Double tragedy struck Mary Boyle and her family on Sunday (July 26) as a fire broke out in their home which was abruptly followed by the news that their “funny” and “lovable” little dog Milo, a four year old Chihuahua/Jack Russell cross, had been knocked down and killed when he’d slipped out of the house during the commotion.

“We were, and are, totally stunned and the tears are never far away at the moment,” a devastated Mary told The Impartial Reporter the day following Milo’s death.

Recalling the incident, Mary said: “There was a fire in my house, so things were fairly chaotic. Later on, when we were trying to assess the damage to the room concerned, he must have slipped out unnoticed. Minutes later the doorbell rang. My son went to answer and I followed. He turned to me and said, ‘Milo’s dead’ I remember shouting, ‘No no!’ It was unbelievable - minutes before he’d been prancing round and suddenly he’s gone.”

Milo came to the Boyle family in January following the death of their little mongrel of 17 years.

“Milo’s history was rather chequered and really quite sad. His first owner died and Milo was alone with him for two weeks. From there, he was advertised on Gumtree, then rescued, then returned to Gumtree, rescued again, taken to live in Belfast, where circumstance again warranted that he found himself, yet again, on Gumtree. So finally he was rescued by us,” shared Mary.

Describing Milo as a “boisterous little man, full of boundless energy”, Mary added: “Both myself and my husband were not really able for long energetic walking so enter Joanne Burns and friend Marion. It was obvious Milo needed a deal of exercise and that he got from the girls whom I can’t praise highly enough. They loved him as we did. Then came Covid and a good friend of mine took over for a while. She took him several times a week and he played with her little spaniel. He interacted very well with other dogs and was happy to enjoy their company.We grew to love him dearly. Indeed it was hard not to! He was funny, bright, lovable and more than repaid the love he was shown by his devotion.”

“That little bundle of fun who had brought us so much joy should have had many years ahead after such a rocky start to his life. The reminders are everywhere - basket, a multitude of balls (his greatest love), his bowl, his blanket, his lead, his collar and name tag. The sense of loss is immense. He was, in a relatively short time, so much a part of our family and the only comfort is knowing he died instantly and didn’t suffer. He was just such a vital little dog, with such character,” Mary told this newspaper.