Many of you will recall the dramatic rescue of a donkey called Heidi back in April 2011 and the incredible selfless efforts of all involved (see Heidi's Heroes) when they all got involved in her rescue in Basildon, Essex. Heidi was unable to cope with the trauma of her ordeal and despite the best possible care, she lost her fight for life two days later.
Sadly her owner, Pat Cattle, also passed on recently. Sue Field, one of the Sanctuary's welfare advisers who was involved in the rescue, continued to visit Pat whenever in the area bringing her news of Harry, Hazel and Poppy, her other three donkeys who came to live at the Sanctuary. Pat had become increasingly frail and was unlikely to make the journey to Devon to see them, but enjoyed seeing the photos we took.
In recognition of the people who were involved in Heidi's rescue, and the tremendous amount of support in the community willing her to pull through, a foal born at the time of her death was named after Heidi and a framed photograph had pride of place on Pat's mantlepiece.
Pat firmly believed in the afterlife and told Sue on a number of occasions that we will again meet all the animals we have had in our lives, something which gave her enormous comfort and incredible peace.
Pat left a generous legacy to The Donkey Sanctuary and although Poppy is no longer with us, Harry and Hazel continue to enjoy life on one of our farms.
Rest in Peace Pat. You were a unique lady and your legacy will ensure we can help many more donkeys - something we know was very close to your heart.