Mules are stubborn by nature, and so was Freddie when we arrived to collect him from the Taybeh police station, after his owner was arrested for stealing iron in a nearby village. Freddie refused to step into the horse trailer and wouldn't budge – until we turned him around and got him in "in reverse". In this mode he rode all the way to Susita, our sanctuary. Freddie was injured, thin and dirty. He was tied to the cart by all kinds of makeshift chains and he had a big bloody wound on his back which was caused by the constant friction of his harness on that spot. Upon his examination we discovered that Freddie was a very old guy, and the years he was overworked and malnourished took their tole. He was estimated to be 20 years old or more, maybe even 30. However, once Freddie started to feel at home at Susita, he turned out to be a happy, lovable creature who likes to rub his nose against anybody who comes near him, and if you turn your back on him, you get a massage that would put many professional masseuses to shame.
Today Freddie is a really happy guy and he contributes a great deal to the other residents of Susita. He welcomes the newcomers and sometimes joins them in the paddock for their morning walk in the sun. Freddie also helps with the maintenance of Susita: he hauls carts loaded with manure which is spread in the nearby fields, for the benefit of next year's fodder, and in the harvest season Freddie goes out with the cart and brings back lush freshly cut grass which the donkeys and horses just love!
We said goodbye to Freddie forever on 21/4/2015. We fought for his life for days, but when he signaled that the pain was too much to bear we let him out into the the fields to enjoy the sun's rays one last time, he took one final look at the pastures before he left us for eternally green pastures.
Thank you Freddie, for the joy you gave us, and for that lovely famous smiles of yours...