May 2013 a small bay foal was born at the Dartmoor National Park and rejected by his mother. A concerned farmer found him and phone The Mare and Foal Sanctuary for help. Only a few hours old, he was hungry and trying unsuccessfully to suckle from other mares in the herd. Sanctuary workers rushed to the foal’s aid. Exhausted he collapsed as they arrived, in shock and severely dehydrated.
The first hours and days were difficult. The foal, named Breeze, required care and feeding around the clock. While he grew stronger from the nourishment, his caregivers worried for his emotional well-being. The little foal needed companionship, a friend. Local residents quickly raised funds to purchase a BFF for Breeze, a 4-foot stuffed bear named Buttons.
Breeze immediately took to the large fuzzy figure who became his constant companion. The bear provided a comforting, soft figure for the orphaned foal to nuzzle. Buttons the Bear was just the right medicine. The foal thrived.
Today Breeze is a grown 3-year old pony. Sanctuary workers suggest you don’t be fooled by his sweet little face – like any youngster he is known to be cheeky and a bit naughty.
Tracey Dixon, Yard Manager at Upcott Park explains, “Consistent handling and regular training has helped to control Breeze, but our staff still have to keep an eye on him. He’s really thriving in the open spaces of North Devon, he’s also settled into a large herd and spends hours playing with the other youngsters. Eventually, when he’s ready, we’ll look for a new home for him. We couldn’t be prouder of how far he’s come.”
Buttons the Bear is also still at the Sanctuary helping other orphaned foals since Breeze by providing comfort and companionship. The two friends were recently reunited. Breeze enjoyed carrying the bear around his stable then settled down for a snooze with his old friend snuggled up by his side.