Gabriel Christus
Equine enthusiast Klaire Funderburgh, 12, stepped in to save the life of a donkey that she encountered at a Greeley feedlot. At left, Klaire pets her horse Delsey while her miniature horse Little Bit hangs out at their home in Conifer.

Bogart the mammoth donkey has a new lease on life thanks to the efforts of a West Jefferson Middle School seventh-grader and the kind-hearted staff at Colorado Horse Rescue.

Bogart was at a feedlot waiting to be sent to a slaughterhouse when 12-year-old Klaire Funderburgh fell in love with the gentle giant.

“She kept saying, ‘Mom, I can’t let him be killed. I have to save him,’ ” said Klaire’s mother, Kristin Manley.