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Cumbrian woman to receive award for her dedication to animal rescue
3:49pm Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
A CUMBRIAN woman is to receive a special award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the House of Lords, in recognition of her dedication to animal rescue.
Animal lover Elizabeth McDonagh, 56, from Hethersgill, has been rescuing and rehoming animals for around 20 years and in 2007 set up the Penny Jones Animal Hospice, named after a terminally ill dog owner who appealed for someone to look after her two beloved border collies when she needed to move to a hospice herself.
Knowing that her much-loved pets would be safe and cared for with Elizabeth, Penny began responding to treatment and lived for another year, during which time Elizabeth was able to take the dogs to visit her and, when well enough, Penny could come to her home to spend time with them.
Elizabeth recognised the need for permanent homes for the pets of other terminally ill people who, like Penny, faced additional distress over future provision for their animals. After sharing her idea with Penny before she died, she has since taken in many more pets from owners in similar circumstances, and continues where possible to take the animals to visit their owners who may also be in a hospice. She also sends photos and newsletters to keep them updated on their pets.
More than 600 dogs and cats have been rehomed by Elizabeth over the years and her four-acre home is also a permanent retirement sanctuary to many of the pets she has offered a second home to. At the moment she lives with almost 90 animals, from dogs and cats to rabbits, guinea pigs, lizards, horses and donkeys.
Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “Elizabeth’s hospice offers refuge to all kinds of animals as well as providing peace of mind to the owners that can sadly no longer keep them. She is inspirational and a very deserving winner of IFAW’s Animal Rescue Award.”
Elizabeth said: “I never expected to get any reward for what I do and was really shocked to hear I had won! What I find most fulfilling about my work is to see an animal that has suffered really turn around when they are given a chance. With the hospice work, it can be very upsetting but it is nice to be able to take away the worry about what will happen to a person’s pets when they can no longer care for them at home.”
Elizabeth will receive her award at IFAW’s prestigious Animal Action Awards event, hosted by Baroness Gale and presented by TV wildlife presenter Bill Oddie at the House of Lords on October 22.
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