Staff at the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary are “devastated” following the loss of the charity’s oldest resident.
Whiskers, 48, died last month (28 November) after a serious bout of colic.
A statement issued by the sanctuary the following day said the veteran would be greatly missed.
“Whiskers was our most recognisable and probably our most popular donkey,” said a spokesman for the charity.
“He had a thick shaggy coat with the longest hair of any donkey here.
“He lived in his own paddock, where he had the perfect view of everything that took place at the sanctuary.
“He welcomed everybody, said goodbye when they left and brayed indignantly if anybody dared go past without giving him a stroke or a cuddle.”
The vet was called when Whiskers showed signs of colic and he was given treatment in his stable.
His condition deteriorated rapidly and he was put on a drip.
“The decision was taken that nothing more could be done and Whiskers was put peacefully to sleep,” said the spokesman.
“Our vet Tim and our farm staff Laura, Julia and Sandra were with Whiskers throughout the night and were with him at his passing.
“Words cannot describe how upset everyone is at the sanctuary.”
Whiskers is the third elderly donkey the sanctuary has lost this year.
“This has been a very tough few months for staff, volunteers and supporters at the sanctuary,” the spokesman added.
“We have lost three of our very elderly residents, Polly, Dazzle and Whiskers.
“We have some very old animals to look after and we understand that these events can occur at a moment’s notice. It doesn’t make it any easier, even for the most experienced staff.
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“We will get going again, the staff will pick themselves up and our remaining 94 donkeys and 28 ponies will once again get the attention they deserve.
“The sun is shining, the young donkeys are tearing round the field playing tag with each other whilst the main herd are keeping an eye on the construction of their new barn.
“It’s another day and our donkeys are determined to enjoy every minute of it.”