DIGBY (was Delboy)


This very sad news has left Digby's army of fans extremely sad and Tracey and Mark devastated.

On the morning of Thursday, 1st December, Digby took a turn for the worse and Tracey and
Mark had to make the awful decision to have him put to sleep.

The anti-inflammatory drug that his vet, Paul, had used on Tuesday to settle him down
had worn off and they were back to square one with him crying and in quite a lot of distress. 
He was just weeing all the time on his bed and laying in it, which was upsetting him being the
proud boy he was.  Although he had managed to poo, he cried and moaned whilst doing
it so something clearly wasn’t right inside and he had got so weak in the last few days that
 they were really just carrying him around everywhere. He spent all the time on his bed,
unable to move himself. This wasn't Digby. They tried everything they could but their
wonderful boy had reached the end of his road.

Tracey said "Luckily Paul came to us at home, I got Mark home from work and we were
all with him (Delphi, Rocky, even Thomas the cat came in too).  He had his head on my lap
and it was very peaceful and he looked at peace afterwards.

He had been in decline for a while if we are honest. We had been clutching at straws
(what else can you do really).  The special collar arrived a few weeks ago but didn’t
really make much difference and I really think his body was giving up.  The hardest thing
was that he still looked alert and was eating but those two things didn’t really make up for
everything that was giving up. 

Paul said it was good that he looked alert, because it meant we hadn’t left it too late and
he hadn’t tipped over the edge and suffered but he did point out how sunken his face was
and Mark and I had only commented on that the other night when he was poorly.  Also the
cysts were the worst they have ever been, not too many on his beautiful face thank
goodness but hundreds of small pea like ones under the skin.

I am bereft and numb and can’t believe my beautiful boy has gone.  Last week I bought him a
really lovely Orvis memory foam bed. It arrived just after he was put to sleep so, would you
believe it, he never got to try it

People have been wonderful and we would like to thank everyone for their kind and beautiful
messages. It made us realise how special our wonderful boy was not just to us but to
scores of other people too".
Digby was a wonderful ambassador for IRR and especially for disabled dogs. His family have
always been very loyal supporters and were happy to share Digby as a much valued
Sponsor Dog from the idea's inception. We can only mourn with Tracey and family, send
them our heartfelt sympathies, offer them support and thank them for giving Digby the
most fantastic 9 years of happiness, love and complete devotion.

Fly with the angels to Rainbow Bridge sweet boy and give your sister Cleo a cuddle from us  xxxxxxxxxxx


DEL BOY is an adorable golden retriever aged about 2 to 3yrs. He gets on very well with other dogs and has a new best friend in Chester.

He is very gentle and handsome and trots along happily (hence his name) despite the fact that he has lost his front left leg, probably in a road accident.

He has now been castrated and had a slightly damaged tooth removed to save future problems. Despite the discomfort, he has still smiled his way through it all with the waggiest of tails. He really is a love. He is in no way disabled and can keep up very happily with the rest of the dogs. He could live very happily with another dog but he is such a contented boy that he would probably be just as happy as an only dog. Here he is with Spirit who he adored.

UPDATE 12.03.07

DIGBY is settling in well in his lovely country home in Devon. He has already met new doggy friends

This was from Sunday night, when Digby met Cousin Barley and they all played together.

DIGBY is continuing to settle in well and seems very laid back and relaxed about life in general.

Progress with Roger (the cat) is slow but sure and we are just doing little and often at the moment. Bramble (the other cat) has stayed upstairs well out of the way for the moment, but this is nothing unusual.

He met a squirrel out for a walk yesterday and this was highly exiting, largely helped by sister Cleo's enthusiasm (she loves them too!). He does not seem bothered by pheasants when we meet them out, but little birds seem to attract his attention when they land on the road in front of us out for a walk. Went on a different route yesterday, up a green lane, which was quite muddy. Had to wash them when we got home and was delighted to find him very good with this and also being dried off afterwards. He leans against you, so you can pick up his feet - brilliant!


Well, it is almost a week since Digby arrived and it seems like he has always been here. He is already completely a member of the family.

We have had great progress with Roger in the last couple of days, with him and Digby finally touching. Digby does still get excited now and then and barks at him sometimes, but Roger has boxed him around the nose once or twice and I think Digby respects him more for that. The meetings are still done under supervision, but they are together all evening now and in fact yesterday Bramble even came down and joined us, so that’s the whole (indoor) family together, which was lovely.

Mark and I were commenting on Digbys good behaviour last night and how well he has just slotted in to our family life. He is absolutely adorable and everyone who meets him comments on how handsome he is. It is like he and Cleo have always been together, which is wonderful.

Thank you so much for allowing us to adopt him


Digby is completely settled in now and it is amazing that over the last few weeks he seems to have realised that this is his forever home and he is not going to moved on again. As a consequence, this really quite cheeky character is coming out, not a naughty one, just a really cheeky and quite chatty side to him that was not there before. He seems totally relaxed in being himself now and we are absolutely delighted with him.

Mark and I took him and Cleo down to Beer beach a few weeks ago for the afternoon. We were a little concerned as to how Digby would cope with the big pebbles on the beach, but we need not have worried, as he was his usual I dont know I have 3 legs self and just steamrollered across them to the sea, where he went swimming (on the extending lead, just in case). Cleo has never been swimming all the time we have had her, but because Digby went in so she followed him straight in and they were swimming together, which was lovely.

It was the first time we had ever had him in a really crowded place and peoples reactions to him were quite amazing. Most of the time it was ahh, accompanied by a sympathetic look, but sometimes there was a look of complete shock or horror, which Mark and I found annoying more than anything. We thought the children were the funniest, as they almost all did a double take and then rushed up to Mummy or Daddy to say Mummy/Daddy that doggie only has 3 legs, to which the parents would turn around and have a good look too. Everybody loves him though, helped by his massively handsome good looks and all we meet want to fuss him. Poor Cleo gets quite left out sometimes, so she just barges her way in as if to say dont forget about me.

    Things with Digby are going brilliantly.  He is the dearest of dogs and has really come into his own now, with quite a cheeky little character and he charms everyone he meets.
He had a huge moult back at the end of May/beginning of June and all his handsome locks disappeared, but thankfully it is all grew back and I think is magnificent once more.  Anyway, that was only his looks ...... his character was still as beautiful as ever.
Digby and Cleo are the best of friends.  They just play and play and play!  She really seems totally smitten by him and he by her and its like they have always been together.
Digby and Roger (the cat) are also best buddies now and Roger often lays in the lounge with them during the mornings before I come home at lunchtime.  He will sleep in an armchair and Digby is usually on the sofa!
My brother was down with Cousin Barley, who is now a huge hulk of a young male retriever and the 3 of them just played wonderfully together.  They had a tendency to move all the lounge furniture during their bundles, obviously to make more of a play area for themselves!  Garry has actually decided to have Barley neutered, as he is getting far too interested in bitches and Cleo is unfortunately no exception. 
Digby completely knows the routine here now and loves running around the field, chasing rabbits, pheasants or whatever!  It is great that they are totally secure and can enjoy a good run around safely.  He has got the stream down to an art and goes in the water at any and every opportunity.  His recall is terrible and he seems to have caught Cleo’s cloth ear syndrome, despite me working on this.  We walk them on extending leads, as Cleo would run off after the first small furry thing and Digby would follow.  Also, we’ve round recently that Digby has started having a bit of a go at white vans???  Don’t know if some memory is coming back.  Anyway, we just feel they are safer on the leads when out and about and they have all the freedom they need down in the field, so it’s the best solution we feel.
We took them down to Beer about a month or so ago and wondered how Digby would cope on the big pebbly beach, but typical Digby just strode straight over them down to the sea and looked at us as if to say ‘come on, what are you waiting for?’  He loved all the attention (of which he gets masses), although a few just give him a pitied look.
We had to take Digby to the vet recently, as he had been bitten by a tick, it had fallen off and left its jaws in him.  Then he went off his food after a few days (not like him) and was really miserable and he had contracted a blood infection from it.  We were given a 5 day course of antibiotics for him (a bit against the grain, but we felt it necessary) and he was right as rain after a few days.  We saw the Senior vet and he was absolutely fascinated with his scar and the operation he had had.  He said that they have only ever removed the entire scapula a couple of times and he said he must have really been badly damaged for the vet to have done that.  It would have been a major op and cost an awful lot of money.  He was really impressed with his balance (and Digby demonstrated this by putting his front feet up on a chair in the surgery) and was almost in awe of him.  It was really nice to get this feedback and a bit of history of what he must have gone through.  He said his balance was superb, especially the way he adopted a tripod stance whilst sitting and concluded that he probably didn’t fall over much (which he doesn’t).   He said in the long run he was better off having a front limb amputation, as they get less arthritis in the front than the back and he was young enough to cope without it.
The only thing we find is he does tend to roll around a bit in the car, mainly because a 4 legged dog can of course steady themselves in the front, which he can’t.  We have decided we’re going to get a van (hopefully a VW Transporter – didn’t you have one of these?) and get some proper kennels made for the back.  We think he and Cleo would travel much better this way, so this is something we hope to sort out in the future.

The photos and video are from the people who owned the four Golden Retrievers that we met at Dalswinton.

  The photos are of Digby and Travis (the one he looked like) and then Digby after falling in the pond.

(MPG, 4.6MB)
  The video is after Digby falling in the pond and the mad dog running around like a loony with a blue collar is Cleo! 

Cleo and Digby            
Cleo and Digby            
 Santa Paws             
  The Jacob Sheep – Mummy Mertyle and Baby Molly
Digby and Roger 
Digby, Roger and Bramble

At this time of year, with the woodburner on in the evenings, all four are curled up around it!

Digby is well and enjoying his life to the full as usual.  Our sheep had lambs in the spring (not planned – they jumped in with next doors Rams!) and we’ve had fun and games getting Digby used to them.  He still chases them if the mood takes him, but it is more out of devilment than anything else – he wouldn’t hurt them – just enjoys the run!   We’ve also been adopted by another cat, Thomas, who looks like he’s come to stay, so the numbers are now up to 23!
They are both having quite a big moult at the moment. Digby is in lovely condition but Cleo is not looking so good so I hope her coat starts to grow back again soon.  We are looking forward to the Reunion and really enjoy it, although I can’t believe we will do as well as we did last year (Cleo won Reserve Best Veteran!) and we had rosettes and goodies coming out of our ears!    

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