Every dog who comes under the care of IRR is special.

Hugo was not “more special’, but in his short life he became both a symbol of, and
an ambassador for, IRR dogs present and future who need IRR’s ongoing
support with treatment.

Hugo was surrendered to IRR’s care in April 2012. He was two and a half years
old, a happy, bouncy dog, born with a head deformity which affected the way
his brain developed and caused him to have some disabilities, but this never stopped
him living life to the full.

Hugo’s physical appearance, the way he managed his disabilities and his charming
and mischievous character drew people to him. He touched people’s hearts, raising
awareness of IRR with every encounter.

Because he took medication and needed regular monitoring, Hugo became a much
loved client at the vets. Even now he is still remembered. Only recently one of the
team presented IRR with hand made products to sell on IRR’s auction page.

One of the reasons Hugo is still remembered at the vets is that, as well as his influence
on people, he had an amazingly calming influence on other animals, small and large.

At home Hugo loved being part of a pack, and became a great teacher. He couldn’t
hold a ball in his mouth for very long, so he taught himself to bounce the ball.
This meant he could breathe in when he dropped the ball and then pick it up
and run with it while he breathed out. The rest of the pack followed suit, and although Hugo
has been gone for a long time in dog years, the bouncing ball game lives on. The
sound of one of the dogs bouncing a ball will always remind us of Hugo – as if we
could ever forget him!

Hugo died very suddenly on 23rd of February 2013. In his ten months in IRR’s
care he had a massive influence: sealing the marriage of one of the IRR team;
transforming peoples’ beliefs about how, with the right support and understanding,
quality of life is always possible; giving hope to people he never actually met, but
who joined him on his own Facebook page; raising vital funds for IRR to enable
more lives to be saved, and deciding to swim to Holland during an IRR reunion in
Norfolk, enticing fosterers into the sea, fully clothed, to coax him back to the beach.

Hugo: born a dog on 25th October 2009 and died an IRR hero on 23rd February 2013.

2016 Irish Retriever Rescue