A Ruff (And Meow) Royal Rescue: Mayhew is a Pet’s Best Friend in England and Around the World

Jose is a dog dad to beloved pet, Bob. So attached are the pair that when Jose required treatment for an infection in his leg, he was reluctant to pursue it because he didn’t want to leave his best friend. Luckily, through Mayhew’s Pet Refuge program, Bob was taken to Mayhew’s community vet clinic, where he was given a full health check and then remained with Mayhew’s kennel team until Jose was ready to welcome him back home.

“I love Bob and don’t ever want to leave him. Having Mayhew there for him really takes all my stress away. I know Bob can stay with me for life now and I won’t have to give him up. And we can both get the help we need,” Jose says.

In addition to the Pet Refuge program, the London-based charity helps pets—and the humans that love them them—in a wide variety of ways. Mayhew’s animal welfare officers visit homeless people and their dogs to create a trusted relationship and provide health checks and microchipping. They respond to calls from the community to care for stray cats. They pair rescue dogs with loving forever homes. They give low income pet owners improved access to preventative veterinary care. And, they work internationally to help control disease and manage animal populations in vulnerable communities around the world.

It is all of these reasons, and more, that drew The Duchess of Sussex to become a Patron of Mayhew. “As a proud rescue dog owner, I know from personal experience the joy that adopting an animal into your home can bring,” said the Duchess in Mayhew’s 2018 Annual Report. “The role that we, as people, play in rehoming and rescuing these animals is vital, but the role of organizations such as Mayhew is unparalleled.”

“Our goal is to promote a better standard of welfare through community education, outreach, and engagement,” says Georgie Wishart, Mayhew’s senior digital officer.

And that standard benefits humans as much as it does cats and dogs. Through TheraPaws—Mayhew’s animal assisted intervention program—Mayhew volunteers bring dogs to senior care facilities, hospitals, and mental health facilities to lift resident and patient moods and improve their health and well-being. A study by Middlesex University demonstrated the therapeutic and transformative power of TheraPaws, including helping dementia patients recover long lost and treasured memories.

But, even more so, seeing is believing. “I’ve been able to go on visits with volunteers to dementia care homes. Watching the patients transform is incredible. I’ve witnessed people speaking after many years of not,” Wishart says.

Due to social distancing from the coronavirus pandemic, face-to-face TheraPaws visits have had to be scaled back, but Mayhew has started offering virtual TheraPaws meetings over Zoom. And, there’s another silver lining, says Wishart. “There has been a huge influx of people wishing to foster pets during Covid-19 pandemic.”

Mayhew, which receives no government funding, is supported primarily by individuals and grants. They host an annual fundraising event called Hounds on the Heath, held on Hampstead Heath in Londaon in July. Unfortunately, you cannot attend the event  this year, as it has been postponed, but you can participate in Mayhew’s weekly virtual quiz or donate to their Care Package appeal that provides supplies for vulnerable people in the community. Mayhew also raises funds through direct mail, social media, and their website, which has a wealth of information, photos and success stories to make supporting Mayhew irresistible.

The .ORG distinction is an aspect of Mayhew’s digital life that makes all the difference, says Wishart: “Those three little letters are everything, really.”

The role that we, as people, play in rehoming and rescuing these animals is vital, but the role of organizations such as Mayhew is unparalleled.
The Duchess of Sussex
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