The orphaned Dartmoor Hill Pony Breeze snuggles up with a teddy bear at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary. Photo: Mail Online
Newborn foals rely on their mothers to provide everything from food to motherly affection.
But after Breeze the Dartmoor Hill pony was orphaned, his cuddles have come from a 4ft teddy bear, which rescuers have given him as a surrogate mother.
One-week-old Breeze was found abandoned on Dartmoor National Park on May 24 when he was just a few hours old.
He had been wandering without his mother and attempting to suckle on other mares before rescuers found him collapsed from clinical shock and dehydration.
Despite a search of the area for the mare that gave birth to Breeze, his mother could not be found.
Rescuers nursed Breeze back to health at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary in Devon, and he was given the cuddly toy to snuggle up to in the absence of a mother.
The giant bear lives with Breeze in his stable and the young foal can be seen nestling in to its fur for comfort.
Sanctuary executive director Syra Bowden said: ‘Sadly, little Breeze hasn’t got his mum around to keep him company.
‘Although his careers here at the sanctuary work around the clock to look after him, it’s not quite the same.
‘As a result, we always give our orphaned foals a giant cuddly toy as a companion. They’re just like human babies in the way it provides them with comfort.’
When Breeze arrived at the equine centre their vet spent three hours by his side and put him on a saline drip, fitted him with a catheter and gave him colostrum drips, milk and medication.
Breeze now receives 24-hour care from staff at the sanctuary’s Honeysuckle Farm in Newton Abbot and is said to be making progress.
Bowden said: "Breeze was very poorly when we first reached him and it was very much touch and go."
‘He’s now suckling well and feeding every hour. He even tried to have a little canter and buck in his stable over the weekend.
‘He’s not out of the woods yet, though. We’ll keep a very close eye on him and care for him around the clock to ensure we do everything possible to help him pull through.
"We all have our fingers crossed that Breeze will continue to grow strong," Bowden said.