‘Her passing leaves a big hole in our hearts’: equine welfare charity’s tribute to adoption star

  • A “big hole” has been left in the hearts of staff and visitors of the Donkey Sanctuary following the death of a “well-loved” long-term resident.

    On 13 February 12-year-old Bonnie started showing signs of colic, and it “quickly became apparent that her condition was very serious” and she deteriorated.

    “The team made the decision to urgently refer Bonnie for colic surgery, as it was apparent her condition could not be managed without. She underwent emergency surgery that night and was monitored continuously afterwards,” said a Donkey Sanctuary spokesman.

    The spokesman said that although the operation went well, by 16 February Bonnie’s health had declined further and on the recommendation of the charity’s vet team and the specialist colic surgeons, the “heartbreaking” decision was made to put Bonnie down.

    “She passed in comfort and peace with her donkey friend Bud by her side. We are keeping a close eye on Bud as he mourns the loss of his friend.”

    The spokesman said Bonnie was “well-known and well-loved” by all. She arrived with the charity as a foal alongside her mum Penny and friend Flash, when their owner became unwell and could no longer care for them.

    “Bonnie spent her early months with her mum until she was weaned. She was then moved to be with other youngsters in their paddock,” he said, adding that she was one of the largest in her group and “loved being the centre of attention”.

    “She would often manoeuvre herself through the herd so she was always first in line at meal times. She would try to open the door as the grooms put out the food. We even had to ‘Bonnie-proof’ them.”

    The spokesman added that Bonnie got on with all her friends, and was protective of her smaller companions.

    “She adored being fussed over and was known for trying to get a second turn before the grooming session was over. Sometimes she was a little too ‘helpful’, running off with brushes when they dropped on the floor or leaning over the grooms’ shoulders to see what they were doing,” he said.

    Maxine Carter, Slade House farm manager at the Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth, said Bonnie’s passing “leaves a big hole in our hearts”.

    “Whenever people came to shoot videos or take pictures, she’d love to go and meet them all. Any help with microphones or tripods – or any reason to get attention – there she’d be at the front of the queue,” she said.

    “Bonnie’s memory will remain strong with the team – she truly had the most amazing character and loving nature.”

    The spokesman added that Bonnie will be missed by her donkey friends, grooms, volunteers and visitors.

    “Rest in peace our sweet Bonnie,” he said.

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