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Last vestige of Alex's life with George Best gone as dog they loved passes away

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 27/10/2015

Rua with Alex and George
Rua with Alex and George
Rua the red setter

Alex Best is mourning the loss of a beloved pet dog she shared with her former husband George.

Rua, the 14-year-old red setter, was put to sleep yesterday after becoming increasingly frail and incapacitated.

Belfast-born football legend George and his ex-wife owned two setters during their marriage.

The first one, Red, was acquired while they lived on the Co Down coast at Portavogie.

Alex told the Belfast Telegraph: "He (Rua) was the last of my boys to go.

"George has pinched them and taken him to the skies. It gives me some comfort to think that.

"I lost Red in 2011. George and I got our dogs Red and Rua together, they were part of our family and now I'm the only one left standing.

"Nothing can replace a dog's love, that's the hard thing. But these horrible things happen. It's heartbreaking."

The couple, who divorced 18 months before George died at the age of 59 from alcoholism on November 25, 2005, got Red when they lived in Portavogie, where they lived for two years.

Alex was George's second wife after Angie, the mother of George's son Calum.

The 43-year-old former reality television star described her time with the Man United and Northern Ireland star in Co Down "as the best years of my life".

"Red grew up in Portavogie," she added.

"He was the local celebrity dog. He used to get bones from every single butcher's shop.

"Red was allowed to go in everywhere and was really spoiled by everyone.

"We got Rua a few years later when we returned to live in England.

"Rua was the last piece of my life that I had with George. You try and think that he will be fine, and then sometimes you feel selfish wanting to keep them alive for so long, but it was the best for him in the end."

The loss of the much-loved pet was made even more poignant by the fact that the 10th anniversary of George's death is next month.

Alex said: "Losing George was absolutely heartbreaking, so heartbreaking, and the time since has gone so quickly.

"Those two dogs where like my support system. Those two were part of him, as we bought them together and loved them together - they were like our babies.

"It's the last of the little family we had."

However, some good news is on the cards for the lifelong dog owner, for a new red setter puppy is on its way to Alex.

She said: "Knowing I would lose Rua sooner rather than later, I decided to get a new red setter puppy, Finn, which is coming to me at the end of November.

"Even if Rua had have been able to last, he would have loved the new little one coming to live with us."

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