By Josh Saunders
A donkey mother and son who were reunited in a heart-melting video are now inseparable after she nearly died of depression.
Mary Poppins, five, and Colonel Sanders, 11 months, are now never more than 15 feet away from one another, feed out of the same bucket and have made a full recovery.
Janine Guido, 33, from, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, of Speranza Animal Rescue took in the son after an anonymous Samaritan saved them from auction, but mother Mary was set for a separate home.
Her new owners never arrived and over the ensuing week she fell into a deep depression, hiding away from others, braying near nonstop and starving herself for a week.
The Colonel who had never been without his mother, refused to play with other animals and would regularly call out for his mother, hoping she would reply.
After retrieving the mum who had lost considerable weight from her pictures, Janine watching in amazement as the pair not only recognised one another but screamed in excitement.
Janine, founder and president of Speranza, said: “Mary was not doing good at all she wasn’t eating all week, was screaming known as braying, and was extremely depressed.
“It was not good at all, when I picked her up she had clearly dropped some weight from the pictures I had seen and was in the corner with her head hanging low.
“It was obvious that she was depressed, I don’t think she would have gotten over it.
“She was with the Colonel for the whole of his life, it’s hard to tell what would have happened, but animals can die of depression which people don’t realise.
“I thought it would be fun to see them reunited and that she would go up to sniff him but nothing more.
“Oh my god, I’m so glad I got it on video, as when she saw him there was a lot of emotion, it was very sweet, she knew it was him.
“Colonel was pacing back and forth at the gate, I think he saw her before she recognised him, he was very excited.
“I think she was really excited as soon as she soon him because she perked up.
“As soon as they got in the field together they went to each other and sniffed one another’s noses.
“Then the Colonel ran around and Mary started running too for around 10 – 15 minutes before they stopped to eat grass.
“Now they are never out of one another’s sight, it’s unusual for them to be more than 15-20 feet from one another.”
Since being reunited, the Colonel has not let Mary out of his sight.
Janine believes he is acting like a ‘clingy child’ regularly doing adorable but annoying things to get his mother’s attention.
She said: “They live in a big field with two alpacas, but the Colonel never goes far away from his mom.
“Right now, they have blankets on, and the colonel keeps biting her blanket when she walks away.
“You can tell that he is the annoying kid but that she loves him.
“One day they were walking down the field and he was holding her tail in his mouth, somehow she deals with it.
“They always eat out of the same food bucket, I think it’s a connection thing.
“Despite putting food in both of their buckets they choose to eat out of the same one.”
Janine has noticed their personalities emerge since being together and has found the pair a way more sociable.
She added: “They are a lot happier, are very outgoing and both come up to me and the volunteers now.
“We can rub their heads now, before when I met Mary, she was so skittish that I could barely get her.
“Now she puts her head in my lap and thy are definitely much happier together.
“When the Colonel was depressed after realising his mom was not coming with him, he refused to play and didn’t get along with the other animals.
“Sometimes the animals can get really excited and then be over it, but with these two that’s not the cause and they are definitely meant to stay together.”
Janine who started Speranza Animal Rescue seven years ago, is a full-time volunteer spending 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
They are a non-profit, who rehabilitate severely neglected and abused animals on their 17.5-acre farm in Mechanicsburg, PA.
The name Speranza originates from the Italian word ‘hope’.
Janine said: “We are all volunteers, so every donation goes towards the animals, primarily donkeys, horses, alpacas, sheep, pigs, pit-bulls, bully breeds and more.
“Everything goes towards vet care, food, stuff like that and we have a farm, so the maintenance costs too.
Everything is to benefit the animals.”
For more information visit: www.speranzarescue.org.