she wrote:
“We were out at Cinnamon on Saturday and noticed (along with some other concerned folk) that a donkey was limping really bad and then retreated to the trees behind the sailboats there by the beach rentals and just laid down for most of the afternoon. Apparently these tourists had noticed this some days prior and called the National Park Ranger who then came in that afternoon to look at the donkey. The tourists told us that he had planned to have ‘someone’ from St. Thomas come on Monday to sedate him and take a look, it appeared to him that the donkey simply had something stuck in his hoof.”
Shannon continued, “Well, we went to Cinnamon again yesterday and much to our dismay the poor donkey was still laying in the trees behind the sailboats. Another donkey has taken up residence to soothe him or her. It’s so sad.”
Shannon then mentioned how she notified the National Park Service and asked if we could help. Naturally we said we would.
We first reached out to Thomas Kelly, the Natural Resources Manager at the National Park Service. Within an hour, we heard back from Thomas who confirmed that the NPS was aware of the donkey’s injury. He stated that they had hoped the injury would have taken care of itself as these types of injuries typically do. Thomas thanked us for reaching out to him, and we knew that NPS would follow up.
In the meantime, we contacted Leslie McKibben. Leslie is the newest board member of the Animal Care Center. I explained the issue to Leslie and asked her to reach out to fellow board member Oriel Smith. Oriel works at Caneel Bay Resort and takes care of the property’s many animals, including a number of donkeys.
As luck would have it, the ACC was having a board meeting last night. About an hour later, Leslie informed me that the donkey “will be taken care of.” I was ecstatic.
Leslie spoke with Oriel who stated the donkey’s name was Scotty. Scotty the donkey used to live over at Caneel, according to Oriel, before moving over to Cinnamon. Fortunately Oriel knows this particular donkey well and is planning on checking in on him today, Thursday. Oriel also plans to contact a local vet to assist in treatment, Leslie said.
So in a matter of hours, several people worked together to help an injured donkey. Acts of kindness like this don’t happen everywhere. But they happen on St. John and they happen often. It doesn’t matter if it is a person in need or an animal in need, you can guarantee that the people of St. John will work together to help. And that, my friends, is what makes this place so special.
Update: Thursday at 1:15 p.m.
We just got off the phone with Thomas Kelly from NPS. He told us that a biologist from NPS checked in on the donkey after our conversation yesterday. The biologist reported that the donkey was up and walking around and that he appeared to be suffering from old age more so than anything else. He used binoculars to inspect all four hooves and did not see any external injuries. So perhaps Scotty the donkey was simply looking for some quiet time…
Update: Thursday evening
Oriel Smith paid a visit to Scotty today also. Oriel helped Scotty out a bit and expects him to be back to his old self again really soon. 🙂
8 thoughts on “Reason #3,429 Why St. John is So Special (according to Jenn)”
Very cool! Thanks for sharing!
I love stories like this! Very heart- warming!
Please keep us updated on Scotty. 🙂
I am glad to hear Mr. Smith will tend to the donkey. The thought of a hurt/wounded animal is sad.
Anyone know the NPS policy on treating (or not) injured animals in the park? Based on discussions I had with a ranger (Reef Bay tour guide) I would be surprised if the NPS did anything at all when it comes to treatment.
Poor Scotty. I have a Miniature donkey here in the states and he sends his love to the island donkey’s.
Please keep an eye on Scotty! As a frequent long time visitor of STJ the donkeys are dear to my heart. No treatment for a known injured animal is unacceptable! I’m sure we lovers of the island can come to his aid if need be !!!
Keep us posted… Please !
The donkeys are part of the wild and wonderful ambiance of St. John. Please take good care of Scotty!
My family and I ran into Scotty and one of his friends at Cinnamon this past week. He just happened to be napping in the trees behind the spot we picked on the beach and while he was definitely slow moving he wasn’t injured. He and his pal laid in the trees for a good part of the afternoon but as we were leaving the pair got up and began to wander into the camp sites.