At 37 years old, Jack, who roams the grounds at Pedro St. James, is regarded as Cayman’s oldest donkey.
The years haven’t been kind to Jack, whose physical appearance this weekend at Cocofest led some to question if he’s getting proper care.
“If I rub his hocks, you can see the swelling here. A little bit on the rear legs too,” said Pedro St. James tour guide Stacy Hurlston.
He told Cayman 27 Jack isn’t immune to the aging process.
“He’s 37 years old he’s getting there getting old old, but he’s very active still,” said Mr. Hurlston.
The purple patches show where growths on his face and body are receiving treatment, Mr. Hurlston said Jack is also on medication for arthritis.
“He has some arthritis in his hocks, I have special liniment that I rub him down with, I have special tablets for the arthritis,” he said.
Jack’s also on medication to keep his red blood count up. Mr. Hurlston told Cayman 27 the iron in that medicine causes Jack’s hooves to grow faster than normal.
“We can’t take so much of it off because it’s too painful for him to do it all at one time, especially with his arthritis,” said Mr. Hurlston.
Jack’s pain is apparent with every step. Colorado-based Longhopes Donkey Shelter says a donkey standing with its head down is an indication of an animal experiencing significant discomfort.
Mr. Hurlston said Jack still loves his interactions with the public.
“He loves people and a lot of people come around and play with him and rub them down and take pictures of them,” said Mr. Hurlston.
Though he tries to spend as much time with Jack as possible, Mr. Hurlston thinks he would be better off with an animal companion.
“He could do with a friend but that’s a long story,” said Mr. Hurlston. “My personal opinion was to try to get him a little friend but it’s difficult to work it all out.”
Mr. Hurlston told Cayman 27 Jack is well-fed, eating a diet heavy in apples, carrots, and his favourite; corn on the cob.
The UK Donkey Sanctuary website said donkeys need animal companionship and mental stimulation in order to thrive.