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‘Truly magical’: heartbroken donkey finds reason to live again with new friend

A donkey who was heartbroken when his best friend died has found a “reason to live again” thanks to a new companion.

The Donkey Sanctuary stepped in to help when Sally Hunt’s 24-year-old donkey Max was left “forlorn and lonely” after Rosie died from colic in November.

A spokesman for the charity said when welfare adviser Tewsday Herbert found out about Max, she knew she had to “act fast” to find him a companion.

“Marian, a 20-year-old mare, lived at the Donkey Sanctuary in Devon, and had initially been passed over as being unsuitable for rehoming due to a dental condition she was born with,” said a charity spokesman.

“After sending Max’s owner some photographs, it turned out that Marian looked very much like Rosie, a sign that would help bonding if they were introduced.”

The spokesman said following discussions with the charity’s veterinary team, Marian received a full medical examination and dental treatment before she joined Max at his home in Berkshire.

“Max had been extremely close to Rosie. He had been alone since November and spent much of his time at the fence looking very lonely so Marian proved to be the perfect soul mate, and the pair hit it off straight away. Lacking confidence, Max was smitten as Marian took the lead, proving to be the strong character he needed,” said the spokesman.

“Marian has given Max a new zest for life and the pair have been enjoying their time together. She has been by his side since joining him and the pair have clearly bonded. Her dental condition that initially meant she was passed over for rehoming, requires specialist treatment every six months. Fortunately Max is also seen twice a year by one of the UK’s top dental vets, meaning she will receive the best care for her condition.”

Tewsday said donkeys form strong and long-lasting friendships and the separation of bonded donkeys can often cause “extreme distress”.

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“It was very important we found Max a new companion as quickly as possible,” she said.

Sally said Marian has been a “delight” since she arrived and had given Max “a reason to live again”.

“Donkeys are truly magical,” she said.

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