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The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice

Providing love, kindness, friendship and palliative care to terminally-ill abandoned animals of many species during the last steps of their journey.

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The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice is now a registered Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation!

B is celebrating*! She has some news she’d like to share…

The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice is now a registered charity (SCIO) We are now registered with the Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator, and our registration number is SC046918.

It has been a difficult couple of days, as Monday 24th October marked one year since Maggie left this world. That day I said goodbye to my best friend, and my heart and soul broke apart in the way that they do when the people we love say goodbye. They never heal, not really. They just fix back together all crooked and cracked in the only way they know how and – somehow – you find a way to go on.

Strangely, we received our status award one year to the hour since I turned to mum on 25th October last year, on our way to say goodbye to Maggie in the vet hospital, to hold her body close and and smell her fur for the last time, and said, “The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice”.

Bran and I passed the spot on the road yesterday where I said that a year ago, and, as I do so often, I talked to Maggie and I thanked her for bringing so much joy to my life when she was here, and for bringing Bran and B to me in her absence.

This is for you, Maggie. I miss you every second of every day and I always will and I promise I will always try to live and love like you did

*It’s camomile tea, but we told B it was Champagne dscf7309

Brandon aka Branflake

About Brandon: Brandon was abandoned in early May, and – unclaimed by his people – he was facing a lonely death in the pound. Thankfully he found his way to the lovely people at Dogs Trust West Calder, who saved his life. Sadly, Brandon has terminal cancer and has had his tumoured spleen removed, but how much further the cancer has spread we won’t know until we carry out more investigative vet treatment (x-rays) once he is settled, and then we will have more idea of his prognosis. It is expected that he has at most two or three months, but we hopefully will know more over the coming few days.

Thank you to all the staff at Dogs Trust West Calder for caring for Brandon and for trusting him to our care as supported foster carers, and to Steven for bringing him to us.

We don’t know how long Brandon has, how many weeks or months he has ahead of him, but we will walk with him as friends on this final part of his journey. We will make sure he has lots of happy times, cuddles, kisses, walkies, good food and maybe one too many treats some days 🙂

Brandon’s Condition: Brandon has had his spleen removed prior to joining us, and his wound is fully healed. We don’t yet know if the cancer has spread, but we will have x-rays done in due course to see if metastasis has occurred. Brandon is a little stiff in his back legs and he is getting pain and inflammation relief medication to help him with this. Otherwise, Bran is in good health and doesn’t seem to realise (or care!) that he is in his senior years!

About Brandon: Branflake is truly a wonderful lad. He is so incredibly sweet and loving, and there is a heartbreaking desperation in his need for affection and friendship. He carries a lot of worry and anxiety with him, which I feel very strongly from him, and I suspect he has done for some time. He needs a lot of reassurance that we love him and we will always be here for him. Slowly he is releasing his worries and anxieties as we let him know slowly and gently that he is so very loved and safe. More than anything in the world, Bran needs a friend, and it is an absolute honour to be friends with such a wonderful person. It is hard to describe how much I adore this grey-bearded man.

More about Brandon: As we have got to know Brandon and become his friends, we have learned so much about him and what he enjoys:

I love: having a friend, walkies, going in the car, cuddles, playtime on the bed, rolling around like a silly puppy, dinner time, snoozing, company, being loved, my tin of tuna at bed time.

Meh, I’m not bothered about: other dogs, going out in the rain.

I don’t like: being on my own.

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Brandon’s Treatment: Brandon has already had his spleen removed and he has seen his vet here for his MOT. He is in generally good health, and although he is a bit stiff and shaky on his back legs, pain medication helps control this and he is a very active lad who loves his walks. Investigative medical treatment (x-rays) will be carried out once Bran is more settled. He will also need some dental work done.

26th October 2016: Bran had his dental work done, and an investigation on a lump on his elbow. His tooth came out without any difficulty and he is much happier for it. The lump was fatty, thank goodness.Bran is in good health, and is as fit as can be expected for a lad of his years, and though he is always game I can see that his wee back legs aren’t quite what they used to be. We give him pain relief when he needs it.

He is really happy, and enjoying life so much. I help him to put the chickens, turkeys and pigs to bed every night (he shouts me when it is time) and he loves running around the garden, being Gramps to the hens, and being part of our family. We adore him and we are pretty sure he is happy here, too 🙂 We keep a very close eye on his health and make sure he is getting to go on lots of adventures. Every second with him is a joy.

Brandon’s Fund: We rely entirely on donations to be able to provide palliative care to our residents. Most of Brandon’s medical treatment will be covered by Dogs Trust as he is on shared foster, so we only have to pay the first £7.50 for each of his treatments (thank you to Dogs Trust for this). We do, however, have his other necessaries to pay (like food, and kitchen towel and spray cleaner… if you know what I mean!). Brandon’s new toys and lots of sweeties from his Wishlist have been very kindly donated to him, so he has lots of both of those thanks to some very lovely people. If you would like to donate to help Brandon with his treatment costs (which will be very low), or with his food and treats, you can do so by bank transfer or Paypal. All donations will be used to help Brandon with his acare and treatment, and any left over will be added to our Hospice Fund to help other animals and with the general building and running of the Hospice. The Hospice is run by volunteers and all donations go directly to provide for the needs of our residents.

 

Brandon’s Donors: Thank you to the following donors who have donated to help Bran: £20(LK) / £20(CK) / £5(KS) / £20(ED) / £20(LG) / £10(LW) / £10(SFMS) / £10(JE) / £30(ES) / £100(IT) / £15(PR) / £50(IF) = £310. Thank you to his kind donors.

If you would like to help Bran have the happiest end-of-life care we can give him, you can donate to his fund on our donate page. Thank you.

Beryl

Beryl’s Story: Beautiful Beryl was found straying in Salford by the dog warden, Erica. She was found with a very large mammary tumour, which has ulcerated and become necrotic. She was placed into emergency foster care with her foster mum Tess, a volunteer for Rochdale Dog Rescue. Coryn, who runs Rochdale Dog Rescue, took her to the vet and her prognosis wasn’t good. The untreated cancer has spread, and removal of the tumour is not likely to be possible. Coryn contacted us and asked if we were able to help Beryl. She was checked again by her vet to make sure she was fit to travel, and as she is in such good health (apart from the tumour), it was decided that she was able to come and spend her remaining days or weeks here at the Hospice, in our home and with however long she has full of adventure and lots of cuddles, company, friendship and tasty treats. Huge thanks to her transport aunties, Sue and Flora, who both gave up their Sunday to bring Beryl to her final, forever home.

Beryl’s Condition: Beryl has seen our vet and once they receive her notes, a decision will be made as to how to proceed with her treatment. The tumour – much as it looks awful – isn’t causing her too much discomfort and it is being managed with antibiotics and pain medication. We will carefully consider all treatment and palliative care options, taking advice from her vets, and make the decision that we believe to be the right one for Beryl (palliative care, or attempting to remove the tumour if x-rays show that the cancer hasn’t spread).

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About Beryl: Beryl is a very sweet girl, and so very loving. She loves to give kisses as she walks past, just an ever-so-gentle lick to show her affection. She is very anxious to be left alone so I sleep beside her and she is much more calm and she can settle for a few hours during the night. She seems to be always looking for someone. She is a great escape artist (as demonstrated by the newly-installed latch on her door!). Beryl is a really lovely girl, and it is wonderful being able to get to know her and be her friends.

More about Beryl: As we have got to know Beryl and become her friends, we have learned so much about her and what she enjoys:

I love: sniffing (anything, everything, and some more anything and everything), Schmakos, walkies, being outside, that moment right before it’s time to go outside again, giving kisses, getting kisses, cuddles, meeting new people, company, hoomans, a tin of tuna for supper, jump-hopping, looking out of the window, shouting at pheasants.

Meh, I’m not bothered about: chickens, pigs, turkeys, other dogs, most sweeties, rivers.

I don’t like: being on my own, going back indoors, medicine time.

Beryl’s Treatment: Beryl came to us with a prognosis that she had two weeks to live. As we got to know her, we saw so much life in her, and we did not see someone who was ready to die. Her tumour was so massive, and so painful, that by Friday 27th May, we knew we had to either end her suffering, or do all we could to see if removal was possible. We couldn’t let her suffer, as she clearly was, so we had only two options; make the decision to euthanise her on medical grounds to end her suffering, or attempt to remove the tumour. We knew Beryl wanted to live, so in consultation with her vet, we opted to try to remove her tumour.

We waited with Beryl until she fell asleep at the vets, and waited with baited breath as she was x-rayed to see if the tumour had metastasised into her organs, as if it had we couldn’t put her through such a big operation, it just wouldn’t be fair. We received a call about 45 minutes later; there was no sign of metastasis! We cried happy tears but she wasn’t safe yet; the tumour was huge, and it was a big operation for her to go through, and we still didn’t know what the vet would find when she started the operation.

We called at 3pm, as we were told to do, with our hearts in our mouths. Beryl had got through her op, and the tumour had been successfully removed! We were so relieved, and at 6:30 that night we collected our friend from the vets, brought her home, and sat with  her until she settled and slept beside us.

Beryl is so much better after her op. She is much more settled, rid of that awful tumour and the pain it was causing her. She will go to get her stitches out tomorrow and we will get the results of the tumour biopsy. Once her stitches are out Beryl can go walkies again. we are all looking forward to that, especially B!

We know that the operation was palliative, and that it is likely the cancer will return, but for now Beryl is happy, free of pain, and able to enjoy a full life, unhindered by that horrible tumour. We did the operation to give her just that; a life worth living, for however long she has left, and seeing her so happy and full of life is an absolute joy. We don’t know how long she will have but we expect it will be many months, as we wouldn’t have proceeded with the operation if it was only going to give her a couple of weeks, that just wouldn’t be fair.

For however long she has, we will make sure she is safe, loved and enjoys all the best that life has to offer; tasty food, lots of treats, heaps of kisses and cuddles, plenty of company, and many, many happy walkies and time in the sun. We love you, B xx

2nd November 2016: B is doing really well. She had another op in August to remove the lump that couldn’t be removed during the first op, and as it was smaller it was much easier to biopsy. The results were neither all good nor all bad; it was cancerous, but not aggressive, and a second chest x-ray didn’t show any signs of metastasis. She has just had a false pregnancy which caused her no concern (we didn’t know when she arrived whether she was neutered or not; there is our answer!). B loves life; she loves her daily morning walks, she loves her adventures, she loves to spend time with us, playing with her toys, exploring her garden, and shouting back at James the turkey when he torments her by shouting in her window at her! B has been given a tentatively good prognosis and she will stay with us here as part of our family for the rest of her life. She is a delight and we love her and her many, many kisses very much!

 

Beryl’s Fund: We rely entirely on donations to be able to provide palliative care to our residents. If you would like to donate to help Beryl with her treatment costs, you can do so by bank transfer or Paypal. All donations will be used to help Beryl with her treatment, and any left over will be added to our Hospice Fund to help other dogs and with the general running of the Hospice. The Hospice is run by volunteers and all donations go directly to provide for the needs of our residents.

Beryl’s Donors: Thank you to the following donors who have donated to help Beryl: £50(KW and Poppy) / £10(ED) / £5(KW) / £20(NP-J) / £10(AB) / £20(AW) / £20(MH) / £10(LW) / £10(EN) / £50(JM) / £20(NS) / £10(CMcC) / £10(EB) / £10(DC) / £20(SF) / £15(SMcM) / £20(AW) / £10(G/CS) / £20(SS) / £10(JD/DD) / £100(IMcC) / £10(DW) / £20(JH) / £20(GC) / £10(AB) / £15(ES) / £5(KS) / £6.55(AS) / £5(ME) / £20(ES) = £561.55.

Beryl’s Costs: Sweeties: £10(MH) / Food: £8(MH) / Food and sweeties: £10(EN) /  Op £292.59: £50(KW and Poppy) / £2(MH) / £10(ED) / £5(KW) / £20(NP-J) / £10(AB) / £20(AW) / £10(LW) / £50(JM) / £20(NS) / £10(CMcR) / £10(EB) / £10(DC) / £20(SF) / £15(SMcM) / £20(AW) / £10(G/CS).

If you would like to help Beryl have the happiest end-of-life care we can give her, you can donate to her fund on our donate page. Thank you.

Launch of the Hospice

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Beautiful Maggie in the grounds of where the Hospice will stand.

After months of planning, I am pleased/scared/nervous/terrified to say that The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice is now officially founded.

It has been a very emotional few months, firstly losing Maggie and coming to terms with missing her so much, and also searching and thinking hard to know if I can do this. It is going to be hard, I know it is, but I know it will also bring great joy to see animals who would otherwise have nowhere to go come here to the Hospice to enjoy the time they have left, and to know that we are giving them happiness and comfort, and being their friends when they need us. Goodbyes are going to be so hard, and truthfully I don’t know how I will cope, but I have known since I said goodbye to my beloved friend Maggie that I would do my best to honour her memory, and I know that this is how I am to do it.

We will make new friends and we will have to say goodbye to those friends, but I hope we can also give happiness, joy, comfort and kindness to our friends, and to be there at the end to let them pass peacefully, knowing they are with people who love them, and that they are not alone.

I will miss Maggie forever, and I can only hope that the love and kindness she showed me and so many others will help me to be what I need to be to do this, and to be the friend our residents need me to be. If I can be half the person Maggie was…

In ever loving memory of my best friend and soul mate, Maggie Fleming. This is for you.

Building the Hospice

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(What will be) the grounds of the Hospice

In order to provide the best of care for the residents, we are building a purpose-built Hospice unit on our grounds. This will be next to our house but separate from it, so that the residents have peace and quiet but they can also come into the house should they wish to, but have their own special space that is just theirs for when they need to rest.

We are going to try to source as many of the materials as we can for free, by asking for donations from businesses and donations of labour, and by re-claiming some of the materials (for example, some of the windows were reclaimed from building sites where they were going to be thrown out, but are perfectly sound).

We will need to purchase some items for the Hospice but at all times we will try our very best to get items donated so as to keep costs down as much as we can.

As it is being purpose-built, we will be able to tailor it to the needs of the residents. It will have three separate sections to enable us to have three residents at any one time. We will have washing facilities, a bed area for me to sleep in when I have to stay with them during the night, and comfortable but easily disinfected couches. We will also have storage for bedding, and it will be built to be warm and comfortable, but also easily cleaned. It will have outdoor areas for each of the residents so that they can enjoy the sunshine and breeze on nice days.

If you would like to donate to the building costs of the Hospice, we would be so incredibly grateful. We will post receipts for all costs and all donations to the Hospice Building Fund will be noted on a dedicated fundraising page.

The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice

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Maggie

Dedicated to the memory of my beloved friend Maggie Fleming, the most wonderful dog I have ever known, The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice was founded in March 2016 to provide safety, comfort, love, kindness and end-of-life palliative care for terminally-ill abandoned animals.

Sadly, many tens of thousands of animals are abandoned every year, and tragically some are abandoned when – often because – they are terminally-ill. With no where for them to go to receive end-of-life care, they are often killed in pounds or shelters.

My darling friend Maggie passed away very suddenly and very tragically on the 24th October 2015, and although I had made a promise that I would never leave her, she died in surgery in the vet hospital and I couldn’t be with her. The pain of that is almost too much to bear, but on the 25th October 2015 as I went to say goodbye to her for the last time, in shock and numbed by overwhelming grief, I promised her that I would try my best to do for others what I couldn’t do for her; be there for them at the end.

It is my hope that The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice will provide a place of safety and comfort in a home environment, where animals who otherwise may have been killed “unwanted” and “unloved” can live out the remainder of their lives, be that months or weeks, in peace and with love and kindness, and with tailored palliative care to make them comfortable, pain-free and to be able to enjoy their remaining days knowing they are safe and with friends who love them. They will be able to enjoy the best of life, with home comforts and safe outdoor areas where they can enjoy the breeze and the sun when they choose.

Maggie was truly the most special soul, loved by all who knew her, and I am so incredibly lucky that I was her special friend, and she mine. I will miss her until my last breath, and I can only hope that I am able to be the best I can be in her memory, inspired by her kindness and gentleness.

In ever loving memory of my beautiful friend, darling Maggie.

 

 

 

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