Tag: news

Memorialising our pets: how poems can help us mourn and remember

remembering a beloved pet - the poetry of mary oliver

Poetry – our own or others’, it doesn’t matter – is such a powerful way to express anguish and to mourn and remember the dead.

In the last post, I said we’d come back to the poet Mary Oliver. Afterwards, I remembered that she was a dog-lover. Here at the Trust website, we don’t intend to leave cats and other critters out of the mix! And we won’t. But Oliver was also an outstanding poet who wrote honestly and hopefully about the natural world and everything and everyone in it. If you’re interested, try her Wild Geese which she reads here

A ready-made family in Nature

Her point that we have a ready-made family in Nature makes such sense to me when it comes to our pets. The dear old black dog up the road was a prime example. He was such a joyful, welcoming soul. If he saw you on a walk, he’d come lolloping over stiffly from afar, with a windmilling tail. I just learned that he died recently. He had lived 12 years and had a fine dog’s life. I shall miss his happy presence, as his people surely do.

It turns out that a retired scholar writes memorials in Latin for deceased pets and gives the translations. Things like:

  • Weep for my misfortune all dog lovers, Russell has died, the darling of our home […]

And

  • […] Be happy among the shades, you well-loved cat […]

How’s that for flowery language – and why not? Immense loss sometimes calls for nothing less.

Heart-rending honesty and beauty

Other poets express their love of animals and sense of loss differently, but with heart-rending honesty and beauty. This poem by Gavin Ewart about his own cat says it all. And elsewhere on the Trust site, you may have seen the poem about a dog called Major written by his  grieving owner. You can read his tribute here.

The Rainbow Bridge piece is another winner and well-known to most of us. And, Mary Oliver also expressed her feelings about her dogs. Her collection Dog Songs says lots of lovely things. In The First Time Percy Came Back, she ponders the mystery of death, in a dream she had about a beloved dog, now dead. Here she is, reading it.

But, back to you…

These days of coronavirus are such strange and sad times for us humans. The demands of lockdown make the pains of any bereavement all the harsher.

To contain our grief for our pets out of respect for those bereaved by Covid-19 – and for the frontline workers who have died from it – shows great solidarity and generosity of heart. That does not make it easy. It is not, especially if we don’t have the space or privacy we need to express our own grief.

Caroline Hewson

 

Author: Caroline Hewson MRCVS
Caroline Hewson is a vet and has a PhD in animal behaviour. She writes and gives talks that translate research relevant to pets’ end of life into points to keep in mind. 

 

Read more posts from The Pet Loss Blog

If you are coping with the loss of your dog, cat or any animal companion, the Trust’s Bereavement pages are here to support you. And, if you have a poem or epitaph for a pet that you would like to share, don’t hesitate to post it on our Facebook page.

Animal Rescue Live viewers donate over half a million pounds to PPCT

animal rescue live greyhound trust

Petplan Charitable Trust was delighted to be selected as the nominated charity for Channel 4’s fundraiser, Animal Rescue Live, in August 2019.

But, the Trust had no idea that several months later it would be in a position to award grants to 141 charities totalling well over half a million pounds.

An incredible £548,995 was donated over the course of the 5 days the programme aired. This was further boosted by those who donated under Gift Aid, resulting in a total of £607,317 to donate to worthy causes.

As you can imagine, the awarding committee had a hard job deciding. They felt that, in the spirit of the programme, it was best to spread the funds available widely to help as many charities as possible.

As a consequence, we are delighted to announce that the entire £607,317 will be distributed to a total of 141 charities. No grant was larger than £8,250 and 10% of the charities received the full amount they had asked for.

Covid-19 Update: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic many of the successful charities and shelters are now facing unprecedented financial hardship. As such, Channel 4 and the Petplan Charitable Trust, who administered the fund, have decided to relax the rules on how the money is spent to allow the charities to use the funds for running costs and staffing as this is in the best interests of the animals they care for.

Here is the list in full:

Charity Name Amount Granted
British Hen Welfare Trust £8,625
Angels Small Paws Dog Rescue £8,000
Animal Krackers Limited £8,000
Animals In Distress Torbay £8,000
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home £8,000
Blue Cross £8,000
Danaher Animal Home £8,000
Dogs Trust Islington £8,000
Greyhound Trust £8,000
Margaret Green Animal Rescu £8,000
Newcastle Dog & Cat Shelter £8,000
People For Animal Care Trust £8,000
Rain Rescue £8,000
Raystede £8,000
Scottish S P C A £8,000
The Animal Rescue Charity £8,000
The Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary £8,000
The Scratching Post £8,000
Thornberry Animal Sanctuary £8,000
Abandoned Animals Association £8,000
Hope Rescue £7,600
Cheltenham Animal Shelter £6,800
B.A.R.K. £6,400
The Mayhew Animal Home £6,400
Cheshire Dogs Home £6,125
Alexa’S Animals £6,111
RSPCA Radcliffe Trust £6,000
Borders Pet Rescue £6,000
Broken Biscuits £6,000
Celia Hammond Animal Trust £6,000
Dbarc £6,000
Ferne Animal Sanctuary £6,000
Friends Of Animals League £6,000
Happy Endings £6,000
Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary £6,000
K9 Crusaders Dog Welfare £6,000
Lincolnshire Greyhound Trust £6,000
Oldham Cats £6,000
Spirit Of The Dog £6,000
Wadars £6,000
Wood Green, The Animals Charity £6,000
Cats Protection Head Office Bsu £6,000
Caring For Cats Yorkshire And Humber £6,000
Mayflower Sanctuary £5,016
Leicester Animal Aid Assoc. £5,000
All Creatures Great & Small Animal Sanctuary £4,250
Animals In Need Maxicare Death Row Dogs £4,250
Assisi Animal Sanctuary £4,250
Benvardin Animal Rescue Kennels £4,250
Carla Lane Animals In Need £4,250
Cats R Us £4,250
Coventry Cat Group £4,250
Dogs Friends £4,250
Forever Hounds Trust £4,250
Freshfields Animal Rescue £4,250
Gables Farm Dogs & Cats Home £4,250
Hector’S Greyhound Rescue £4,250
Huddersfield Feral And Strays £4,250
Jerry Green Dog Rescue Centre £4,250
National Animal Welfare Trust £4,250
National Animal Welfare Trust £4,250
National Animal Welfare Trust £4,250
National Animal Welfare Trust £4,250
Oak Tree Animals’ Charity £4,250
Romney House Cat Rescue £4,250
RSPCA – Cornwall Branch £4,250
RSPCA – Doncaster £4,250
RSPCA Bristol Branch £4,250
RSPCA Burton Upon Trent And District Branch £4,250
RSPCAClwyd and Colwyn Branch £4,250
RSPCACoventry, Nuneaton & District Branch £4,250
RSPCA Crewe Nantwich And District Branch £4,250
RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield, Bradford And District Branch £4,250
RSPCA Hull & East Riding Branch £4,250
RSPCA Solent Branch £4,250
RSPCA Southport Birkdale £4,250
RSPCA Swansea £4,250
RSPCA Warrington, Halton And St Helens £4,250
RSPCA Worcester & Mid-Worcestershire Branch £4,250
Society For Abandoned Animals £4,250
St Giles Animal Rescue £4,250
Stray Aid Ltd £4,250
The Animal Sanctuary £4,250
The Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home £4,250
The Rabbit Residence Rescue £4,250
Wirral Animal Welfare Association £4,250
Yorkshire Cat Rescue £4,250
Heatons Animal Rescue Group £4,000
Tia Greyhound & Lurcher Rescue £4,000
Cats Protection Head Office Bsu £3,640
Birmingham Dogs Home Fundraising £3,600
Greyhound Trust £3,600
Hull Animal Welfare Trust £3,600
RSPCA Leeds And Wakefield £3,600
MK Cat Rescue £3,500
Daybreaks Trust £3,250
Cats Protection £3,000
Cats Protection Head Office Bsu £3,000
Happy Landings Animal Shelter £3,000
The Sheffield Cat Shelter £3,000
Worcestershire Animal Rescue Shelter £3,000
4 Paws Cat Rescue £2,500
B.A.R.K.S. £2,500
Catflap £2,500
Evermore Dog Rescue £2,500
German Shepherd Rescue Elite £2,500
Grovehill Animal Trust £2,500
K9 Focus Dog Rescue £2,500
Millhouse Animal Sanctuary £2,500
New Start Cat Rescue £2,500
Pawprints Dog Rescue £2,500
Second Chance Animal Rescue £2,500
Warrington Animal Welfare £2,500
All Bullie Rescue £2,000
Animal Care Morecambe & Dist. £1,930
Bath Cats And Dogs Home £2,000
Bransby Horses £2,000
Cats Protection £2,000
Rehoming Animal Telephone Service (Rats) £1,750
Stockenchurch Dog Rescue £1,500
RSPCA Manchester & Salford Branch £1,380
Animals Of Hope £1,250
Asap Cat Rescue £1,250
Bulldog Rescue & Re Homing £1,250
Cats Protection Head Office Bsu £1,250
Consett Cat Rescue £1,250
English Springer Spaniel Welfare Charity £1,250
Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care £1,250
Happycats Rescue £1,250
Harley’S Hounds Dog Rescue £1,250
Here For Cats £1,250
Just Springers Rescue £1,250
Kitten Karers £1,250
Northern Greyhound Rescue £1,250
Our Special Friends Limited £1,250
S.A.R.A.  Saving And Re-homing Animals. £1,250
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue £1,250
Woodlands Animal Sanctuary £1,250
Cats Protection Head Office Bsu £1,200
The Cat & Rabbit Rescue Centre £1,200
Stopford Cat Rescue £740

How to reduce the risk of your dog developing an aggression problem

jack russell dog barking aggression

If a dog has bitten someone, euthanasia ensures s/he is no longer a risk. However, it is often an untimely death and a heartbreaking situation.

Some aggressive dogs may never adapt happily to life, and euthanasia may be a kindness for them and a sadly necessary safety precaution. However, aggression can have different causes, and euthanasia is not necessarily the best or only solution for all aggressive dogs.

An expert assessment will help you decide what’s best for your dog

Each case of aggression is different and, like with any decision about what’s best for your dog and for you, you need full information first. woman trains retriever dog That means getting an assessment by a qualified and accredited expert right away. This page from the RSPCA gives details and links for finding accredited behaviourists.

3 tips for reducing the risk of your dog developing an aggression problem

#1: Know the Ladder of Aggression and teach it to your children.

The Ladder is a simple guide that shows if your dog may be getting worked up, and how s/he shows it. Snapping and biting are typically a last resort for dogs; but they may reach that point in seconds. If you’ve ignored or misread earlier signs, the bite may seem out of the blue. For simple illustrations and more information:

#2: Notice your dog’s behaviours around people or other dogs.

If s/he seems to be showing similar behaviours to the Ladder of Aggression, video them if you can do that safely. And make an appointment with your vet to get your dog checked over. The vet can rule out physical causes of aggression, and advise you. If your dog has bitten, use Dr Yin’s poster to help you gauge the level.

vet examines white dog

#3: Ask your vet for a referral, if necessary

Some vets have greater knowledge and interest in canine aggression than others.Otherwise, they should be able to refer you to a qualified and accredited behaviourist. The two accrediting bodies are: The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, and The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Details on this page from the RSPCA.

dog chasing ballWhen our dogs threaten or bite us, it is a form of communication. Typically, many will have given us other warnings, but we can easily overlook or misinterpret those. Let’s learn their lingo better and get qualified help sooner than later. But always stay safe.

To borrow from the poet Mary Oliver, we need to be kind yet resolute, not foolish. More on her next time.

Over to you. We can’t advise on individual cases, but we’d like to hear from you on our Facebook page.
What is your experience of aggressive dogs?
What do you make of the graphics and websites we’ve listed here?

Caroline Hewson

 

Author: Caroline Hewson MRCVS
Caroline Hewson is a vet and has a PhD in animal behaviour. She writes and gives talks that translate research relevant to pets’ end of life into points to keep in mind. 

 

Read more posts from The Pet Loss Blog

Storm Dennis can’t dampen spirits at Hope Rescue

pontypridd hope rescue flooded

Hope Rescue, an independent dog welfare charity in South Wales, is busy with clean up operations following Storm Dennis.

“Sadly our charity shop and dog friendly cafe in Pontypridd was flooded,” says Amy Greenfield of Hope Rescue.

“We have had to move everything out so that the builders can strip the floor and walls to dry out and then replaster and redecorate etc.”

As with many small charities, it’s the volunteers that really make the difference. All are working tirelessly to get things ready as soon as possible.

Established in 2005, Hope Rescue steps in to offer a lifeline to stray dogs from Local Authority pounds who would otherwise be destroyed.  Their ethos is that “no-one gets left behind irrespective of age, breed or medical condition”. The chariy also takes in dogs from owners who can no longer care for them.

The charity shop is a major income stream for the charity and the longer it’s closed, the more money they lose.

“We’re not anticipating that we will be reopen again until June and for every month we are closed we lose an income stream worth around £9000,” continues Amy. “That’s a lot of money to us and a lot of dogs that can’t be helped. We’re working hard to fundraise in other areas to cover the loss of income.”

The additional worry of coronavirus has added further uncertainty to charity shops across the UK.

Read more news, here

A farewell poem to ‘Major’ by his homeless owner

major the akita streetvet

StreetVet is a charity that brings veterinary support to dogs owned by the homeless. The Trust has been a long-term supporter of their vital work.

portrait of akita dog majorRecently, StreetVet was there for a homeless man, Alex, when his beloved akita, Major, came to the end of his life.

‘Whenever one of our patients passes away, we offer to have their ashes returned to their owner in a scatter tube,’ explains Gabriel from StreetVet. ‘We also have a pet portrait drawn, which we can laminate if the owner cannot hang it in a frame.’

Below is a special poem that Alex rote for his akita, Major. We are extremely grateful to him for sharing it with us.

 

A few words for “Major” in his Loving Memory, 1-8-2007 – 6-17-2019.

‘Loving you always Little Bear’

 

Major

Only the “Good” Die Young
You were so special
My majestic friend
Your eyes so special
Many characters they had
It was a privilege and
Honour to know you!

You were the candy
Of my eyes
Your heart so pure
My “Gentle Giant”
It filled me with
Sweetness and Love.

Missing your snuggles and kisses
Miss everything about you,
Our walks and even your pisses 🙂
You meant the world to me,
Your spirit is in my soul.

Those big brown eyes that
Sparkled like the stars above
I shall see again, when
We meet on the other side,
When forever, together,
We will finally be.

 

Are you struggling to cope with the loss of an animal companion? Our Pet Bereavement page aims to help you through this difficult time by providing useful resources including helplines and website links.

For an expert view on pet ownership, pet loss, euthanasia decision-making and much more, take a look at The Pet Loss Blog by Caroline Hewson MRCVS

Read more personal pet loss stories, here

An aggressive dog is an unhappy dog

aggressive dog snarling

From growling thru’ snapping to a single bite or an all-out attack, aggression is a serious matter.

frightened aggressive dog snarling

An aggressive dog poses a danger to us and other humans. It tells us the dog is unhappy. Even in a mild form or in a small dog, aggression typically signals the dog is tense and not enjoying his life at that moment – or, sometimes, not at all.

Get expert assessment about a dog’s aggression early on

Having `a life worth living’ and a good life are important for all of us animals. It not just about externals like square meals and exercise. It’s also to do with things like feeling secure and having opportunities to be freely yourself. So, getting expert assessment about a dog’s aggression early on makes kind and practical sense all round. This blog offers no specific advice but just some general thoughts.

Advertising rarely shows the challenging aspects of pet ownership

It’s not clear how many dogs are generally aggressive. We do know that some of them are euthanased or handed over to shelters, especially larger breeds.

spaniel running with toy in mouth

Understandably, advertising never shows these challenging aspects of pet ownership. Instead, there are harmonious, happy scenes. So it’s not surprising if non-owners or new owners think an  aggressive dog is abnormal or their owners are failures. I’d say, in general: Not so. It’s the images in ads that are unrealistic.

Bossing dogs about will make them more afraid

There used to be a lot of talk about dominance aggression and “showing dogs who is Boss”. We now know that is incorrect. Regardless of size, many dogs are stressed when they cannot predict and cannot control what will happen next. Their stress can show as aggression.

woman kissing king charles spaniel`Bossing’ them about and overwhelming them physically will make them more afraid. They will either be more likely to bite or they will become completely inhibited due to extreme fear. Either way, they will not be “sorted”.

Small dogs can find our attentions unpredictable

We may also make things worse for small dogs if we suddenly snatch them up to give them cuddles etc. They don’t understand we do it to express our love. For them, it probably feels like another thing they can’t predict and can’t control.

Some dogs may show predatory aggression, if the situation triggers them. Then, they are probably back in touch with the ancient and natural instinct to chase down a potential meal.

Rough play and inhibited bites—which is how playful young wild animals learn about who not to hurt, and how to catch prey—may also tip over into potentially serious attacks. This brief news clip seems to show some of that. It also shows how cats can save the day!

Aggressive behaviours like that are dangerous to us and we rightly cannot allow them. Yet the behaviours are entirely natural for the dogs.

An aggressive dog may actually be unwell

sad dog lies on sofaAnother cause of aggression can be underlying disease, especially painful conditions. Diagnose and manage the medical condition, and the aggression goes.

The list goes on. But, so much for theory. When a dog is aggressive, it can be a very difficult situation.

We’ll come back to this in the next post.

Over to you. We can’t advise on individual cases, but we’d like to hear from you on Facebook.
Has your cat ever seen off a threatening dog, like the cat in the video?
What do you think of marketing images about pet ownership?

Caroline Hewson

 

Author: Caroline Hewson MRCVS
Caroline Hewson is a vet and has a PhD in animal behaviour. She writes and gives talks that translate research relevant to pets’ end of life into points to keep in mind. 

 

Read more posts from The Pet Loss Blog

Do you have a sick pet and are facing difficult decisions? Our Pet Bereavement page has  a list of helpline numbers and links to useful websites. You can also read pet owners’ personal bereavement stories.

Announcing new Pet Loss Blog by Caroline Hewson MRCVS

older terrier and older tabby cat pet loss blog

Petplan Charitable Trust is delighted to announce the brand new Pet Loss Blog by Caroline Hewson MRCVS.

caroline hewsonThe vet and bereavement expert will be sharing her wisdom and experience in her regular posts on our website.

Caroline Hewson has a PhD in animal behaviour. From 2000 to 2006 she was Research Chair at the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre, Atlantic Veterinary College, Canada. Returning to the UK, she resumed regular practice. Her chief work now is writing and giving talks that translate research relevant to pets’ end of life into points to keep in mind.

At the Edinburgh Fringe 2018, Caroline co-presented “Never Say Die?” with palliative care doctor Scott Murray. She is currently writing a book for people facing the death of their animal companions.

Euthanasia decision-making, memorialisation and more

The Pet Loss blog will tackle topics such as euthanasia decision-making; factors affecting grief; memorialisation; dealing with prognostic uncertainty and more. Although Caroline cannot comment on individual cases, she would welcome comments about the topics covered in her blog via our facebook and instagram pages.

If you are currently facing – or in the midst of grieving for – the loss of a much-loved animal companion, you may find our Pet Bereavement page helpful. We have gathered together among the best resources on the internet to help support you during this difficult time. These include helpline numbers and useful websites.

We have also started featuring pet owners’ personal bereavement stories on our new Pet Loss Stories page.

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