Carol our secretary spends hours talking to people who ask for help and this time I think she really did very well to get the full story from a very private and gentle person. Here's her report...
I have spoken to a lovely lady today and I am a bit frustrated that I can't make an impact on her problem and so I am really looking for any other ideas/contacts that might be useful.In the past I have had some really wonderful caring pet sitters and I feel sure this would be what is needed here. Tailwaggers will contribute, but if any housesitting agency could offer charity rates that would be a real help.
This lady has lived in London for most of her life but moved to"the middle of nowhere" in West Cumbria four years ago to look after her parents who were both suffering from Alzheimers. She was unable to work so has not established any friendships. I get the impression that she now lives on her own apart from four dogs, four outdoor cats and four indoor cats that she has either taken from rescue homes or have adopted her.
She was a nurse specialising in palliative care when in London. About for weeks ago she noticed her own abdomen was very enlarged and she had a scan last weekend which has shown a very large mass. She now needs to go to Gateshead to have a CT scan and the doctor has advised her to do this within the next couple of weeks.
She has only once left her animals and hired a company that looks after pets in your own home. On her return she found that her instructions had not been complied with and one of the dogs had died and one was badly injured through the dogs not being muzzled.
She has no source of income and is living from the proceeds of the sale of her house when she moved to Cumbria. Even if kennelling was a financial possibility it would be very difficult for some of the animals, one of the dogs is blind and some of the cats are very elderly, one is 22.
She has called everyone she can think of, the local dog warden has no idea at all how to help and the Dogs Trust gave her our number.
I suggested Cinnamon Trust but I think they may only help senior citizens. She said she will ring them but from her nursing days she thinks they only help terminally ill patients and she doesn't know if her illness is terminal yet. I suggested that maybe local CPL might temporarily foster some of the cats and could she contact the rescue homes that a couple of the dogs have come from.
I took an instant liking to this lady, we are both diabetic and both lived in Streatham and conversation seemed to flow very easily, otherwise I don't think she would have told me so much about her situation. I know I am probably clutching at straws but it would be great if we could make a difference to this lady. I did say that we might be able to help with a donation for kennelling fees but I don't think it is a realistic option for her.
Do email me if anyone has any bright ideas and if anyone would like to contribute to Tailwaggers there's a Just Giving device by the side of this blog.
Update: Just come off the phone from talking to Rhona. So I'm adding some new notes.
Tailwaggers are going to book her a dog sitter for the scan, but she'll almost certainly need an operation which will mean two or three weeks in hospital. She had an ultrasound on Friday and blood tests but the growth was so large they couldn't get it on the screen. If the tumour markers are high she'll be operated on in Gateshead (a very long way away) and if low it'll be Carlisle. She has been a palliative care nurse so is realistic about her prognosis.
I've phoned Cinnamon Trust and they were lovely - but quite firm that people had to be old or terminally ill - and this lady is still awaiting her diagnosis. On this blog and on Twitter others have said they have helped people who didn't fit into those definitions - but that may be down to personal choice locally. If the local Cinnamon Trust rep were to be aware of this ladies plight she may decide to go against protocol, but I've no way of reaching them.
What we need to to find some foster homes for the operation - which will mean a two to three week stay in hospital.
There are two young Patterdales that are tricky and need to wear Baskerville muzzles around other dogs/cats. Both have allergies and are on meds. Good with people just very bad with other dogs and when unsupervised.
Two older Lab crosses - one of which is blind and diabetic so on meds. The Labs and the Patterdales could be split into two for fostering as the Patterdales aren't great with the blind Lab cross. These dogs were from Animal Concern.
There are four indoor cats (all rescues) and four cats kept outdoor in a run.
This isn't strictly speaking a Tailwaggers type problem but I can't see that there is any charity it does neatly fit!
If anyone can offer any ideas or help please do get in touch.