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Rory the Shetland pony has become an unlikely friend with a group of labradors....

You don't foal anyone pretending to be a dog

by ANDREW LEVY

8th January 2007



Playtime: When Rory and Millie aren't chasing each other, they are fetching sticks





Just like his labrador friends, he wags his tail, fetches sticks and rolls on his back to have his tummy tickled.

But the hooves and mane give away his real identity - as a Shetland pony (one of the world's smallest ponies).

Eight-week-old Rory picked up his canine traits after he was befriended by dogs at the Essex Horse and Pony Sanctuary in Pitsea.

Owner Sue Allery said: "In 18 years I've never seen anything like it. When vets visit us they can't believe it either."

Rory was rejected by his mother after he was born in Colchester on Friday the 13th of October. After arriving at the sanctuary he became ill and spent all his time being nursed in the office - attracting the interest of labradors Alfie and Millie, owned by stable manager Sam Edwards.

"Rory would be lying in my lap with his little hooves sticking out and Alfie would come up and wash them,' said Mrs Allery.

"And when he was left with a white moustache after drinking milk, Alfie would clean that too. Despite all that, Rory ended up being closer to Millie because she is nearer to his size."

Shetland pony expert David Hodge said: "They are a herd animal by nature which means they learn by copying other ponies. So if you put them with another animal, they'll copy them."


Just like his labrador friends, Rory wags his tail, fetches sticks and rolls on his back to have his tummy tickled. But the hooves and mane give away his real identity - as a Shetland pony.
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Eight-week-old Rory picked up his canine traits after he was befriended by dogs at the Essex Horse and Pony Sanctuary in Pitsea
Mark Richards
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