Turning a New Leaf: A Grief-Stricken Donkey Finds Joy Once More

The sudden death of a loved one leaves a significant impact, whether you're a human or an animal. Such is the story of Raffles— a donkey mourning the loss of his best friend Harry. Today’s story is a heartwarming tale of overcoming grief and finding friendship again. From heartbreak to a new friendship for life, join us as we recount this inspiring story.

Raffles's Heartbreak: Animals Feel Too

The relationship between animals is often underestimated, but their feelings can be just as strong as ours. When Raffles' best friend Harry died suddenly in November 2022, it left him "stricken with grief". Having resided with owners Rosie and Mike Dewhurst in the scenic terrains of northern Scotland, Raffles's plight was quickly noticed by his loving owners.

Upon realizing Raffles' grief, the Dewhursts reached out to The Donkey Sanctuary for guidance—a place housing donkeys in need of care and love. As animal owners and lovers, Rosie and Mike struggled with their decision on the next steps— whether to rehome another donkey or place the grief-stricken Raffles at The Donkey Sanctuary, a decision that was not made lightly.

Preparing for a New Companion

Ultimately, the decision was made to bring a new companion for Raffles, a choice that led the Dewhursts to engage in extensive Donkey Sanctuary training. The couple even divided one of their fields to keep the new donkeys separated initially—an approach aimed at ensuring a smooth and comfortable adjustment period for all parties involved. Finally, the wait was over– a suitable friend for Raffles named Bob was found. Bob, previously part of the resident herd at The Donkey Sanctuary in Leeds, had a history of being a little too fond of freedom – a quality that led him to The Donkey Sanctuary after multiple escapes from his former owners

The Moment of Reunion: A Tale of Friendship

Bob arrived at the Dewhursts' home in Aberdeenshire in August. Raffles' joy knew no bounds as he cantered over to meet Bob across the fence, a direct embodiment of the famous saying 'love at first sight'. The newfound friends spent about 20 minutes trotting along the fence line, a symbolic gesture of getting to know each other.

Their farm companionship blossomed from that fateful initial encounter. Within half an hour of being placed in the same field, the donkeys were found grazing side by side, a testament to their quick bond. Rosie and Mike Dewhurst spent a great deal of time with both donkeys, observing them and providing them necessary comfort. Their perseverance and patient approach helped foster a beautiful, fully bonded relationship between Raffles and Bob within two months, leading to games and mutual grooming sessions.

Wrapping Up

This touching story of Raffles and Bob is a testament to the profound connection animals share with each other and their human caretakers. The experience was overwhelmingly positive for Rosie and Mike, and, more importantly, for Raffles and Bob.

Sources and Further Reading

Follow up the story in Horse & Hound.

Note: The Rehabilitation of Grief-Stricken Donkey - A Heartwarming Story. Courtesy of Horse & Hound.