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Valley residents will remember pony

In rural areas, every neighborhood has a pet all the children love and grow up with.

In the Silver Creek neighborhood of North Bend, Cloudy, a Welsh pony, was that pet. Until his recent death, he brought joy to several families and their neighbors.

Cloudy's official name was Gray Cloud. He had a dappled-gray coat that little girls loved to brush. His mane was flaxen, and if not constantly trimmed, hung haphazardly in his eyes.

Cloudy lived to age 45.

"Gray Cloud was a loving pet. He will be missed and remembered for his sweet spirit and giving nature," said Jane Rosenkranz, his last owner.

Cloudy was originally from Burien. The Inness family of Seattle bought him when he was 10 years old. They purchased a cart adorned with bells that Cloudy pulled them around in on Seattle streets during holidays. Inness family girls were known to skip class just to be with their pony, and he was frequently taken through a Jack in the Box drive-thru for French fries, his favorite treat.

"His alter ego was a Lipizzan stallion, jumping and making tight turns in the fenced area of our back yard," Keith Inness said. "The more we laughed and applauded, the more he performed. What a joy he was."

When the Innesses moved to North Bend, an entire group of children came to love him. Cloudy pulled his cart in every Alpine Days festival between 1972 and 1976. He spent many hot summer days eating ice cream cones at Scott's Dairy Freeze, and hanging out at the Blue Hole and Circle River swimming spots. He always waited patiently in the IGA parking lot while his tiny riders picked out candy.

"Cloudy tolerated things that most horses would run from, like letting little girls curl his mane and tail, allowing them to play dress-up with him and smother him with little-girl kisses and listening to them sing camp and church songs," said North Bend resident Mary Sackman, who spent part of her childhood with the pony.

"God must have created Cloudy to watch over a group of little girls in the Snoqualmie Valley while they were growing up," she added. "I will miss him. He will always be in my heart and a reminder of the sweetness of my youth."

When the Inness family moved back to Seattle, they gave Cloudy to the Potts family. Jane Rosenkranz (formerly Potts) said he was a star attraction at their home. Her daughter Amy was 3 years old when Cloudy came along. She started riding him at age 4 and began competing in shows and events five years later. The pair belonged to the 4-H Timber Trotters and the Renaissance Riders and won many ribbons at fairs in the western pleasure, gaming and groom squad categories.

"They were always great together," Rosenkranz said. "Whenever she'd get upset, she'd go out and sit on Cloudy and just lay there on him. And Cloudy would just stand there. When she was four, she fell off of him and he just stopped right there in his tracks. He was extremely gentle with everyone."

Cloudy retired from the show ring in 1984 and spent time at the spring Special Arts Festival in Puyallup giving rides to special-needs children. Those who knew him said he loved children tremendously, but his only flaw was that he preferred females.

The pony provided fun and quirkiness for his third family, as well. On two occasions, Cloudy stood in for the donkey in the North Bend Community Church's Nativity scene set up in the Sterling Savings parking lot. And he took to cold winter weather just fine, except for the icicles that formed on his mane and tail.

"I'll never forget one winter he was walking along and he looked like a little Santa with his white mane and white tail and his bright red blanket. He was the cutest thing," Rosenkranz said.

Cloudy was put down on March 19 by his vet. The pony had lost so many teeth from age that while eating, he would drop food, then get mouthfuls of sand when trying to pick up his meal. This and other age-related complications negatively affected his health.

Cloudy was buried in the family pasture with a cross and his name written in rocks that surround his grave.

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