Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice in Mansfield, England is a dog-care home and probably the first of its kind. A retired nurse, Nicola Coyle, founded it to take care of a large number of abandoned dogs that were in their final days.
Coyle, 46, who runs the project from home in Mansfield, says, “It can be an utterly heartbreaking job. But I just can’t bear the thought of them spending their final moments without the love they deserve.”
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The hospice, which she started about two years ago, was intended to provide the best possible experience for dogs who were on their last legs. The animals get to enjoy steak dinners, trips to McDonald’s, trips to the seaside, police car rides, and birthday parties.
In particular, Coyle’s hospice takes in dogs that have six months to live or less.
The dog lover has been taking care of dogs for much earlier than this, as she once worked as a nurse in dog rescue. After retirement, she decided to focus on taking care of dogs nearing their expiration date. They include dogs from dog pounds, as well as guard dogs that were abandoned by their owners and left to survive on their own.
“We’ll also take them down to the local pub—it’s really dog-friendly, and they’ll get a steak dinner too,” says Coyle. “Many have not led a very nice life too, used for breeding or guard dogs, so when they’ve become unwell, they’re not useful anymore and left.”
Many of the dogs’ actual birthdays are not known, but they all receive big birthday parties all the same along with their very own cake to go with it.
Coyle is committed to making the remainder of their lives the best part. Most of the dogs are sick, and she has helped some beat the odds, get better, and even live longer.
“The longest I had one is one year, the shortest was two weeks,” she adds. “It’s so rewarding when you can make those times special. I don’t know when their birthdays are, so we throw all of them a birthday party.”
Coyle looks after two or three dogs at a time and spends up to $500 for each dog. Most of the funds come out of her own pocket, but she also organizes fundraisers and receives donations from people who wish to support her project through PayPal.
Sometimes, she goes a step further to arrange foster homes for the animals that survive beyond their expected lifespan.
“They just want to feel loved and safe. I really believe they should get a nice ending,” says Coyle.