The day started with an animal rescue; how very apt when I’m en route to the oldest animal hospital in London – Blue Cross. I’m on my way to hear all about the work that goes on behind the scenes of this amazing place, which has opened its doors to animals (& their humans) since 1897. Not thinking it would be entirely appropriate to turn up to a meeting with a budgie I rescued from a West London street who seemed to have more lives than a cat, with an attitude to boot (as my finger found out!) I dropped him off at a veterinary surgery nearby. Luckily Ted was having a fun time with my mum for the day too, otherwise that would have been interesting!
I needn’t have worried though, as while Blue Cross animal hospital focus mainly on the treatment of dogs and cats, they would never turn an animal away in an emergency situation. In fact, they treat approximately 30,000 animals a year across their 4 hospitals (3 within London and 1 in Grimsby). Of that total, approximately 15,000 of those animals are dogs, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a staggering amount. This also doesn’t take into account the number of dogs Blue Cross help at their rehoming centres.
I received a very warm welcome from the hospital manager, Steven Broomfield, an incredible man who has witnessed first hand our special relationship with dogs for over 30 years while working with Blue Cross. We discussed many topics which will be covered over my next few blogs, including the day-to-day running of the hospitals; which treat animals of those who are unable to pay for private veterinary fees. With programmes such as the recent documentary ‘Dogs on the Dole’ on Channel 4, it could be easy to make ill-conceived judgements, but having heard first hand about those Blue Cross work with, it seems a shame a small minority out there could leave a long-lasting negative legacy. As the hospital relies on donations, it is easy to see how such misconceptions could potentially impact this and I’m hopeful this blog will help to show a different side and encourage you to tell all your friends!!
It is a well known fact dogs can make a positive impact on our lives and none more so than the elderly (a topic I hope to be focusing on in more detail over the coming weeks). Blue Cross recognise this, as this is just one of the communities they assist with their work. For example, they offer a unique service for their housebound clients by providing a collect and drop off service for appointments in one of their specially designed vans which covers various postcodes (please check their website for details which is listed at the bottom of this blog).
You may question what happens to such dogs on a daily basis. Do they ever venture outside? Do they have quality of life? Again this is where Blue Cross come up trumps by connecting those who are housebound to one of their volunteer dog walkers! Amazing!! This enables such individuals to continue owning a dog and provide the best care for him or her, when under normal circumstances they may be forced to give the dog up for adoption and add another dog into the already bulging rescue centre systems (as mentioned Blue Cross also have many such centres widely spread across the UK in addition to their 4 hospitals – you can find out more details HERE.
We’ve all got to get older (a sad fact of life!) and circumstances can change when we least expect it; a point Steven was keen to point out and rightly so! Therefore it would be a shame that if / when such circumstances occur which may prevent us from caring for our dog in the usual way, a dog which is often the key (and sometimes only) part of people’s lives, then has to be given up for adoption. The actions of Blue Cross prevent this from happening, where suitable, and that can only be a positive thing not only for dogs, but society as a whole by giving many owners a real purpose to live.
This is in line with the holistic approach of Blue Cross who, yes, has the priority of treating dogs etc but at the same time views their work very much as a human partnership. If more of us can recognise the importance of this, then dogs in the long run should ultimately benefit.
Please come back to read more about my visit to Blue Cross Victoria animal hospital and additional ways they help dogs and the wider community. You don’t want to miss out!!
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