There is an aura of sadness around the Sanctuary these days because Little Sable died earlier this week. Her quiet company is sorely missed by staff and volunteers alike. Sable was a slight, rather delicate Miniature donkey, always a little shy and always at the side of her devoted companion, Pansy. At night check on Monday all was well with the animals but then in the morning, Sable was found on the ground next to one of the feeders, a sign that her passing had been sudden. Pansy was standing quietly at the side and remained there until the body was taken away.
As all of us who work with the donkeys know, they are companionable creatures often seen leaning lightly against one another. At the same time, – and with the exception of close mother and foal bonds – it is unusual for most of the donkeys to have a particular ‘friend’. In light of that pattern we came to marvel at Sable and Pansy because they were really quite inseparable. Side by side they grazed together, ate from feeders together and rested together. Always, they were a charming sight.
I note that Pansy is 33 years old now, a considerable age for any donkey. For her sake, we are hopeful that she will choose to favour another companion, perhaps Katy, whose mate, Peter, passed recently as well. Communication between the equines is generally too subtle for us to interpret, however, and so we will have to just wait and watch Pansy and Katy as they move around in days to come.
Sandra Pady, Founder