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Love, hope and charity: how low-cost veterinary clinics make a difference


This month, an owner explains how a charitable clinic has been vital in supporting her and her dog, Piper

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What can help your approach

  • Stories like this one remind us just how much many of our clients appreciate what we do. Keep that in mind if you’re having a bad day at work.

  • Emotional support for owners facing difficult decisions and poor prognoses is an invaluable part of the service we provide. Covid-19 presents barriers to this, and we need to think creatively as a profession about how these can be overcome.

  • PDSA was founded in 1917 by Maria Dickin. Today the charity provides free or reduced-cost care for over 470,000 eligible pets per year through a network of 48 PDSA pet hospitals across the UK. You can read more about what the charity does and who qualifies for their treatment at

To tell a story, you must start at the beginning, but this is no ordinary story. This is a story of love, forgiveness and hope.

My life truly began almost 12 years ago when I met my truest and greatest love, my dog Piper.

Before I met Piper, I’d lost all hope, and some days all I saw in my future was darkness. I couldn’t find my way forward – I was so lost and misunderstood, and I struggled to forgive any of my past. But, from the minute I held her, I knew that Piper would change my life for the better – and she did.

Piper taught me love, compassion and forgiveness, and she gave me back the hope I’d lost so long ago. She has also taught me that the greatest achievements in life aren’t to do with how much money you have or how successful you’ve been, they’re to do with the struggles you’ve faced and overcome.

Piper has shown me what it’s like to love and to be loved. To love her is my greatest achievement and my truest joy. She is my inner compass, my ray of light and my beacon of hope.

However, my hope was tested three years ago when Piper became very ill. She was drinking a lot and being repeatedly sick. I was so scared. I couldn’t afford to take her to a vet, and I was afraid I’d lose her. I didn’t know what I was going to do. But then, thanks to PDSA, I was given a hand of hope.

Piper was diagnosed with diabetes, and I was told that she would need insulin injections every 12 hours for the rest of her life. She’s going blind because of her diabetes, and there is sometimes blood in her urine, which sends fear throughout my body. But, because of the support of PDSA, she’s now living a comfortable life.

The staff at the clinic saved Piper’s life, and, for that, I will forever be indebted to each and every one of them

Piper is my home and my heart. The staff at the clinic saved her life, and, for that, I will forever be indebted to each and every one of them. I’ve never in my life met a group of people with such compassion and dedication to healing all animals. I see in them the courage, the fight and the love I see in Piper. They deserve the utmost respect.

Sometimes we face challenges with our pets’ health, and we may find ourselves in a situation where we can’t see a way out. At times like these, vets and vet nurses are there to show us that there is always a way forward. They give 100 per cent each and every time, and, as an owner, you should do the same.

After all, if PDSA has taught me anything when it comes to my love for Piper, it’s that, in the end, ‘everything will be okay’.

Do you want to get involved?

If you know a client who might be interested in writing for us, please contact us at Any contributions will be assessed by the column’s veterinary coordinator, Zoe Belshaw.

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