Ollie Byrne R.I.P. and the Friendship of Pets

August 31, 2007 at 1:00 am 8 comments

I was going to write a piece today about the late Ollie Byrne, owner of Shelbourne football club. And this is it, but in a roundabout way, because one of our cats is spending the night on a drip in the vets. We found her yesterday in the front garden with blood on her face and paws, and what seemed to be a broken hip, with another of our cats standing loyally on guard beside her. Raisa is an elderly cat, seventeen years old, so the vet has taken blood tests to figure out if she will even survive trying to heal her leg. Now here is the Ollie Byrne connection. >>>

Boris, our ginger cat who was standing guard beside the injured Raisa in the front garden yesterday, had his own adventure last December. He got lost for over a month, and we put posters all around Drumcondra. Ollie Byrne saw one of the posters, and rang us to say that he had seen Boris on the wall of Tolka Park. He invited us down to the ground, spent almost an hour in the rain helping us to search for Boris, and got the house next door opened so we could check the back garden.

This was early January 2007, just weeks before Ollie Byrne went into hospital with the illness that killed him. He helped us to find our cat while his life’s work and his health were both on the verge of collapse. As we searched through Tolka Park, Ollie took a few phone calls and told them that he was busy and would call back. And he told us that he had a pet of his own for many years, a dog who he loved, who had died over Christmas.

Now obviously the loss of his pet dog did not kill Ollie Byrne, but he must have missed his friendship during a very stressful time, and during that time he made it a priority to help to find another lost pet. It is an appropriate coincidence that, on the day Ollie Byrne was buried, the cat that he helped to find was standing guard to help another injured cat. Pet owners will understand what I am saying. And we should know sometime today whether Raisa will survive.

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Entry filed under: Ireland.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Twenty Major  |  August 31, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Any idea what happened to her? A fight with a dog or a clip of a car?

    Reply
  • 2. Michael Nugent  |  August 31, 2007 at 10:34 am

    It’s hard to tell until the vet can examine her today. But cats can be very resilient. Another of our cats was hit by a car a few years ago, and had a broken hip, concussion and serious internal injuries. While in that state he made his way home, climbed over the back wall, came in through the cat-flap and climbed the stairs to get to the shoe-box that he sleeps in. He survived after an operation and is still alive. The problem with Raisa is that she’s much older, so I don’t know how it will go.

    Reply
  • 3. Tinyplanet » Links of the day  |  August 31, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    […] you’re not moved by this you have no heart: Ollie Byrne RIP and the friendship of pets. How the late owner of Shelbourne FC ditched everything one January night to help somebody find […]

    Reply
  • 4. Michael Nugent  |  September 3, 2007 at 12:42 am

    As an update, Raisa survived her operation and she is spending this week in the vets recuperating.

    Reply
  • 5. Twenty Major  |  September 3, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Good stuff. Did they figure out what happened?

    Reply
  • 6. Michael Nugent  |  September 6, 2007 at 1:25 am

    No, but it looks less likely that she was hit by a car, and more likely that she fell clumsily from a high wall or was hit by something or someone less heavy than a car. Her hip was dislocated and she banged her head. It was exacerbated by her age – she is seventeen, which is about a million in adult years.

    Reply
  • 7. Bernard Brennan  |  September 21, 2007 at 2:14 am

    Hello.

    I just wanted to say that this is a lovely story. I want to say thank you for writing it.

    I am Ollie’s oldest nephew and I now live in America and I just today received a dvd from TV3 of their coverage of Ollie’s death and his funeral.

    I was feeling sad and then I found this story. It made me smile and I am not surprised at all. Ollie loved animals and children and he was amazing with them.

    Thank you so much

    Bernard Brennan

    Reply
  • 8. walshie  |  February 19, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Hey there,

    Just read this blog. That sounds like Ollie right down to the tee. God rest him, he was some man.

    Reply

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A blog by Michael Nugent

Welcome to my blog about living in the maddest country on earth. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohemians football club in the 1970s.

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Bionic Bohs

As mentioned above, if you like Irish football and/or cultural nostalgia, I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohs in the 1970s.

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