An abandoned pony loves nothing more than snuggling up to her stuffed friend and it’s adorable.
Aston, a little piebald foal, was dumped in piles of rubbish in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in October when he was just four months old.
RSPCA inspector Heidi Cleaver rescued him and he was sent to the Felledge Equine Centre.
“He was literally thrown in with the rubbish and nappies next to some bins – it was very sad to see and a really callous act,” she said.
The young pony had to be put in solitary confinement initially and staff were worried he would feel lonely, so they gave him his stuffed toy to cuddle in the stable.
Heidi said: “He was too young to have been away from his mother so he really bonded with the toy.
“He now has a real pony friend in the day called Hamish who he plays with – but at night he still likes to snuggle up to his toy – it’s so cute to see.
“He doesn’t eat without his toy in the stable and loves snuggling up to the cuddly buddy before bed.”
Emma Tallentire, Felledge Equine Center Manager, said: ‘He was so young when he came to us and was alone and scared, so the toy we had as a gift was put in his stable so he had some the company.
“It has worked out wonderfully and Aston loves its new friend. We hope to find him a new home in the coming months, but we suspect that his friend may also need to accompany him.
Heidi added: “But I’m happy to say that with lots of love and care from the staff at Felledge it has come in leaps and bounds and will soon be looking for a new home.”
The RSPCA has yet to find the person responsible for dumping Aston.
Sadly, this type of abandonment is on the rise, with the charity seeing a shocking 25% increase in cases and a 13% increase in reports of neglect.
In the year to October 2022, rescuers handled 13,159 incidents of abandonment, compared to 10,519 for the same period the previous year.
The animal rescue charity believes the cost of living crisis is leading to more people throwing away or neglecting their pets and fears it is getting worse.
In response, they launched their Christmas campaign to help raise funds so they could continue their vital work.
Heidi added: “We need public support now more than ever. Animal lovers can donate to our Christmas rescue so that our call staff, front line rescuers, centers and branches can work together to help all those animals in need.
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