CONCORD, Va. — Last year, the story of Sorrento, Florida, schoolchildren who “fell in love” with an abandoned donkey named Mr. Walter captured hearts and minds around Central Florida.
Mr. Walter has a big fan club, and nine months after the rescue saved him from neglect, he's now able to frolic with new friends in the field.
"He is doing great,” said Kimberly Clark, with the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue. “I think his recovery is better than anybody expected."
Clark runs the rescue and said in recent months, they've removed a large mass from Mr. Walter's leg and given him a special shoe to help him walk.
"Part of the problem was that his feet weren't getting trimmed on a regular basis, if at all,” Clark said. “So now they are, and they're in great shape."
The treatment is allowing him to run and play with his new partner.
Clark said another donkey, named Jock, lived a similar ungroomed, lonely life.
They were saved by the rescue around the same time, and both are too old to adopt out.
"I think just because of their backgrounds, they always wanted a friend, and when they discovered each other, it was just really cute,” Clark said. “It was like love at first sight. We call it their little bromance."
It's hard to match the kind of companionship Mr. Walter had with so many schoolkids in Florida.
Clark wants those children to know he's healthy now and living his best donkey life.
"We try to focus on the future and not the past. Not dwell on things that went wrong, but dwell on the things that are going right and that he's happy now."
The rescue said some children still send Mr. Walter letters and even plan to visit him this summer.
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