Month: February 2020

Pet bereavement: PPCT creates new online resource

barney pet bereavement

Whatever the circumstances, the loss of a beloved pet can be devastating.

Sometimes, even well-meaning friends can struggle to understand just how profound that grief can be. And, it can be hard to know who to turn to for support.

That’s why Petplan Charitable Trust has created a new resource on our website dedicated to pet loss. Here you’ll find a wealth of useful helplines as well as links to support organisations and other services. Some pet owners have also been kind enough to share their pet bereavement stories in the hope that you may find them helpful.

One such pet owner is Linda. Within the space of a few days, she lost both her mother and her beloved dog, Barney (main image). Here, she shares her moving story.

Barney had been a wonderful dog to me for 16.5 years

“I lost Barney, my 17- year-old rescue border collie/Jack Russell terrier cross (ex Wood Green), Barney, in December, 2011. He had been with me for 16.5 years since he was 6 months old.

Adopted border terrier meg volunteers for Our Special Friends

Linda with her adopted border terrier, Meg

He was suddenly taken seriously ill whilst I was up in Derbyshire with my sister for Christmas. We had to go to the emergency vets in Derby on Boxing Day and waited several hours, as they were understandably very busy. Barney kept collapsing and could not breathe properly. When we were finally seen by the vet, he was found to have fluid on his lungs. There was no hope of saving him, so I had to have him put to sleep. I cannot tell you how upset I was. He had been a wonderful dog to me over all those years. He had seen me through a severe head injury accident and was even allowed to visit me in hospital. Barney was my sole reason for getting better; I had to look after him.

In the space of 10 days I lost my dear dog and my dear mother

“To make matters worse, my elderly Mother was in hospital at the time. I went from the vets to visit her and tell her the news. She was naturally very upset, as she knew Barney very well, too. I left Barney to be cremated and I still have his ashes and collar. My Mother died several days later. She had been due to come home in the first week of January after her 88th birthday on the 2nd Jan but she took a turn for the worse. So, in the space of about 10 days, I lost my dear dog and my dear Mother…

“I had kept a leaflet from Our Special Friends, which I had picked up at a local pet service. I noticed that they provided “Pet Bereavement Services”. At that time, I had no knowledge of Elderly lady with border terrier on lapthis. I didn’t know OSF existed. I rang the lady, Belinda Johnston and she came round to see me. She talked me through things over a couple of hours and was definitely instrumental in helping me come to terms with (not ‘get over’) these losses.”

Volunteering with my dog Meg for Our Special Friends

“After this, I asked if there was anything I could do and she said the charity was looking for volunteers. So, in 2012, I started volunteering, walking a lady’s dog and have carried on since then. What’s more, I also work in the office doing admin on the animal side. I was so grateful for the help I was given and would highly recommend their services to anyone who loses a pet.

“I have since lost a dog and a cat. Now, I only have one dog, Meg, who is also a volunteer for OSF. This is how I met her. I had rung my friend in Yorkshire, who has kennels. We had become great friends during my time living in the same village. I told her about losing Barney and Mother. She advised me she had had an abandoned Border terrier found just before Christmas. She said she was a sweet dog and it was unusual to find an abandoned Border. So, the day after Mother’s funeral, I drove to Yorkshire and collected Meg.”

elderly lady holds border terrier meg on leadMeg has repaid my adoption of her a thousand fold

“I called her Nutmeg, Meg for short. Since then,  she has become a great friend and has been a volunteer for Our Special Friends since 2013. She visited a sick, elderly lady in a care home for 3.5 years. When she died last year, Meg and I visit another elderly lady and take her for a walk. These walks have improved this lady’s mobility hugely . We are still walking round the local park weekly.

“So, following the loss of Barney and Mother, I found Meg and she found me. Meg is doing a lot of good in society and has repaid my adoption of her thousand fold. I have now had her nearly 8 years and she is doing well.”

All images courtesy L Sadler

Are you struggling to cope with pet bereavement? Visit our online resource

PPCT donates £25,000 to Bushfire Appeal

rspca australia helps stricken koala caught in bushfire

Petplan Charitable Trust has donated £25,000 to RSPCA Australia’s National Bushfire Appeal.

No one can fail to be moved by the scale of the disaster which has devastated whole communities and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected.

Over a billion animals – both wild animals and domestic pets – are believed to have died in the catastrophic fires. RSPCA Australia is co-ordinating a vast operation across the affected areas to rescue stricken animals.

koala play pens donated to rspca australia's bushfire appeal

The rescue teams face an enormous task and it is a testament to their tireless dedication that countless animals such as these koalas have been given a second chance. The PPCT donation to the National Bushfire Appeal will go towards much-needed equipment, supplies, care and boarding.

‘I do not think there is any animal lover who can have watched the footage of the plight of the animals in Australia has not been affected,’ commented David Simpson, the Trust’s chairman.

‘Especially knowing that what we see on our screens are merely snapshots and can’t convey the true horror and scale of the tragedy. Our small contribution can hopefully be put to good use and show those charities, organisations and volunteers selflessly helping the animals that they are supported around the world. Without the generosity of Petplan customers, this donation would not be possible.’

giving a kangaroo joey water

Discover more about RSPCA Australia and the incredible work they’re doing.

Read more news stories

Images courtesy RSPCA Australia

How a PTSD assistance dog changed veteran Kerry’s life

service dogs uk assistance spaniel bert with ptsd sufferer kerry

An assistance dog trained and provided by Service Dogs UK has changed the life of a woman suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

service dogs uk logoAssistance dog, Bert, first went home with veteran, Kerry, in August but she says it feels like he’s been with her for far longer.

Service Dogs UK completely understood everything I was going through. Bert has changed everything for me and my family.”

Although desperate for help, Kerry was initially sceptical that a dog would be able to make a real difference: “Little did I know the huge impact it has,” she says.

Service Dogs UK was set up in 2015 by Garry Botterill and Judith Broug. Petplan Charitable Trust has supported the charity from its earliest days with grants totalling £25,000. The charity works with PTSD sufferers from the Armed Forces and Emergency Services (including Coast Guard, RNLI and UKSAR). The dogs are all carefully selected rescue dogs trained specifically for key PTSD symptoms including nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety and medication reminders. These four-legged friends bring new hope to veterans who have often struggled to find a solution that works for them.

Tangible benefits include reduced anxiety and lower blood pressure, a decrease in the amount of pain medications needed,  a decrease in depression and an increase in a positive sense of purpose.

Find out more about Service Dogs UK and Kerry’s story, here.

Read more news stories

Mayhew targets suspected puppy farms with PPCT grant

cyril the dog is cared for at mayhew charity

Animal welfare charity, Mayhew, is using a grant from Petplan Charitable Trust to rescue and improve the welfare of animals at suspected puppy farms.

mayhew logo“Thank you so much to the Petplan Charitable Trust for their generous grants over several years,” says Mayhew’s Louise Cordery.

“Their unwavering dedication to animal welfare has helped us to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome thousands of cats and dogs that come through our doors. Most recently, the Trust has enabled us to save and improve the lives of hundreds of dogs who have been subjected to the cruelty of suspected puppy farms.”

The Trust has supported Mayhew with 11 grants since 2001. The most recent was £17,000 in 2019.

mayhew vets help cyril the dogCyril had deep wounds and heavily matter fur

One little chap to benefit from the charity’s care is Cyril. He came to Mayhew after being kept in poor conditions on a puppy farm. He was suffering from deep wounds and his fur was in a terrible state.

What’s more, he had missing teeth after being used for breeding and as a bait dog. Mayhew vets treated Cyril’s wounds and gave him a full health and dental check.

Sadly, the team also spotted that Cyril was showing signs of psychological trauma. This included walking in tight circles which indicated that he had been confined to a small area. He was also possessive of food and toys, a sign that he had suffered mistreatment and neglect over a long period.

cyril the dog rescued by mayhew from puppy farm

A friendly and playful personality

“We started a rehabilitation programme and gradually Cyril began to trust more,” continues Cordery. “He started to reveal a friendly, playful personality. Before being ready for adoption, Cyril was neutered and his matted fur was completely shaved off to remove any discomfort or irritation. Cyril could then start a new life with nothing to remind him of his past traumas, and he’s now hunting for his perfect family!”

Find out more about the Mayhew, here.

Read how a Trust grant is helping Benson the Staffordshire bull terrier, here