Just imagine the situation. You are getting older and are not in the best of health. You live alone with your beloved dog, your constant companion and friend since your husband died some years ago. Sometimes you think he’s the only thing that keeps you sane. But there’s one problem that’s destroying your peace of mind. That keeps you awake at night.
You’re finding it harder and harder to get about. The doctor is suggesting residential care but you can’t bear to be parted from your pet. And, you have to face it, even should you remain at home, what will happen when you die? Who will look after him? How will he cope? This is the agonising problem that faces many elderly people. Those who become terminally ill confront the same difficulty, have similar fears and worries.
This is where the Cinnamon Trust comes in. I came across it almost by chance when I was researching something else on the net. It’s the only specialist national charity with the sole aim of helping older people, and those who are terminally ill, to ensure that their pets are well looked after when they can no longer care for them. I’m amazed to discover that in the UK at least, it’s the only charity working quietly in this crucially important but almost invisible area.
The trust was founded nearly thirty years ago by Mrs Avril Jarvis, and named after her much-loved corgi – Cinnamon. It’s stated aim is ‘to respect and preserve the treasured relationship between owners and their pets.’ It works in partnership with owners, solving any difficulties that arise. Avril Jarvis says she has known many elderly people who have, quite literally, lost the will to live when their pets have died, but have been too worried about what might happen after their own deaths to acquire new animals.
With this in mind, the Trust enables owners to hand their pets over to the Trust before they die, or on their death, so that they have the comfort of knowing not only that their companion will be well cared for but also who will be doing the caring. Younger animals are fostered long-term with financial help from the charity or matched with distressed owners whose pets have died. Older ones live out their days comfortably in one of the trust’s two unique sanctuaries in Devon and Cornwall.
What makes these sanctuaries so special is that they replicate, as far as is possible, a proper home. Instead of kennels or cages there are sofas and armchairs, rugs and cushions. Even TVs. Everything these pets would have been used to. The Trust does more than provide sanctuary and match pets with new owners. An army of volunteers, the length and breadth of Britain, come to the rescue in all sorts of situations. From short term fostering when someone is in hospital to walking a dog for a housebound couple, to driving a pet to the vet or shopping for supplies.
If I ever win the lottery, there will be a shed load of money coming their way.