An abandoned pony loves nothing more than snuggling up to his stuffed horse toy friend and it’s adorable.
Aston, a little piebald colt, was dumped with 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 out with the rubbish and nappies at the side of some bins – it was very sad to see and a really callous act,’ she said.
The young pony had to be put into isolation initially and staff were worried about him being lonely, so they gave him his stuffed toy to cuddle into in stable.
Heidi said: ‘He was too young to have been away from his mum 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 is so cute to see.
‘He won’t eat without his toy in the stable and loves to snuggle up to the cuddly companion before bedtime.’
Emma Tallentire, equine centre manager at Felledge, said: ‘He was so young when he came to us and was lonely and frightened so the toy which we had as a donation was placed in his stable so he had company.
‘It worked a treat and Aston loves his new friend. We hope to find him a new home in the coming months but we think his friend may have to go with him too.’
Heidi added: ‘But I am pleased to say with lots of love and attention from staff at Felledge, he has come on leaps and bounds and will soon be looking for a new home.’
The RSPCA has not yet found the person responsible for dumping Aston.
Sadly, this kind of abandonment is on the increase with the charity seeing a shocking 25% rise in cases and a 13% increase in neglect reports.
In the year up to October 2022, rescuers dealt with 13,159 incidents of abandonment, up from 10,519 for the same time period the previous year.
The animal rescue charity believes the cost of living crisis is leading to more people dumping or neglecting their pets and fear this will become much worse.
In response, they have launched their Christmas campaign to help raise funds so they can continue their vital work.
Heidi added: ‘We need the public’s support more than ever. Animal lovers can donate to our Christmas rescue so our call staff, frontline rescuers, centres and branches can work together to help all those animals in need.’
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