Beloved pets enrich our lives at any age

As it’s been a while since my last contribution to this column, I thought I would give an update on what’s happening with my search for an ex­-racehorse.

It’s now a year since Piccolo Pete died and I still haven’t found a replacement, although I have begun to look in earnest, missing the showing and competing.

I’ve seen some lovely ex-­racehorses looking for good homes. I haven’t found a replacement, but have found homes for some of them with clients.

There seems to be an increasing interest in ex­-racehorses, with people realising they have the potential to fulfil many disciplines.

To fill the void, I have taken a rescue cob from the British Horse Society, which, like the RSPCA, is inundated with abandoned horses and ponies. I first met this pony when I went to castrate him. He was so wild we had to herd him into a corner to inject him. When I returned two months later to passport and microchip him, his quiet, loving nature had come to the fore and I fell for him.

Brian is now installed at my stables and has settled in without any hassle. The long-term plan is that he will make a ride-and-drive pony for my niece and nephew, although he’ll be staying a while as he’s only just over a year old.

He has helped to fill the gap left by Piccolo Pete. I was reminded of this when one of my friends rang to say they had a lovely couple, who were clients of mine, buying a puppy.

This couple in their late 80s had their beloved dog put to sleep two weeks ago at 14 years old. They had re-homed him when he was six and had given him eight loving years. I’d phoned them to say I would call to see them, but was told in no uncertain terms that although they would be delighted to see me, at their time of life they did not want me to take a dog for them.

Imagine my surprise when the same couple were buying a Chihuahua-cross nine-week-old puppy. I went to meet them and their joy at getting another dog was overwhelming. Their daughter was allowed to name the puppy as if anything happens to them she will take Barney.

They couldn’t cope in the house without a dog and I’m so pleased they’ve got another pet to shower with love. It made my day to see them so happy and served as a reminder that no matter how old we are, having animals in our lives only serves to enrich them, and I’m thankful that Brian is filling a part of the gap that was left in mine a year ago.


Director and Senior Vet