Children’s book author Rebecca P. Murray publishes Pasado story to honor slain donkey’s legacy

Rebecca P. Murray

Pasado Heart of a Donkey

30 years after his death, Pasado’s message lives on in a children’s book

I was honored to collaborate on this project to share and preserve the tragic and beautiful legacy of Pasado.

— Lori Burkheimer, artist

MOUNT VERNON, WA, USA, April 13, 2022 / — Rebecca P. Murray, animal advocate and children’s book author, gives Pasado a voice to tell her own story in her new book Pasado: The heart of a donkey. Pasado, a 21-year-old donkey, was a family favorite and resident of Kelsey Creek Park in Bellevue, Washington. Tragically, he was found strangled in his pasture on the morning of April 16, 1992.

The trial of three young men responsible for Pasado’s death produced a storm of animal activism that spawned a new law and an animal sanctuary in Pasado’s name. The book aims to tell Pasado’s story in a child-friendly way to honor Pasado and those who stood up in his name on behalf of the animal species.

Lori Burkheimer’s whimsical watercolor illustrations add character, depth, and levity to Pasado’s story. Burkheimer, familiar with Pasado’s story, felt an instant connection to the book. “I was honored to collaborate on this project to share and preserve the tragic and beautiful legacy of Pasado.”

Due to the graphic nature of Pasado’s demise, Murray takes great pains to point out the positive outcomes that often follow tragedy. “The message of the silver linings is part of the beautiful Pasado heritage,” Murray said.

Murray, a longtime supporter of the animal sanctuary named after Pasado, longed for a way to share Pasado’s story with others. “When I received the 25th anniversary newsletter five years ago, the story of Pasado came to me in the first person, as Pasado himself.”

But it wasn’t until Murray published her first children’s book, The Bird and the Hippopotamus, in 2020 that she pulled the story from her archives and considered the idea of ​​publishing it for children.

Murray reached out to Safe Haven Animal Shelter in Pasado and shared his first project. Staff, thrilled to have a child-friendly way to share Pasado’s story, lent their full support to the project by providing historic photos and stories of three additional animal residents. Pasado introduces the animals as his “sanctuary friends” who share stories of transformation, highlighting the good work of the sanctuary.

“I am pleased to preserve Pasado’s history as an important part of Washington State history,” Murray said. “Thirty years after his death, Pasado’s story is not well known. I hope this book can keep his memory alive.”

Pasado: Heart of a Donkey offers a timeless message of compassion in action and is suitable for ages eight and up. Published by ByWater Press, the book is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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