Having a pet can be very fulfilling in a life of a human, especially when taking care of a dog. This animal shows incredible appreciation to its owner by immense loyalty and it would even give its own life.
However, not many dog owners are conscientious and abandon their pets when they are old or sick or in the worst case scenario because they are bored of taking care of them. Once the illnesses start to appear they do not want to bother with them and give them to the animal shelters for euthanasia. The apathy of the dogs is not terminated immediately but they stay in misery waiting for their last days to come. Some of the owners are even so cruel that they left them alone in the street to die.
The number for euthanized dogs and cats is very high, namely in 2011 almost 2.6 million dogs and cats were euthanized by animal shelters as per the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Fortunately, there is a progress in this rate and it got reduced to 1.5 million, thanks to the increased adoption and recovery rates. But, we can do better as this figure is still very high and disturbing.
The New Canine Hope – The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project
The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project was founded by 46-year-old Nicola Coyle who is retired nurse. Nicola lives in the U.K. and the hospice project was initially set up in her home. She is a great lover of animals and the idea of leaving animals to die alone was terrifying, therefore she decided to take care of the sick, abandoned and dying dogs.
She visited shelters, pounds, and other charities and rescued dogs that did not have much time left on this planet. This nurse wanted to make their last days happy and fulfilling and not to die lonely, scared and miserable in some depressing shelters. She took them home and offered her unconditional love so that they enjoy their last days of living in a home full of love. Her children helped her a lot in this project who also loved these animals very much.
This project has been running out of Nicola’s home for several years, but in the last year this hospice was made official. Naturally, she cannot take all the animals at once at her home but chooses the ones that have only six months to live and takes two at a time and offers them the best care and pamper. The dogs are fed with doggy treats, steak dinners, ice-cream muzzles, and they have their own birthday parties with cake mashes.
They are being cuddled and loved all day long till the day they die. Nicola says it is a hard and stressful job but she does it with great joy and she is never sorry for her choices.
She stated the following in Metro UK:
“It can be an utterly heartbreaking job, but someone has to do it. I’m a complete animal lover and I just can’t bear the thought of them spending their final days, weeks or months without the love they deserve. It can be really tough, but ultimately it’s so rewarding when you can make those times special.”
The Hospice Still Survives Thanks to Donations
Nicola started this project alone and offered her recued dogs their best remaining days of life. She has spent approximately £500 on each dog so that it spends its last days of life in great comfort and enjoyment. Nicola was never sorry about the money, but a year ago she started to accept donations from other dog-lovers which contributed to better life of these animals. The money were spent on medical bills, bucket lists, dog treats, birthday parties, accessories and transportation to her home.
She does a great job as many of the stray dogs that have not been rescued by Nicola are either slated or euthanized within seven days. She chooses the ones that need the most care and keeps them till they die. Some of them are being buried in her garden and some of them are being cremated.
Nicola says: “We’ve got about 20 buried my garden, as well as my parents’ garden. It was getting a bit ridiculous. I couldn’t fit more in the garden so I’ve got about 10 urns in my house.”
Some of the dogs thanks to the good care can live up to a year and some unfortunate ones hold on up to two weeks. Here it is how Nicola makes their remaining days unforgettable.
“I think the longest I’ve had one is around one year and the shortest was about two weeks,” she says. “I don’t know when their birthdays are so we make sure we throw all of them birthday party. If they’re well enough, we take them for a day at the seaside, they get fish and chips on the beach and ice cream. We’ll also take them down to the local pub, it’s really dog-friendly, and they’ll get a steak dinner too.”
As we said before Nicola does not take care of the dogs alone, her children Harry and Olivia, 14 and 15 years old are her greatest support. There is also her best friend, Lisa Emmans who helps her with this project and because of that she managed to keep this project on so long, of course with the help of the donations. Although many dogs have passed her home for each one she feels great love and sorrow once it is gone. But, her satisfaction is the knowledge that she offered all she could to them emotionally and physically.
It is inevitable to get strongly attached to the dying dogs, and every time they lose one of them their hearts are getting broken. The only comfort they have is that they know that they have done their best and there is another one coming that needs their love.
Joanne Smith of Helping Yorkshire Poundies recognizes the work of Nicola, stating the following:
“Nicola does an amazing job, taking in dogs when they’ve been kicked out by their owners’ right at the very end of their lives – giving them the love and care most have never received previously in their lives.
The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project is an astonishing idea of Nicola and thanks to its existence many British dogs spent their last days in loving surrounding contrary to the cold, hard floors of animal shelters.