Children’s Book Author Rebecca P. Murray Publishes Pasado’s Story to Honor Legacy of Slain Donkey

Rebecca P. Murray

Pasado The 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 Pasado’s tragic and beautiful legacy. ”

– Lori Burkheimer, Artist

MOUNT VERNON, WA, USA, April 13, 2022 / – Animal advocate and children’s book author Rebecca P. Murray gives Pasado a voice to tell his 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 firestorm of animal activism that gave birth to a new law and an animal sanctuary in Pasado’s name. The book aims to tell Pasado’s story in a kid-friendly way to honor Pasado and those who rose up in his name on behalf of animal-kind.

Whimsical watercolors illustrations by Lori Burkheimer add character, depth, and lightheartedness 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 Pasado’s tragic and beautiful legacy.”

Because of the graphic nature of Pasado’s demise, Murray takes great care to emphasize positive outcomes that often follow tragedy. “The message of silver linings is part of Pasado’s beautiful legacy,” Murray said.

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

But it was not until Murray published her first children’s book, The Bird and The Hippo, in 2020 that she pulled the story out of her archives and considered the notion of publishing it for children.

Murray reached out to Pasado’s Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary and shared her first draft. Staff, excited by having a kid-friendly way to share Pasado’s story, lent their full support to the project by providing historical photos and stories of three additional animal residents. Pasado introduces the animals as his ‘sanctuary friends’ who share stories of transformation, highlighting the sanctuary’s good work.

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

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

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Rebecca P. Murray shares inspiration behind new book.


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