Pluto was a quieter member of his herd at our Sidmouth sanctuary. His calm and conscientious demeanour made him the ideal companion for Donk, who was suffering from a broken heart after the loss of a long-time friend.
Donk was one of the thousands of donkeys who found their forever home through our rehoming scheme, joining our experienced Guardian, Sally, and daughter, Hannah, at their home in Cornwall.
Weeks after losing his best friend, it was apparent that Donk required a new companion, which is how he met Pluto. Having spent a long time as part of a larger herd, it took Pluto a little bit of time to adjust. He started to come into his own and began transforming into an active donkey, helping Donk overcome his period of grief.
Unfortunately tragedy struck six months later when suddenly Donk passed, leaving Pluto without a partner.
The race was on to find Pluto a new forever friend. Within 26 days, the eight-year-old gelding Zebidiah was identified as a potential match. Zeb was a resident at Town Barton farm, one of our sanctuaries on the edge of Dartmoor.
In normal times, we would usually offer the Guardian the opportunity to come and meet the donkeys themselves. However, government restrictions surrounding lockdown prohibited this from happening. Improvising, Sally joined us on a WhatsApp call so she could meet Zebidiah and speak to our grooms.
Then the unexpected happened. Zebidiah started braying in the background during the call and Pluto started braying back! These two new friends had their first introduction over the phone, mirroring the experiences of many over the lockdown period.
Zebidiah arrived at Sally’s home on 26 June and made himself comfortable right away. Within days, the two began to bond and have been seen frequently playing together. Hannah says: “They get on very well, and when you take them out you can’t separate them. “They both want to be together. We hope they will continue to bond.”
For young active donkeys like Pluto and Zebidiah, Guardian homes are so important as they receive one-on-one attention and care. We are so grateful to all of our fantastic Guardians who are making such a difference to the lives of donkeys and mules across the UK.