The day has come that we have all been dreading and it was time to say "goodbye"
to one very amazing and very special lady.

A heartbroken Di told us "Yesterday evening (4th July) we had to say goodbye to Princess Holly. 
Her quality of life had been rapidly deteriorating and we needed to make sure she went
with dignity and not in pain or distress.  Her vet felt this was the time so we let her go".   

We are all so sorry and really feel for Di and Rob who did our very special princess
proud right to the very end.

It is never easy to say "goodbye" to our beloved babies but, somehow, it seems even
harder when we have invested so much time and energy into nursing and caring for them
as Di and Rob have done especially as Holly was given just weeks to live back into 2010 when,
as oldies experts, they became her foster parents. Fortunately, they and their brilliant vets did her proud.

It must be impossible at the moment to see past their loss but, one day, instead, they will
remember Holly's great gain of so many extra years which they filled for her with the best
possible health and the utmost happiness.

IRR can't thank Di and Rob enough for all that they did for her but, more than anything for
simply loving her to bits.

Sleep tight Princess Holly then, when you have mastered your new wings, fly high, darling girl.
We all loved you so much too xx



Today is my special day – I’ve been here for 4 years. 
How amazing am I! Loads of kisses from Holly (and Suki sends some as well )  xxxxxxx

Auntie Belinda says "HAPPY ANNIVERSARY HOLLY!  You look gorgeous as everyone
can see from your pic. What a beautiful girl you are. Lots of love from us all  and 
please give some kisses to Suki  xxxxxxx" 

Gizmo & the gang & Aunty P would like to congratulate you on 4 wonderful years and still going strong. 

"What truly amazing & brilliant news..... it is a proper red letter day!!    You go girl. 

The next milestone is your birthday in October. Big hugs to you & Suki from us all".

Enormous thanks must go from all at IRR to your Mum and Dad for all the extra special
TLC they have given you.

Three Wonderful Years!

Well, it's 28th May 2013 and it’s three years today that I arrived in England, practically on death's
door, but I’m still here! This is thanks to being made an IRR Forever Foster Dog and having the
most loving, caring humans a girl could ever want for.

My Aunty Pauline predicted I’d live beyond a few weeks and, boy, was she right!    

The picture I’ve attached is of me and my sister – mad, bad Suki who is a Sponsor Dog with the
Oldies Club.  We love each other loads and are always together.

Lots of kisses from

Holly xxxx

6th October 2013

And now I’m 12 – next year I’ll be a teenager so watch out!    It’s been a great year here
although I didn’t like the very hot weather – it made me feel quite ill.   Suki & I had an air conditioner
and a fan so we were as comfortable as possible but I was still glad when the weather cooled down. 
There was also a paddling pool in the garden and Suki loved that but I don’t like to get my feet
wet so I avoided it.  I think it’s not fitting for a princess to paddle! 

Our sister Bonnie went to Rainbow Bridge a few months ago and we miss her a lot.
She was very ill when she arrived with us but she got a little bit better for a while so we
had some good times together until her illness came back and she had to leave us. 
Mad, bad Suki is still here with me and we are really best friends.  We’re always together and we
sleep cuddled up together.   She’s such a lovely friend for me and we have little playtimes in the
mornings after breakfast.  Suki brings me one of her furry bunnies and I pretend to take it from
her so we have a bit of a wrestle – nothing undignified, you understand, just a gentle, ladylike tussle. 

My other best friend is the grandson person.  He’s now 3 and is really good to play with. 
I stick close beside him when he’s here so that I can look after him and make sure he’s safe. 
When I do that, everyone says what a wonderful girl I am – so of course, I do it as often as I can. 

My lovely vet, Glenn says I am his wonder dog – and so I am.  He’s says I’ve now got
something called CDRM.   My back legs are a bit strange and they often go off in a different direction
from my front ones and often I can’t really feel where they are.  Sometimes I stumble a bit but
mum or dad straightens me up and then I can carry on.  It’s good for a princess to have servants
to do these things.

Kisses to everyone at IRR – thank you loads and loads for all the fund raising which pays my
vet bills and keeps me alive and having fun.

    Holly xxxx


Holly is supposed to be 9yrs but Sandie's vet thinks she is probably 11yrs. She was surrendered to us because her owners couldn't afford her veterinary treatment.


Apparently, a year ago, when she wouldn't eat, her owners prepared all sorts of tasty dishes for her and eventually she started eating normally.  She had recently been eating Pedigree tinned dog food but then she went downhill again, off her food, lethargic and they took her to see the vet who diagnosed her with a heart problem and he drained about a pint of fluid from her stomach - for which she is also on tablets.

She's still quite lethargic and can't walk very far at all.  She needs to be with someone who can spend more time with her and give her the attention she requires in her golden years.


Holly was carefully transported from Ireland to Rob and Di, who are very experienced fosterers of oldies, and arrived in Epping at about 5:50am. Rob said "What an adorable cargo!!She has been welcomed to the gang by Bella and Josie and has explored the garden.

Holly is very quiet but taking notice of what's going on.  Her stomach is bloated , she is drinking excessively and, as Sandie mentioned, her breathing is laboured.  We have made an appointment with the vet for as soon as they open.  Rest assured she will not go short of TLC in the Thompson household."

Sadly, the vet's report was not good and Holly is in the final stages of heart failure so she will remain as a FOREVER FOSTER with Di and Rob who will give her as much love as any dog could ever be given.

We have asked for prayers and healing thoughts to be sent to her from as many people as we could and would like to thank the very many people who have responded positively to our pleas.

UPDATE 29.5.2010

Di says "Holly is having the maximum dose of three different diuretics but she had already been put on two types of diuretics by the Irish vet over a month ago and clearly they didn't work so that isn't very positive. Our vet doubled those doses and added a third as well as the maximum dose of Vetmedin to dilate the blood vessels to give her heart less to do. The original owner's vet had drained some fluid from her tummy but did no ultrasound or xrays and merely prescribed quite a low dose of diuretics - this may have been a cost thing as the meds she has now are very expensive and ultrasound and xrays cost a lot.    It may be that this condition was building up for quite some time before it became apparent to her owners and would account for why it's so far gone now that she's in the end stage.    I've never seen an xray like it - the whole area was white with fluid and her heart was huge.    Thank goodness Sandie was there otherwise goodness knows what would have happened to her if her owners couldn't afford the meds.

At the moment she's sleeping peacefully in the sun."

UPDATE 30.5.2010

Di says "Holly has had another good night although with very little weeing so I'm not sure the diuretics are having much effect.  Her breathing is about the same, very laboured.  However, she doesn't seem to know there's anything wrong and she's settled down so well.  She keeps a close eye on Bella and Josie and copies them when anything needs doing, especially queueing for treats and at meal times.  She's eating really well - more M&S chicken :-))   We're dealing with her coat gradually and gently - she seems to love the attention and she probably feels better at having a brush and getting rid of those matted areas.  We also discovered that her bottom was caked in ancient poo and the skin was quite sore but we've sorted that out now.  This morning, for the first time since she's been here, she started to wash her face and paws and she's definitely taking a great interest in what goes on.

You can see in this picture, taken this morning, that she's quite alert and perky.   She's is an adorable girl and every day she's with us will be a bonus."

UPDATE 31.5.2010

Di says "Holly is doing ok - still not weeing enough but she seems quite happy and comfortable.  She's eating well and has just fitted into the doggy routine of the house like she's always been here.  She loves a cuddle and she's getting lots of those as you can imagine :-))    She has a Vet check up tomorrow."

UPDATE 01.06.2010

Di reports "Lady Holly has just returned from the vets where everyone was really pleased to see her :-))   The ACTH stimulation test has shown that she definitely does not have Addisons - indeed, her cortisol levels were slightly raised (instead of being low) but that was down to stress as the bloods were taken only hours after she arrived.

In terms of her heart, he is really pleased that the medication is working to make her more comfortable.  Her pulse amplitude has improved with the Vetmedin which means her heart in under less strain and the fluid is slowly beginning to lessen.  He wants it to go slowly otherwise it could compromise her blood chemistry and cause collapse.  He seemed quite pleased with her especially as she's also eating normally (if you call all that M&S organic chicken normal.  He emphasised that she is in end stage heart failure and nothing can be done to change that - the damage is too far gone and too extensive but his aim is to keep her comfortable for as long as possible.  Once she's reached the end and goes into respiratory distress then it is time for emergency intervention and to say goodbye to her.

Fortunately she seems to have no idea she is ill - she's just settled in as one of the dogs and behaves as they do.   They're both very slow and sleep a lot and so does she :-))  At the moment she's just like a very elderly Goldie who has a bit of difficulty breathing - long may it continue as the whole family love her dearly :-)))     She's got another appointment for ten days time so that feels really optimistic - fingers crossed"

Holly says "I've settled in as you can see.  I chose this bed 'cos it compliments my colouring

luv and kisses Holly xxx  (she is learning to give lovely kisses) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

UPDATE 7.6.2010

Di says "Holly started coughing yesterday evening and we assumed her health was deteriorating and her lungs were filling up again.  After a very sleepless night (for us, not her :-)), we realised that the cough sounded exactly like kennel cough and not like a heart disease cough at all.  She didn't seem to be gasping for breath at all, in fact much of the time she's coughing while she's fast asleep and it doesn't even wake her.   She also has very runny eyes this morning, which is another clear indicator of kennel cough.   Fortunately at the moment she doesn't seem bothered by it at all, she's quite perky and is still eating really well so fingers crossed.     However, the vet has now put her on antibiotics to make sure she doesn't develop a chest infection, which would be lethal for her at this stage, and we are using Cough Bomb which worked wonders for Josie when she came to us just over a year .

Apart from that, Holly is quite happy and settled here, eating well and enjoying the company of the other old girls, especially Bella to whom she's taken a real liking.   They have these Golden Retriever moments where they stand close together and Holly rests her chin on Bella's back :-)))   At the moment, she's in my kitchen scoffing a bowl of chicken and mixer, tail waving furiously.

We love her to bits and, even if she only lives a few more days, we'll all know that we did everything we could for her and that she can go peacefully, with dignity and love."

UPDATE  08.06.2010

Di says "Holly's not doing too bad today - she's enjoying the lemon and honey even though she won't drink it, we have to gently syringe it into her mouth.  When it's in, she slurps happily and licks her lips.  She really doesn't understand about lots of things like that  - she really behaves more like an ex breeding bitch, you wouldn't think she'd been in a domestic setting at all. She has become so attached to the other dogs, she won't eat unless her bowl is beside Bella's and she has to have her bed as close as possible to theirs.   She is such a delight, every day is a bonus and we're making the most of each one."

  UPDATE ON HOLLY 11.6.10 

We've just come back from Holly's vet check up with Glen.  He's very pleased with her because she's responding so well to the medication and is certainly no worse.  She's still on a knife edge and her lungs or heart could fail at any time but as his aim is to give her as much quality life as possible, the fact that two weeks have gone by and she's still here, happy and comfortable, made him give her a big beam. 

She's really perked up over the last few days.  She emptied the toy basket the other day and actually pulled a book off the coffee table to chew.  The poor love runs out of energy before she can do anything else but she clearly has big plans :-))   She loves the other old girls, especially Bella.  They have big goldie moments together where they rub noses and Holly follows Bella everywhere.  That isn't too demanding as Bella can't walk properly because of her very severe spondylosis but it suits Holly's abilities just fine.  They plod into the garden, do a bit of sniffing together and then lay down in the sun or plod back indoors.  Holly insists on having her food bowl as close to Bella's as possible.  Normally we wouldn't have considered feeding a new foster dog so close to the others but Holly insists and neither Bella nor Josie, who is just to the other side of Holly, object or interfere even though Holly's food must be much more interesting than theirs :-)   

Please keep your good thoughts coming for her  - she seems to have generated so much interest, I've had over 60 e mails sending support for her as well as all the Facebook comments.  Doggie people can be so lovely :-)))

luv Di, Rob and girls with special kisses from Holly xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

UPDATE 16.6.2010

I think this video (link below) speaks for itself - Lady Holly is asking for her breakfast. She has also started to demands walks.  The vet said she could probably only manage about 100 yards of slow amble but she wants more so we're very gradually doing a little more each time.  He said a bit more wouldn't do her any harm, she would just run out of energy and lay down and refuse to move  - so we're doing tiny circular walks so that there isn't far to carry her if that happens!!   

Fortunately we live opposite a large cricket field so that sort of walking is comparatively easy.  Josie has a dog buggy so we're getting Holly used to riding in that as well - then she can broaden her horizons without any extra walking. Her cough has stopped now and her breathing is much less laboured.  She's still eating well and her personality is really showing itself now - quite the little madam.  She's absolutely gorgeous.

 Luv Di, Rob and girls xx


Di tells us "We have just had a donation of medication for Holly via our vets from a lovely lady called Mrs Dallimer who, sadly, had to have her St Bernard, Ria put to sleep today. Ria was on the same dose of Vetmedin as Holly and her owner purchased a new supply only a couple of days ago - the seal on the box is not even broken.  Apparently, the law now is such that the vet's practice cannot take drugs back for refund after they've left the premises but, as the seal was still intact, they suggested she might like to donate them and they told her all about Holly.  Vetmedin is one of Holly's more expensive drugs. Mrs Dallimer has just been here to drop off the packet and to meet Holly and the girls." 

We at IRR would like to say a big "thankyou" to Mrs Dallimer for her kindness at such a difficult time and to send her our heartfelt condolences on the loss of her beautiful Ria. 


Amazingly, Holly has now been with us a whole month - we can't believe our luck. She is still responding well to the medication, her breathing isn't any worse and her condition seems to be stable. The fluid retention hasn't continued to decrease after the initial drop but at least it hasn't increased again to the dangerous level it was at when she arrived. She has been finding the current hot weather quite difficult but is very sensible and seeks out cool and shady places.  She is particularly fond of a portable air conditioner we've set up - she sits in front of it until we turn it on, then she settles down happily and sleeps, fur waving gently in the breeze.  She's eating well and occasionally chooses a toy and has a very brief play until her energy runs out.  She adores the other dogs and spends much of her time with one or other of them. She has now discovered that whilst Bella is a gentle, soothing companion, Josie represents fun and naughtiness. Egged on by Josie, Holly now steals and shreds tissues with a mischievous glint in her eye.

At the height of the hot weather, we decided to give Holly a bath. She was very smelly and, as she adores being groomed, we felt it might make her feel good. She loved it! We then gave her a trim and let her dry naturally, which didn't take long in the high temperatures. Now she looks, smells and feels beautiful and looks less like a yak! It feels as though she's always been with us and we forget that she's living on a knife edge.  She's due at the vet's next week - when he said he would see her in a month unless there were problems in the meantime, we never imagined we would actually be able to keep that appointment.  Now it's fingers crossed. Holly is the most beautiful girl, she's gentle and loving but with a hint of mischief and fun. Her medication is costing IRR a great deal of money but the results are clear to see and, for the moment, Holly is a happy, contented girl - and we all love her dearly.

 Luv Di, Rob, Bella, Josie and Holly xxx

UPDATE 6.7.10

Yesterday Holly's condition went downhill very rapidly.  In the early hours of the morning she rushed into the garden and back indoors several times, seeingly completely unaware of her surroundings but no other symptoms.   We sat with her and by about 7 o'clock she had become exceedingly lethargic, wouldn't get up and showed no interest in the other dogs or in breakfast. 

We are aware that she has a history of episodes of this sort, not necessarily connected to her heart condition.  Her behaviour reminded us of one of our previous goldies, the gorgeous Sandy, who had IBS - but there was no evidence on the lawn to confirm that!   We phoned the vet and he asked us to come straight in.  He was extremely concerned about her and said she couldn't last long if she wouldn't eat.  He felt it was possible she had some sort of infection or an electrolyte imbalance because of the hot weather so he took blood to test and gave her a precautionary anti biotic injection. Normally she would have been hospitalised for observation at that point but he felt it would be too stressful for her, given her failing heart, so it was decided we would nurse her at home.  

The blood test results were rushed through but showed no evidence of infection but within a couple of hours she began to try to vomit and appeared to be in great distress.  Then she wobbled outside and produced dramatic evidence of an inflamed gut.  Back to the vet! He gave her an anti vomiting injection and medication for her gut - Sandy had this same medication and it worked wonders for him so we're keeping everything crossed. 

She had a reasonably good night and this morning was demanding her breakfast.  A check up at the vets and another test showed that her blood chemistry was normal so there was nothing more sinister lurking.   We're back to the M&S organic chicken, she's eating well and seems comfortable and happy again.  Another big vet's bill for IRR and a warning for us that what would be a comparatively minor problem for a healthy dog will be life threatening for darling Holly and has to be treated as an emergency.

Rob says "After a run of very hot and humid days, which made Holly quite uncomfortable, today (13.7.10) is cooler and fresher and she seems less lethargic and more perky.  If the forecast can be trusted, the cooler weather is set to continue for a few days, which is a relief to all of us, but especially for our girl Hollypop." 

FEELING GREAT 22.07.2010

Holly went for her vet check up on Tuesday and she seems to have come through the heatwave with flying colours.  Glen was really pleased with her - he said that her current condition was far better than anyone could have hoped for.  Her heart is beating well with a good rhythm, her breathing is more relaxed and the fluid in her tummy has reduced substantially. She has had a couple of minor tummy upsets over the last week so it's clear that her tum is rather sensitive, probably triggered by anything that stresses her body -  possibly all the medication she's on or even the very hot weather.  We're working on the sensitivity with gradual dietary adjustments to find the best food for her - hopefully something a little less expensive than M&S organic chicken!!  Glen did warn us that she could stop responding to the medication at any time but at present she's great and that, unless she deteriorates,  he doesn't want to see her again for two months.   Here's her latest Hollywood Blockbuster. 

Love and kisses from Di, Rob and old girls xxx


Harvey (assisted by Jane) sent Holly a present.  As you can see, she's wearing it with pride. 


Thanks Harvey - kisses from Holly xx


Holly's been here for three months now - not bad for a girl who had only a few days to live if she didn't respond to medication.  She's still doing well and even her tummy is reasonably ok at the moment,  assisted by some Lactosym kindly sent to her by Wendy.  She's had some flower essences from Lynne and her mood has definitely lifted, so much so that she's taken to following Josie round instead of Bella. 

Josie means fun and mischief and Holly likes the idea - she seems to have decided she's going to make the most of the gift of extra time that those lovely people at IRR have given her. She and Josie go on missions together looking for trouble. The other day we caught them coming downstairs side by side looking very guilty.  On checking upstairs we found that great fun had been had with a sheepskin rug and some teddy bears.  The girls assured us that they had no intention of chewing, they just thought the teddies would be happier lying on the floor.  Such thoughtfulness from our golden girls :-))

Luv Di, Rob and the gang



We've just had another generous donation for Holly which should ease the pressure on IRR funds just a little.   Alicia Porter (IRR and Oldies Club fosterer) came over to see us today and has very kindly donated lots of Vetmedin which was left over when her beautiful Shadow died a few weeks ago.   We know how much she misses Shadow and it was so sweet of her to think of Holly.

Many thanks too to Lactosym http://www.lactosym.com/ who are going to donate a 500 ml bottle of Lactosym. Holly has been taking it for some while and it has very successfully kept her tummy under control.


Holly has just been enjoying her birthday party - 9 today and a milestone no one ever thought she'd reach.  She'd like to say a big thank you to everyone at IRR for their love and continued support.   She and her sisters enjoyed their cake, made from Holly's favourite M&S organic chicken.  She's attached a photo so you can all share the party.


Loads of love and kisses from Holly xxxxxxx


Hallo everyone! I thought I'd do my own update this time so they don't miss anything out because loads of things have happened in our family lately. The most important thing is that it's been a whole year since Sandie helped me to get to England and become a forever foster dog. Everyone seems to think it's amazing that I'm still enjoying life - they thought I'd be off to the Bridge very quickly. I'm sure it's a lovely place but at the moment I'm having fun here so I'm staying! My vet is so pleased with me he's even cut down the amount of tablets I have to take which suits me fine 'cos it means less crunchy bits in the cheese spread sandwich.

As I said, lots of things have happened in our family lately, some really horrible and some really good. Last year, just before my birthday a really good thing happened. A little person called a grandson arrived in the family. He doesn't live here but he comes to visit a lot with his mum and dad and we really like each other. He giggles and cheers when he sees me and mum is teaching him to stroke me gently and not grab my fur. He's good fun to be around and has lots of interesting toys for me to examine.

I had a lovely Christmas with loads of presents but not long after Christmas things were very sad. One of my big sisters, Josie went to Rainbow Bridge because she was very ill. We all miss her loads and loads - she was such fun and she was really kind to me when I arrived, showing me round the garden and helping me settle down. Then, only four weeks after that, my other big sister, Bella went to the Bridge to be with Josie. Bella was like a doggy mum to me and was always there for me to cuddle up against if I felt bad. I was so sad and felt really lonely although mum and dad gave me loads of extra cuddles and fuss. They said that they were sure a new sister or brother would come along soon and, although I had to wait quite a few weeks, one day Dad went off in the car and came back with Suki. Suki is absolutely my best friend and I'm not a bit lonely now. We do everything together and she's always leading me into mischief - she has such good ideas for games and fun (mum and dad don't always agree with this!)

This week I had two very special visitors for my one year forever foster day. Sandie came all the way over from Ireland and Lorraine brought her to see me. We had a lovely afternoon together and Suki and I got loads of cuddles and kisses. Then we went for a walk even though it was raining. I showed Sandie how good I was at chasing a ball in the garden and everyone laughed because I didn't bring the ball back - I never do, but why should I when I've got my dad to do it for me.

I've gone on a bit here but I'm so excited to still be here and be sending this message for all those lovely people at IRR. Thank you to everyone who has helped me, raised money for me, sent me good thoughts when I was ill or just smiled when they saw my pictures. I'm a very happy and contented girl and I'm really enjoying my life.

Lots of cuddles and kisses from Holly xxxx

  - AND NOW I AM 10!

Today was my 10th birthday.   Most people didn’t think I’d ever get this far although Auntie Pauline had every faith in me and predicted that I would.  So here I am – 10 years old and still going strong.  I’ve just had a check up with my lovely vet, Glen and he is really pleased with me.

Today has been a very different birthday from last year’s.   Last year I had my two lovely big sisters, Bella and Josie to share my party.   They’re at Rainbow Bridge now but I hope they celebrated anyway.  This year I’ve got my new sister, Suki to join in the fun with me – and boy, do we have fun!  Suki is great at getting us into mischief and although sometimes she gets told off, I never get into trouble as Mum says I may only have a little time left so I can do as I like.  She’s been saying this for ages now but it suits me just fine.    One of our favourite games is to dig holes in the lawn, it’s great fun and we have competitions to see who can kick the mud the furthest.   Suki’s also taught me to play with a ball and to jump around barking when I want something.  For some reason, Mum and Dad think this is great and they just laugh and cuddle us.

The little grandson person was at my party as well.  He’s great to play with especially now that he can crawl very fast.    He shares his toys with me and he drops all sorts of interesting bits of food on the floor.  Being a good, clean dog I just have to clear them up.

Thanks to everyone who sent me happy birthday wishes and to everyone who is still involved with fund raising to pay for all my medication.

  Loads of love from Holly xxxxx


6th October 2012 - And now I'm 11…

It's my 11th birthday today and I'm having a big party to celebrate.  

I'm doing really well – I've just had my check up with Glen, my lovely vet and he says I'm great.  He says I should be the poster girl for the company which makes my medication as I'm doing so well on it. 

I've had a lovely year here.  My sister Suki and I do all sorts of naughty things and its great fun, especially digging in the lawn.  Dad put some decking down one side of the garden in the shade so it was lovely to lay there on hot days and keep cool. 

I've got another sister now so there are three of us.  She's called Bonnie and she's really old and quite wobbly but I love her lots and we always lay together in the evenings, all cuddled up.  Bonnie has her birthday two days after me so we're sharing the party.  

As well as playing with Suki, I really love playing with the grandson person when he visits us.  He can run about now so we have all sorts of adventures together and when he's tired, we flop on the floor together and go to sleep.  

Thank you, IRR people for helping me and giving me all this bonus life. 

Loads of kisses to you all from Holly xxxxxxx

2014 Irish Retriever Rescue