• Approximate Date of Birth: 2003
  • Sponsor:
  • Gender: Gelding
  • Breed: Mini-Mule

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Ciaran's Gallery

My Story

In October 2015, Animal Services rescued a stray mini-mule in San Diego’s far East County. His feet had been terribly deformed due to long-term neglect. The hooves on three of his feet had grown forward into long “slippers.” Unfortunately his fourth foot was much worse. This hoof had turned under and was growing backwards, causing him to walk on the top of his hoof, where it connects with his leg. It took months of careful care to reshape the four long slipper hooves. The fourth hoof cannot be corrected, but careful farrier work provides supportive care.


While in the care of Animal Services, initial x-rays raised serious questions about his quality of life and his ability to be comfortable. But Ciaran’s spunk and outgoing personality was in stark contrast to this clinical diagnosis. Discussions with our veterinarians led us to determine that it would be worth trying to improve his quality of life. While the long-term neglect he suffered from will almost certainly shorten his life expectancy, this little fellow seems determined to make the best of every day. Soon after arriving at the sanctuary, he formed a strong bond with Puck, our visually impaired mini-Shetland cross. Now the two of them are inseparable and neither of them let their disabilities slow them down.


As a stray, Ciaran was transferred to our care without a name. He is our second miniature mule. The first was Ban, whose name in Gaelic means “white.” So the name Ciaran was chosen for this little fellow. Ciaran is a term of endearment that means “little dark one.”