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Sleep well little Haribo

There are no words to express our sense of loss as once again I have to tell you of the death of one of our beautiful bears. Especially a bear like Haribo, whose determination to survive captured the hearts of all who had the privilege to know him.

I fell in love with this bear from the second he arrived, and it grew as he so bravely tolerated wave after wave of health-checks and surgeries so necessary to correct the ravages of his life on the farm.

Squat and dumpy like Blanca and Woodley (hence his nickname “Poodley” on arrival), he never once bore a grudge for his past and just got on with the present. He loved every type of food, making those attention-seeking "raspberry" sounds whenever he wanted more – knowing full well that certain pockets were full of gummy bears.

Thankfully, he made it to the special-care area of Rupert, Franzi and Snoopy's house and just adored his time outdoors – snoring happily underneath the stars. No other bear outside of Rupert captured fussy Franzi’s heart either, and her interest in the fellow on the other side of the bars made us hope that she might one day end up with two toy boys, who would make her feel the special bear she is.

I'm so sorry I couldn't be in Chegdu last Friday with the team, who were, I know, weeping rivers for the loss of this brave little bear. Here is vet Jen’s update on events as, with sad, sad hearts, we all say farewell to another bear who teaches us the meaning of forgiveness:

Little Haribo, who stole everyone’s heart was sadly euthanised today after his hind legs failed him. Over the past two weeks, he had become progressively worse, from being quite stiff, to not being able to stand at all and not wanting to move for the special treats Caroline lovingly made for him daily.

Haribo had been a fighter getting through his early surgery and later episodes of bloating and vomiting despite all medical efforts. On post mortem, it was found that his oesophagus was dilated many times more than normal which despite our medical management could not have been fixed.

X-rays confirmed that his spine had multiple areas where the disc spaces were compressed, over time putting more and more pressure on his spinal cord slowly cutting off the nerve function to his hind legs. We all wanted to keep Haribo with us for a very long time, but we all knew that we needed to make sure that Haribo left this world still being able to enjoy that one last gummy bear!

PS: My favourite pic of Haribo – grinning – taken by Heather:

Happily, 10 of the bears that arrived with Haribo have made the difficult journey through their surgeries, recovery and integration with other bears. Please go to the Rescue Diary to read their individual stories and to see their "before and after" photos.

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