Island vets sorry for failing to visit home of paraplegic man with dying dog

·3-min read
Damien Lewington with the late dog, Aurora. <i>(Image: Paul Lewington.)</i>
Damien Lewington with the late dog, Aurora. (Image: Paul Lewington.)

A ‘CHRONICALLY understaffed’ Isle of Wight veterinary practice has apologised for being unable to provide a home visit euthanasia service – a limitation it ‘does not like and is working tirelessly to fix’.

Anne Lewington’s son, Paul, is a paraplegic single parent with an autistic son.

On March 8, he awoke to find his pet dog Aurora had fallen terribly ill.

The good-natured mastiff crossbreed was 13 years old and already struggling, so Paul had prepared himself for the inevitable.

But when it came to getting her to the vets for one final farewell, Paul was at a loss.

He was aware of a new policy at Carisbrooke Vets which meant they were no longer making home visits, but he was unable to drive and couldn’t lift the dog in any case.

He hoped the vets would make an exception for him, especially given his close proximity to the site, but they could not, and Paul was stuck with a suffering animal with no means of taking her to surgery.

Isle of Wight County Press: Paul Lewington's late dog, Aurora.
Isle of Wight County Press: Paul Lewington's late dog, Aurora.

Paul Lewington's late dog, Aurora. (Image: Paul Lewington.)

“It was at this stage that Paul phoned me,” said Ann, who can no longer drive due to her eyesight.

“I told him to phone the RSPCA and advised him to phone his son’s school.

“His son, Damien, was extremely distressed and unintentionally making the situation more stressful.

“Paul tried Carisbrooke Vets again, and they told them there might be a possibility of a visit later in the morning.

“In the end, a teacher from OEA Alternative Provision school and one of Paul’s friends helped put the dog in the car while another teacher took care of Damien, who is still traumatised by what happened.

“Paul was able to wheel to the vets, just a short distance from his home, to be with Aurora and say goodbye to his beloved pet.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the OEA staff who helped Paul, Damien and Aurora.

“I should also like to ask any vet reading this to reconsider the policy of no home visits if they are considering adopting one.

“I really do believe any vet who refuses to come out to relieve the suffering of an animal on their books is failing in their duty of care.

“There are people in wheelchairs being given ability dogs, dogs for the blind.

“What will their situation be? Are they going to be left suffering because their owners cannot get them to the surgery?”

What the Carisbrooke Vets said

“We are very sad that this client feels he was let down when he needed us, and offer our sincere apologies for this,” said a spokesperson for the veterinary practice.

“We also extend our condolences for the loss of his pet.

“Unfortunately, over the last few years, we, like vet practices across the whole country, have been chronically understaffed, and so providing home visits has become very difficult most days, and impossible on others.

“This is not a situation that we like, and we have been working tirelessly to remedy the situation.

“We hope to be able to provide a home visit euthanasia service in specific situations in the near future.

“We are available 24 hours a day to clients for their pets, and also to the farming community on the Island, but given the scope of work, we often have to ask clients to transport their pets to us in emergencies so that we can treat them as quickly and thoroughly as possible.”