Inspired by a donkey that she had grown to adore, one little girl, now 6 years old, uttered her first words ever to her furry friend.
“I love you,” Amber Austwick told donkey “Shocks,” who she had visited several times at an animal sanctuary beforehand.
“Once she met Shocks, he brought her out of her shell," Amber’s mom, Tracy Austwick, said in a video shared by Caters News. "She’s a lot more confident with him and with friends at school who she loves to talk to about him."
Twins Amber and Hope, of England, were born prematurely in June 2010 and were hurried to intensive care where their breathing was assisted while covered in bubble wrap.
Both babies suffered severe bleeding in their lungs and had their own separate complications, but while Hope got stronger, Amber needed a tracheotomy.
The emergency operation saved her life but restricted air to her vocal cords, leaving her unable to speak.
But that changed three years ago when she met Shocks. Amber quickly developed a bond with the animal, who had been rescued from abuse. Tracy began taking her daughter there as often as possible.
“It was quite scary really, Shocks was in the arena and the riding instructor took little Amber to him and I found it scary for me because Shocks was so much bigger than her,” Tracy said. “But Amber wasn’t scared and Shocks was really excited to meet her and they’ve kept that bond ever since.”
Then the special moment came.
“It was such an emotional moment. I couldn't believe my daughter had finally found her voice,” Tracy said. “He’s really lovely and so patient with Amber.”
And the mom said Shocks is part of their family now.
“Amber will always visit Shocks and she still sees him whenever she can,” Tracy said.