Saturday, 15 August 2009

More on the Rhona case

The Rhona case is so heart wrenching. (Click here to read more)
She was feeling really low this morning and my email wasn't letting her send to me for some reason - she'd just got a no from a local charity she was hoping would take the last cats when she went into hospital. Plus the dispute with the pet sitters (who had let two of her dogs fight resulting in a death) was really bringing her down. And she was feeling sick, she'd tried to eat yesterday and it made her feel worse.
She'd put all that in a text and when I phoned her back there was no reply.
I decided to make a few calls to see if I could get her some better news to cheer her up. I tried to find a local cattery - but the first one I called was full and said all the others would be, too. But they put me on to kind lady called Lynn who used to be with Cats Protection, who put me onto Alice at the RSPCA branch and at last I felt I was really reaching the right people.
I phoned Rhona again, still no reply on landline or mobile.
She's in no fit state to be going on long walks, so I was very worried.
I phoned the police and they were very happy to do a welfare check.
Minutes later I got a call from Tailwagger's secretary Carol, she'd been worried to get no reply, too. But at last she'd got through to a very groggy Rhona.
Rhona had been unconscious for a couple of hours - another hypo, they're coming thick and fast now.
Poor Rhona. Hopefully I can tell her not to worry when we talk later - Carol was phoning her straight back - Carol knew I'd called the police and I needed to stand them down.
Earlier Lynn had offered to go in a day or so a week and feed the cats. Alice from the RSPCA was going to make some calls and try to find some other local people to help, too. If we can get a rota the last six cats could stay where they are and not be disrupted.
I also used some of my nervous energy to fire off an email to the pet sitters Rhona had previously used (not Animal Aunts in case there's any confusion!) and told them how much pressure she was under just in case they didn't realise. They'd threatened to counter sue her for having such dangerous dogs! Can you believe that?
Hearing that Rhona had been lying unconscious on her kitchen floor just made me realise how completely vulnerable she is.
Wonder how many other people there are out there with pets who don't have anyone local to notice if they keel over in their kitchen?
Hopefully we'll get a network of other pet-friendly folk to keep an eye on Rhona and her brood from now on. I've spoken to some lovely people today on the phone, I'm sure they're going to be the hero's of this story!
Let's hope the pet sitter does the decent thing, too. I'm still shaking my head thinking about it!

6 comments:

Chapstaff said...

OMG I can't believe it.

Was it one of Rhona's dogs who died?
Have you had a reply from the petsitters? Without giving any names, are they professionals?
They don't seem very kind is all I'll say!

I'm glad to see a few nice people are starting to rally round.

It's an interesting point you make about how long it would take for someone keeling over to be found. Once upon a time everyone looked out for their neighbours & would notice if they hadn't seen them, but now.....

Just think if you hadn't got involved with Rhona who would have found her....& when!

I really hope she's able to go into hospital soon, bless her.

Beverley Cuddy said...

Hi Chapstaff
No reply so far. From looking at their website they look to be national, but it's a company I've never dealt with or even heard of before - but that's not to say they aren't huge.
And yes, Rhona has two very, very difficult young Patterdales and a very strict routine re basket muzzles due to serious problems in the past. She says she explained all this very clearly to the sitter on the pre-sitting meeting and offered several times not to go if she didn't think she could cope. Although the company is now claiming they wouldn't have taken the job if they'd known how difficult the dogs were.
Allegedly, the muzzles were off and the dogs all together and unsupervised when the incident happened in her conservatory. On Rhona's return, after only a couple of nights away, she was told that one dog had been killed, and her blind diabetic dog had also been injured. There was still blood all over the carpet. (Some of her tropical fish were also left dead in the tank...)
No one had warned Rhona there'd been any trouble and she had phoned in regularly to check all was well as she'd never left them before and was prepared to come straight back if the sitter couldn't cope.
Rhona had asked them to refund the pet sitting fee, the vet's fees, carpet cleaning and the value of the dog that died. All this happened only a few weeks ago.
She'd just got a letter from her credit card people yesterday morning saying that they couldn't refund her pet sitting fee without her taking the pet sitters to court.
She's obviously not fit enough for that at the moment and the stress of that letter and the desperation at not yet finding anyone to take the cats just brought her right down and she was talking of giving up in her text.
Our Tailwaggers secretary is also diabetic and she says stress can really make everything that much worse. Rhona had collapsed in the bathroom and had no idea of time when she eventually heard Carol ringing on the phone and answered. Her blood sugar was only 1.8 after she drank some fruit juice which is apparently still dangerously low.
This woman really needs some good news!
Her assortment of acquired animals are far from ideal, but it's the only family she has and she loves them all. Rhona has tried to solve the behaviour issues with the help of the vet, but they'd reached the conclusion it was muzzle them or PTS and as they are young healthy dogs Rhona chose muzzles or segregation.
But she claims to have been totally frank about all the animals to the pet sitter as she would not want to put any of the animals or indeed the sitter at any risk.
Difficult isn't it!
Beverley

Beverley Cuddy said...

Dear last poster, 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! beverley@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk.
Best wishes
Beverley

Anonymous said...

Beverley how about a 'free gift' in a future magazine of a card for us all to fill in and place somewhere visible in case of emergency. I have done my own but it would be a good campaign for the magazine? Mine is on the fridge and gives 3 contacts for my dogs should anything happen to me, local vet, local police, solicitor etc.It also includes all our family mobile numbers and the dogs microchip numbers. Another good place would be by the front door or phone. ' The D T Emergency card'?? I'm sure someone will have a better title.

Anonymous said...

A very worrying and sad situation for Rhona, do hope that she receives the help that she so deserves.
Beverley, did anyone locally, by that I mean in Cumbria come forward to offer help or advise to assist Rhona?

Beverley Cuddy said...

It was difficult being so far away, but I think we have found a number of good people in the area who will give Rhona the support she'll need over the coming months. Things are certainly looking a lot less bleak and hopefully she'll be able to concentrate on getting well knowing her pets are safe.
Thank you to everyone who is helping Rhona and has provided a piece in the jigsaw.