Romford PDSA lend a helping paw to pet owners
18:26 14 April 2014
For 97 years the PDSA has been providing free care to the sick and injured pets of those in need and the Romford branch provide essential care to animals and owners free of charge.
This year the PDSA will provide more than 2.3 million free treatments to sick and injured pets and more than 420,000 preventive treatments across the country.
Here in Romford the PetAid hospital treated over 8,000 pets and dispensed nearly 70,000 treatments in 2013 and they regularly see more than 100 animals a day.
The ‘People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals of the poor’ was founded in 1917 by Maria Dickin after her pet Yorkshire terrier became ill.
Maria was distraught and luckily for her she could afford to treat her poorly pooch but her mind turned to those less financially secure and how they would feel in a similar position.
“How dreadful for the animal and the owner” she said “The whole problem haunted me; someone had to do something to help. I decided it was up to me to make a start.”
And start she did, on Saturday 17 November 1917, after a long struggle for recognition and funding Maria Dickin opened her first PDSA hospital outside a dimly lit cellar in the Whitechapel district of London.
A notice outside read: “Bring your sick animals. Do not let them suffer. All animals treated. All treatment free.”
At first Londoners were apparently a little suspicious of the free services being offered but gradually began to flock to the tiny cellar dispensary.
Soon police were needed to control the crowds and larger premises had to be found to accommodate the treatment of over one hundred animals a day.
Now the PDSA is the largest provider of free pet health care in the United Kingdom and provides an essential service to needy pet owners.
Client services manager at Romford, Lizzie Oxley said: “Our branch here in Romford is exceptionally busy at times, we treat a large number of dogs and cats from the area as well as other animals. Our work is solely funded by donations and the health care we provide for eligible owners and pets is essential.”
They treat animals like Jasmine from Romford, a ten year old west highland terrier who was diagnosed with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) last year.
This is a condition where an animal is unable to properly digest food due to a lack of enzymes made by the pancreas.
Unfortunately the disease is incurable but thanks to the hospital on Danes Road, she was provided with the medication she will need for the rest of her life to live normally.
Jasmine’s owner Sara Neaves, 45, said: “She would always be hungry but always had an upset tummy. On some days she was also sick. I was really worried about Jasmine and I knew something was seriously wrong, I just didn’t know what it was.
“Jasmine is doing so well at the moment, she’s a healthy weight and very lively. Without her tablets she would be very ill so it’s vital she has these every day. I don’t know what I would do without the support of PDSA. The care the staff have given Jasmine has been absolutely amazing and I can’t thank them enough.”
Romford PDSA is known as the Julie and Robert Breckman Centre thanks to its generous benefactors and costs around £1m annually to deliver the required pet services for the area.
For £10 per month animal lovers can sponsor the treatment of a poorly pet in need of continuous medication and veterinary care.
By joining PDSA’s Sponsor Me Better programme supporters receive regular updates about their chosen pet’s progress.
For more information visit pdsa.org.uk or call 0800 731 2502