It’s not everyday an entire community comes together to mourn the loss of a four-legged-friend.
But Blue the Rough Collie (Lassie dog) was special to one Wigan village, residents of which are remembering “the best dog” after his death this week.
Hundreds of people have paid tribute to friendly Blue who was a familiar face on the streets of Golborne.
Having lived in the village since 2004, 15-year-old Blue had become somewhat of a local hero and his death has hit people of all ages.
Sonya Smithjones, whose father-in-law Ian was Blue’s owner, took to social media to share the sad news of his passing - a post which sparked a remarkable reaction.
In a local community page, she said: “I hope you don’t mind me posting this but my father in law, who lives on Lowton Road, his dog passed away today.
“He was well known throughout the community. Blue the lassie dog 2004 - 2019. The best dog . Rest in peace.”
Speaking to Wigan Today she spoke about Blue's impact on Ian and the family, saying: "Blue has always been a working dog and Ian lived on a farm as a child.
"The bond between them was something real special.
"He never needed a lead or ran off. He was super human and he loved Ian.
"Blue loved his community and especially family time like Christmas. He was really poorly over Christmas, we didn't think he would make it and the kids turned up and he got a second wind and was fighting again.
"Blue went into the garden to pass away sadly on Tuesday morning . He will be known as Blue the legend lassie dog of Golborne ."
Almost immediately after the post went on Facebook, Golborne residents flooded the post with heartfelt tributes to Blue.
Danielle Biggs wrote: “So sorry to read this, the most loyal dog I’ve ever met.
“He really has been the furniture of Lowton Road for so many years, run free sweet boy".
Andrea Cassidy added: “We have seen him nearly every day since moving here in 2006. I told my children last night they are so upset.
“We always looked out for him and when we hadn’t seen him for a few days the kids used to be so relieved when we saw him ‘he’s there he’s there’.
“Some tears were shed in our house last night,
“Beautiful dog, he was a credit to his owner will sorely miss seeing him.”
Dozens of people commented on Blue’s “lovely” temperament and explained how they would always see him sat obediently at the front of his owner’s house.
“I always drive past and see him too and live just across the road on the new estate,” said Laura Sinclair.
“How sad, so sorry for your loss, he looked like a lovely dog.” Blue, who has been described as a “much loved member of the community”, touched so many hearts that Sonya’s post was shared 150 times and gained almost 200 comments.
Angelina McCaffery wrote: “Drove past this little man every day for years either on my way to the farm or to work.
“Bless him always smiling at people going by outside his house.”