Directed by Andrew Barron
This is the story of an eccentric British couple who give up the comforts of retired life in England and travel to India on a mission.
They want to save the working donkey. For the slum dwellers in Delhi, the donkey is a work machine, put into back-breaking labour 7 days a week, 8 hours a day. These ‘slumdog donkeys’ are being worked to death, seldom reaching their 5th birthday. Desperate to make a difference, Jean and Bob Harrison swap their life in North London to spend their days driving around the dusty Delhi roads in their ramshackle animal ambulance, picking up and carefully putting half dead donkeys into the back.
With no veterinary skills of their own, they enlist the help of a local vet. Together they visit donkey sites dispensing medicine and tending to horrific injuries. But for every donkey they save there are hundreds more dying and the Harrisons quickly find themselves overwhelmed.
They planned to stay for a year in India but their money soon runs out. More devastating news comes when their vet decides to leave. And when their local animal shelter closes its doors, they are forced to face the painful decision as to whether they can carry on…
Jean and Bob are colourful characters. Jean is unstoppable following a successful brain tumour operation a few years ago. She thinks she has extra time on earth to do some good. For her, each donkey case is unique and personal, and her care for these unloved yet loving creatures is remarkable. Bob used to be a ‘minstrel’, a medieval jester, singing in pubs around London. His sense of humour keeps them going as they struggle with uneducated donkey owners who do not always want to be helped and go to great lengths to hide sick donkeys from the Harrisons’ gaze.
Saving the working donkeys turns out to be much harder than the Harrisons ever dreamed it could be. This documentary uncovers their rollercoaster journey, following them in the UK and India over 9 months of ups and downs.