Any bright ideas?

I'm Chairman of a wonderful and ancient little charity called Tailwaggers and occasionally we hear of people who really do need some help with their pets and we try to help them out. Here's a tricky one, anyone got any bright ideas?
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.

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.
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.
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.

Best wishes


Anonymous said…
I hope the Cinnamon Trust can help. It would be no bother at all for a local person to nip in and sort the cats out, and another fosterer could look after the dogs. If they don't help, I'll seriously reconsider volunteering for them in the future!
Has the CT responded yet?
Lucy said…
How long do the animals need looking after for?

Maybe someone could email round local pet sitters? I do pet sitting but I'm down in Hampshire and I work F/T too so I dont have time to go up to Cumbria, but I would always offer a reduced rate in this sort of situation.
Beverley Cuddy said…
Have spoken to Cinnamon Trust and unfortunately they can't help unless the lady is terminal and late stages - ie with a Macmillon nurse and bedbound - so that won't work.
I think Tailwaggers will have to book a good dog sitter for the first scan but ideally I'd like to find some local dog lovers to contact this lady with her new community. It must be very difficult for her and she'll have a few more hospital trips ahead and she needs to keep well to look after the pets that rely on her. I have been told she is having trouble eating and that is making her diabetes unstable.
If she was local I'd call in and offer to walk the dogs for her and keep an eye on things. Just need a few good people in the local area to make sure she's okay.
I've posted an appeal on a rescue forum - anyone else things of good places to cross post?
Anonymous said…
I volunteer for the Cinammon Trust - and I've helped non-elderly people! I helped a single lady who needed her cats deflea-ed and furniture shifted to do the carpets! I helped because she needed help - full-stop.

Christ, surely the Cinnamon Trust could just ask any local volunteers if they could help? Then people can say yes or no. We're all animal lovers - no one would say no just because someone wasn't old enough. Surely people have more compassion than that!

Christ, what terrible PR for the Cinnamon Trust!

Beverley Cuddy said…
If you are a supporter of Cinnamon Trust can you draw this blog to their attention as it sounds a good idea to ask the local members if they personally would like to help. I've just been contacted by someone who volunteers in a rescue in Workington who is going to give our lady a call and ask how she's doing. She can't help with pet sitting but someone doggie local may be able to help in other ways.
Chapstaff said…
I'm not local, but will cross post.

Poor lady, she's not asking much, it would be good for her mind to be put at rest over her pets so she can start thinking of herself bless her.
Anonymous said…
Perhaps a local vets may know of someone in the area who can help, even the vet nurses often get involved in our practice.
Also local catteries, dog clubs, pet shops..trying to think of the places where animal lovers meet.
Good luck and really hope people pull together to help the poor lady.
Anonymous said…

Could someone please up date me as to what has been sorted for this poor lady and her animals..

Does anyone know if Animal Concern West Cumbria have been contacted?

Perhaps if there could be an update, then I can do some contacting to try and help as I am in Cumbria.
Beverley Cuddy said…
Dear last poster, there's some updates if you look at later blog entries - I did one yesterday. Further to that I'm still waiting to hear back from Alice at the local RSPCA. Rhona approached Animal Concern and said they weren't able to take the cats (two of the dogs are from there, but they've already been found a foster home with Yorkshire Working Gundog Rescue who are taking all of the dogs (what superstars!). I've not spoken to Animal Concern so it maybe that they've not been asked to help out on the feeding in situ. If you need Alice Campbell's phone number please email me and I will send it to you. Or you'd like to talk to Rhona too email and I'll forward the number as she needs all the help she can get!
Best wishes

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