Grieving Great Dane owner donates huge dog’s body to Royal Veterinary College
The thought of not having our dogs around is utterly heartbreaking – it's something we couldn't even bear to imagine.
But with their life spans considerably less than ours, at some point that is a reality, we will have to contend with.
And while it is devastating, some owners decide to use that painful time for the good of other animals by donating their dog's body for research.
That is exactly what Barnaby's owner, Sharon Rose, did when she sadly lost her beloved Great Dane.
Sharon and her husband have been giving a home to Great Danes since 1972, with Barnaby being their eighth. He was the biggest of their dogs, weighing in at a whopping 87kg.
Sadly, Barnaby had lost his fight with GDV – aka bloat – earlier last month. He was nearly four years old.
Sharon said: "To say that I am devastated is an understatement.
"My heart has been broken. I know it sounds dramatic, it doesn't matter how many dogs you've had, it always is hard and it just gets harder."
Although only around for a few short years, Barnaby made quite the impact on Sharon. She described him as loud, friendly and a lover of people.
Describing their bond, Sharon said: "He idolised me. He loved my husband but he was mine, all our dogs are mine.
"He was amazing, his recall was amazing. He would come back from anywhere if I called him…he couldn't do anything enough for me.
"He loved people, as all Great Danes do. He was a clown and he looked big and maybe scary, but all he wanted was hugs and a fuss and to be played with."
Barnaby lived a full life, he was a regular on the small screen and had also placed third in his class at Crufts.
In fact, throughout her time owning the giant breed, Sharon's dogs have taken her to some fantastic places and meant rubbing shoulders with a few celebrities.
She said: "Do you know anyone's dog who goes to The Savoy Hotel?
"That's the sort of places our dogs take us to. I mean, obviously we've been to parks and everything like that, but they had an amazing social life."
Sharon and her dogs have also been involved in various charity events, doing their bit to give back. And wanting to do her bit for other animals, Sharon decided to donate Barnaby's body to the Royal Veterinary College.
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This is not the first time the animal lover has donated her dogs' bodies, she has previously done this with two of her dogs, although Barnaby is the first to go to the Royal Veterinary College.
She said: "Everyone grieves for their animals in different ways. Some people may find it comforting that they've got the dog buried in a garden, or they've got the ashes, and they keep those.
"That isn't us. To me, a dog's body when they die, their spirit like ours goes, hopefully, to a better place and it's just the shell that's left. So, I've never had any ashes back after any of our animals have died."
On why donating Barnaby was important to her, Sharon said: "Because in their lives, they give so much to people.
"If I say I don't want the ashes back, they're sort of thrown in the rubbish heap, their bodies are useless.
"This way they might find something, if it was bloat for example and they find something they didn't know, it could save hundreds of dogs down the line, or thousands.
She added: "I think if instead of being thrown in the dustbin, it's helping what could be my next dog. And even if it's not to find a cure, it might be training other vets."
Barnaby was also a blood donor for the Royal Veterinary College.
While Sharon is clearly a big fan of Great Danes, it's not a breed she ever imagined she'd own.
"We never ever expected to own the Great Dane," said Sharon.
"But I'm so pleased that they're part of my life."
Barnaby leaves behind Great Dane Brooke, but it doesn't sound like he'll be her only dog for too long.
For more heartwarming canine stories head to the TeamDogs website.
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