Merseyside animal rescue is creating a hospice to care for end-of-life dogs
12 months ago
A Merseyside animal rescue is creating a hospice to care for end-of-life dogs so they can live out their last days in comfort.
Rescue Me Animal Sanctuary, which is based in Melling, is adapting a newly-installed garden room to provide a home-from-home for dogs with terminal conditions.
They’ll be given their own quiet space, with outdoor areas to sit out or walk in, and plenty of care to make sure they have the best quality of life possible.
Steph Taylor, who runs Rescue Me, decided to set the hospice up in response to the rising number of abandoned dogs that need end-of-life care as a result of the rising cost of living and vet care and rescues being overwhelmed with rehomable dogs,
It was one dog in particular, Angel, who highlighted the need for it.
Steph explains: “I’ve been going to the pound to help the dogs find rescue spaces and when I was there I saw this little end-of-life dog in a kennel.
“She’s a really old girl, a Collie cross Jack Russell we think, and she has multiple health problems.
“She’s got significant heart disease, her mouth was really infected, she had a urine infection, she had an ear we needed to look at. She wasn’t in a great way at all.
“I thought we could offer her a lot more comfort than a basic pound kennel. The staff there do a great job, and they look after the dogs really well, but it’s just not an ideal environment for such a poorly animal because it’s really busy and noisy, and they’re being pushed to their limits at the moment.
“There’s a gap of help for these animals so we’re trying to fill it as best we can.”
After setting up a fundraiser to support the hospice, Rescue Me has just had a special delivery from local company Eazy Sheds.
They made a bespoke garden room big enough to accommodate pens donated by nearby Carla Lane Animals in Need.
Now, with Steph’s dad helping out with work, it will be adapted to become somewhere dogs can be given palliative care. The room will be insulated, boarded out, have vet standard flooring installed for hygiene, and electrics put in so it can be heated.
“It will have its own private yard which is really quiet, and we’re going to put Astro turf down so the dogs will be able to sit outside on nice days. There’s also a paddock they can go on from the yard and we have an acre of land with natural trails so we can take them walking on those. It’s an ideal set-up.”
Having the hospice will also help save dogs who might otherwise have to be put to sleep if they are assessed to be terminally ill and remain unclaimed from the pound after seven days.
“We’ll be able to offer to take them so they can spend time with us, and we can intensively look after them and assess them to see if they do really need to be put to sleep on day eight or if they’ve got a good quality of life and with some treatment we can get them to a level where hopefully we could put them into foster homes.
“We don’t know any background on these dogs, but we’ve got vets and nurses on site, we’ve got continuity of care, so we can assess all their medical problems and create individual treatment and respite plans for them.
“Palliative care is very individualized so we can take each dog at a time, with almost one-to-one care and do our best to make it like a home environment – clean, quiet and tranquil. We’ll make it as good as we possibly can for them while they’re with us, and if there is a dog coming through that we think would do better in a home environment then we will look to get a foster home for them.”
Angel is currently living in Rescue Me’s vet room, but she will soon be the hospice’s first resident.
She’s a perfect example of the difference extra TLC can have to a dog’s final weeks and months.
“Angel didn’t just have one problem that the pound could sort with a vet, she’s got multiple issues which are likely to be the result of a chronic build-up of years of neglect. Those needed very carefully balancing against each other.
“When I first saw her she was just curled up in a ball on the kennel floor in the pound. We got her out to the yard and she was in her own little world, she looked very borderline, but she slept and rested for the first few days and then we started to see a turnaround.
“Our vet put her on a course of antibiotics and some anti-inflammatories, and after a few days she was like a completely different dog. The drugs literally worked like magic and her personality started to develop. She’s really quirky and she’s funny, she’s got a little attitude now and she’s changed so much.”
To support Rescue Me’s hospice fundraiser, go to the website HERE.
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