Pawprints left behind on the heart of a grieving dog dad in Exmouth prompted an emotional beach ball tribute to his beloved pet.
Lumps formed in the throats of strangers, and tears were quietly wiped away, when beach-goers and dog walkers stopped in their tracks, spotting a lone box of tennis balls left on the wall overlooking the sea, in memory of Labrador Rex, ‘the goodest of good boys’.
Owner Jason Dunne this week left Rex’s tennis balls for other dogs to enjoy, explaining the gift was his way of having a last walk with his best friend, who died earlier this month.
He said: “It was my way of having one last beach day with my once-in-a-lifetime dog who literally changed our lives for the better in so many ways.
“I’ve met so many people on walks over our 14 years together and I couldn’t tell you their names, but I could name their dogs and they all knew Rex’s name.”
Jason, who is ‘reeling’ at the death of his dog, said Rex would be remembered in Exmouth for his toy giveaway bringing the community together.
He urged people to hug their pets, channel the kindness sparked by his dog, and ‘be more Rex’.
Jason said his family has found solace in the scores of heartfelt messages of sympathy sent by other pet owners, prompted to get in touch to offer their condolences after a beach-goer posted a photo of the box of balls on social media.
Jason said: “Rex did that. Rex loved people, Rex loved all the dogs, Rex loved life. He’s brought out the best in this community and it’s been amazing.
“The messages from other people who have lost their pets, and from people with pups at the very beginning of their adventure together, has moved us and we find real comfort in that.
“Exmouth came together in kindness. That’s his legacy. Hug your pets. Be more Rex.”
Alongside the box of toys left by Jason was a heartfelt eulogy, paying tribute to ‘ginger Prince’ Rex.
Next to a photograph of a smiling Rex, was written:
“The goodest of good boys
“Rex loved the beach
“Rex loved the ball
“Please feel free to take a ball for your dog and I hope you all enjoy this place as much as we did.
“Rex – sleep well my ginger Prince”.