‘I’m not barking — Rex deserved a fitting send-off’

It was a send-off fitting for... well... a pensioner’s best friend.

Devoted dog lover Chris Birmingham-Doody was so fond of her canine companion that, for 24 hours after he died, she put him lying in state — on her kitchen table.

In what was as close as any dog will ever come to a state funeral, the pensioner laid out her beloved Rex on his favourite red cushions at her family home in Castleisland, Co Kerry.

Pet-mad Chris claims she found Rex tied to the front gate of her terraced home at Desmond’s Avenue in 1984, meaning the crossbreed may have lived to an amazing 28.

But when Rex finally succumbed to old age this week, his heartbroken pensioner owner decided to give him the send-off he deserved.

The dog was waked on the kitchen table overnight before Chris said a tearful final goodbye and lovingly wrapped the animal in a blanket and put him in a box before holding a ceremonial burial in the back garden.

Widow Chris, who affectionately referred to Rex as her “old man”, said he has been constantly by her side since she found him outside her house all those years ago.

A local who was aware of Chris’s love for animals left him there secure in the knowledge that the dog would be well looked after.

“He’s here with me ever since. I’ll miss him so much now,” sighed Chris, whose barking buddy was a very familiar sight in the town for almost three decades.

She said Rex enjoyed such a long life because he was greatly loved and so well looked after.

She supplemented his food with cod liver oil and garlic tablets every day of the week and ensured he was fed before she was every day.

Asked if she was following a similarly healthy diet, Chris quipped: “I do in my arse, because I couldn’t afford it. I’d go hungry before I’d leave him go short of anything.”

The compassionate Kerry woman has turned her home into an unofficial animal sanctuary over the years, and she currently cares for no less than 15 dogs, 13 cats, three budgies and eight ducks.

Photographs of her animal friends adorn the walls of her home but pride of place goes to her beloved Rex, who she hopes is now living it up in the great kennel in the sky.

But, as she clings to a photograph of her faithful pal and his favourite toy, she acknowledges that not a minute passes that she doesn’t miss him or think about him.


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