Keeping pets and their loving owners together
Together for Animals London based member Mayhew’s Pet Refuge programme is part of their work with the community, caring for the pets of people who are at a crisis point in their life and have no one else to turn to. They look after dogs and cats for short periods of time, giving them shelter and care so their owners are able to seek hospital treatment or recover from illness, for example, while knowing their animal is being looked after in a safe environment.
Mayhew is celebrating 15 years of Pet Refuge, and the demand for the service is as great as ever. For people who are at risk, facing great difficulty and have no other means of support, this service is a lifeline. The people they help would often rather forgo treatment than leave their pet, and they believe it’s better to help keep loving owners and their animals together than for animals to be handed over for rehoming.
Mayhew’s Pet Refuge programme gives people a chance to get back on their feet and then be reunited with their beloved pet. Hundreds of pet owners in need have been helped by Pet Refuge over the years, including Elayne and her dog Kilo.
Elayne adopted nine-year-old Kilo over eight years ago, but unfortunately has since suffered a series of significant health problems, including two separate cancer diagnoses, which have required major surgery and continuous treatment. Her physical pain and lack of mobility have also caused Elayne’s mental health to deteriorate, leaving her depressed and, at times, suicidal.
Throughout Elayne’s trauma, Kilo has been her rock and reason for living – Elayne has very few family or friends that live near, and so relies on Kilo as her sole source of comfort and kinship. Without Mayhew, Elayne fears she would have had to give Kilo up which she says would have taken her to “a very dark place indeed”.
Luckily, Kilo was able to go to Mayhew as part of our Pet Refuge programme whilst Elayne received a variety of necessary treatments and further surgery, safe in the knowledge that Kilo had the best possible care.
Zoe Edwards, Head of Animal Welfare said “Unfortunately, we are seeing more people ‘at risk’ and suffering mental health issues due to economic forces. For the people we help, their animal is their family and often their only reason for living – separating them could have a detrimental effect on both the person and their beloved animal.”