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19th Jun 2023

Free tennis balls left on beach to honour the ‘goodest of good boys’

Steve Hopkins

‘It was my way of having one last beach day with my once-in-a-lifetime dog’

A dog owner has made a touching gesture to honour his late best mate, a golden retriever called Rex.

Jason Dunne left a box of free tennis balls at Exmouth Beach for dog owners to help themselves, and as a way of having one last walk with his four-legged friend.

A note next to the box, shared on Twitter by Devon County Council last week, read: “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. The goodest of good boys.”

The council called it a “lovely gesture” and it sure hit home with other Twitter users and dog owners.

One person commented: “Stuff like this. Gets to me every single time. Run Free Rex. Run free.”

Another wrote: “I’m not crying, you’re crying. On my way to scoop up my own favourite blonde boy to take him to the beach.”

Conservative MP for East Devon Simon Jupp said: “This is truly heartwarming.”

Dunne told East Devon News that Rex died earlier this month and was well known at the beach.

He said of his free balls gesture: “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.”

Dunne hoped his gift would help bring the community together.

“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.”

He added to the East Devon News: “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.”

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