Tributes have been paid to an “incredibly clever” police horse known for his character, who has been put down aged 20 after a bout of colic.
Pongo retired to the Horse Trust from Northumbria Police in 2014 owing to intermittent lameness issues. During his time in the force the Irish draught gelding performed patrols and high-risk missing-person searches, and worked at football matches and demonstrations throughout Northumberland.
A spokesman for the Horse Trust said the charity was “honoured” to provide Pongo with “all the love and care he deserved” during his retirement.
“Pongo was described as somewhat of a character in the police; he was an incredibly clever horse but could be quite stubborn at times. He wasn’t a shy horse but he was also a huge softie. One of our grooms recalls when Pongo was brought in for a pamper session last summer, he was in his absolute element, falling asleep in the sun while having a lovely bath,” he said.
“Throughout his retirement he could often be found with his field friend Marsa and he also had a close friendship with fellow resident Wiggins after they both received treatment for injuries together and became the best of friends during their recoveries and beyond. Wiggins was very attached to Pongo, and Pongo was like a wise old uncle to him.”
Pongo was put down last month after a “very severe and sudden” onset of colic.
“A journey to the hospital was sadly not an option for him due to the severity of the colic and the only option the team had was to say goodnight to him one last time. It is always incredibly difficult to say goodbye to our residents but we know we must do what is the kindest thing for them when the time is right,” said the spokesman.
“Tragically, we knew that the time was right for Pongo, our police hero.”
The spokesman added that Pongo’s death is a “massive loss” to the charity, and he will be “so incredibly missed” by the team.
“Pongo, you really were an exceptional horse; brave in your policing career, bold in your retirement and one we have so many fond memories of that we will never forget. Sleep tight now and rest easy across the rainbow bridge with your former friends and colleagues,” he said.
“We will never ever forget you and we will continue to take good care of your friends Marsa and Wiggins who we know will also be missing you so dearly. It has been our honour to give you the retirement you deserved after so many years serving your country. Sleep tight Pongo, we miss you so much.”
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