So glad to have met you……and time to say goodbye


presents I was a happy, fit 2 year old Golden Retriever. The amputation of my right leg (July 2014) was due to a cyst in the bone that “exploded”.  I got the “all clear” from Cancer, 2 weeks after the operation, that was done by Noel Fitzpatrick.  The bone in my leg had crumbled away and he was not able to fit a prosthetic.

I got fitter and fitter since then and could go for very long walks and be fine. I have fantastic balance, maybe due to the removal of the scapula as well, which would have weighed me down, can play with all the doggy friends, run like the wind, climb stairs, jump into the car, roll around on the grass and in fact there are no limitations.

Now I have a confession, I was addicted to tennis balls, soft rubber balls and rubber gloves. Mum and Dad have tried and tried to stop these habits, succeeded most of the time but sometimes I am just too fast.  I didn’t try and eat all tennis balls some I will just give up, but some of them are just so good I crack them with my back teeth and swallow them as quickly as possible.  Mum and Dad won’t give me any of these but I can search them out from a long way off, when out on a walk.  I have a very good sense of smell.

beachIn November we had a fabulous holiday on the Suffolk coast, I just loved the beach and the sea. Mum said it was probably because I was born near the sea; and I just loved the smell as a puppy.

Before we went, I found a treasure chest of old tennis balls in the hedge when out for a walk.  There were dozens and I went in immediately dispite what mum yelled.  She had to come in after me that was awful for her and guide me out.  Some of them were really old and moldy!  Anyway I just passed them through but a few weeks later, in December,  I got another that made me sick, so off I went to the vet.  They said my temperature was abnormmaly high and going for a scan , the vet found I had a large Haemangiosarcoma in my spleen and it was removed later that day.  I got out of doggy hospital quickly and bounced back well, in fact I was grinning for days and very happy again.

Everyone was home for Christmas, all my human brothers and sisters too; it was great andhomeforchristmas I had a few fabulous days.  Over new year it all went wrong, I was happy and content to see everyone, but very very tired and just had to say goodbye to everyone and thank them for a fabulous 2 years.   Tetley and Ralph were on hand to welcome me to doggy heaven.  I might have only been around for 2 years but that was my journey and I just loved all the joy and inspiration I gave to people and dogs I met.  I remember one little boy shouting at dad, on the beach “that’s amazing, hey mister, how does he run on 3 legs”.   I just grinned with pride and gratitude for the messages I gave freely to all those around me.

Mum suspects I may have poisoned myself, with those tennis balls that could have affected my immune system. She has done a flyer to warn other dog owners and I would like to say that eating them really isn’t a good idea, so please safely dispose of any broken tennis balls as soon as possible, some contain high levels of toxins such as lead and arsenic.  See   for more information.

Lots of love, Herbie, The legend  xxxxx (doggy ones)


About olivehickmott

I am a Forensic Learning coach, showing people how they can improve their own learning and change their health. Working with creative neurodivergent students is a joy, as they learn new skills to overcome many of their learning challenges.
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6 Responses to So glad to have met you……and time to say goodbye

  1. Jane says:

    Oh Olive, I’m so sorry to hear that Herbie has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Big hugs to you all xxx

  2. Julia Hickmott says:

    So sad to hear about Herbie and what a wonderful story of his short life. He was obviously quite a character and will be missed by you all but as you say I am sure he will be happy joining Tetley and Ralph.

    Much love


  3. steph drake says:

    Olive – I’m so sorry – Herbie was an inspiration and as humans we can learn a lot from him. Feel honoured that he graced your life, albeit for such a short time and be proud that you gave him a wonderful life. Thinking of you all.

  4. David Ian Cleland says:

    Hi Olive,

    So sorry to hear about Herbie. It brought a smile to my face thinking of him with Tetley and Ralph and all of the other buddies over the rainbow – way up high.

    Best wishes,


    David Cleland

    Specialist Trainer Diverse Learners

    Mobile: 07734 420412 Skype username: diverse-learners-David LinkedIn: Twitter: @davidiancleland Twitter: @diverselearners

  5. Caroline Chandler says:

    Dear Olive and Ivan, we are so shocked and sad to hear about the very sad loss of Herbie, he was indeed an inspiration for all. He will be sadly missed. Caroline, Milly and Alfie and
    the gang x

  6. Thank you all for your responses, we have had such lovely messages. He was a star to everyone he met and will live in our hearts for ever.

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