Horses of Tir Na Nog


Gender: Mare

Breed: Burro

Approximate Date of Birth: 1/1/1999

On Wednesday, June 9, we said goodbye to two very special members of our herd.

Cocoa arrived in January of 2005 as an emaciated pony. She was a "companion pony" sold with a Appaloosa gelding. Due to her advanced age, Cocoa needed a specialized diet and the owner wasn’t willing to spend the money on a horse that couldn’t be ridden. It didn’t take very long before the new owner decided she didn’t want to keep an "old pony that no one could ride."

When she came to Horses of Tir Na Nog, Cocoa fell in love with Buster and the two were inseparable until Buster’s passing in 2009. After Buster, Cocoa "adopted" China, a wonderful burro who came from County of San Diego Department of Animal Services. Sadly, compression of her vertebra kept China’s time with us far too short and a few months later Cocoa lost her second friend.

Fortunately, Jingles arrived within a couple of weeks, and it was like seeing life-long friends meet again after an extended absence. The connection was instantaneous and Cocoa took on a very protective role with Jingles. Perhaps she knew that Jingles needed someone to look after her. Or perhaps it was Jingles who knew that Cocoa needed a friend more than anything else.

Jingles, a BLM Burro, had suffered from a shattered calcaneus (Achilles’ heel). Since she had been living at another rescue for six years, we know the injury was older than that and presumably happened as the result on a trauma while still a free ranging burro. Jingles arrived very distrusting of people. She was difficult to catch and then resisted being restrained. Thanks to trust building exercises by many of our volunteers, including Laura and Roxy, Jingles became more comfortable with people.

Sadly, both Cocoa and Jingles’s mobility was declining over the last few months. Anti-inflammatory drugs were prescribed, but were unable to maintain an acceptable quality of life for either of these two girls. A week ago our vet evaluated both of them. He suggested increasing the medications to see if we could get a better response. After a week, it was clear that neither had improved enough to extend this treatment.

It is always heart-breaking to lose a member of our herd. Each one is so special to us and each has his/her own story of defying the odds. Cocoa shouldn’t have recovered from her neglect in 2005 and Jingles should never have survived the trauma to her leg. But both did and in their survival they enriched our lives. We are grateful to the parishioners of the Church of St. Luke for sponsoring Jingles and a special friend for sponsoring Cocoa this past year.

Now that Jingles and Cocoa are free of the pain and discomfort of their broken bodies, I can only imagine what a beautiful site it must have been for them to cross the Rainbow Bridge together, no doubt with Buster and China there to greet them both!

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