Regrettably, as dogs grow old or fall ill, it increasingly becomes a financial burden for their owners to cover the costs of necessary treatments. Consequently, many elderly animals find themselves surrendered to animal shelters, spending their final days in a chilly kennel. However, a former nurse from the UK has taken a compassionate stand by establishing England’s first dog hospice, aiming to bring some joy to these unfortunate souls before they embark on their final journey.
Nicola Coyle, a 46-year-old resident of Mansfield, UK, has dedicated herself to improving the twilight years of sick dogs. In June 2017, she founded the “Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project” specifically catering to senior dogs. Alongside her two children, Harvey (14) and Olivia (15), Nicola rescues older or terminally ill dogs from animal shelters, offering them a loving home where the entire family provides dedicated care. However, Nicola sets one condition for the dogs seeking refuge in her hospice—they must have a life expectancy of no more than six months.
“It’s an emotionally challenging task, but I can’t bear the thought of dogs leaving this world without the love they deserve,” expresses the compassionate animal lover.
Yet, Nicola’s efforts go beyond providing a sheltered home. She curates a bucket list for each resident, filled with activities that warm a dog’s heart. From beach walks to indulging in steak dinners at restaurants, from enjoying lunch at McDonald’s to celebrating birthdays with cake and parties—Nicola ensures that each dog experiences moments of joy.
“I never know their actual birthdays, so I throw them each a birthday party,” Nicola reveals in an interview.
To date, Nicola has brought happiness to over 30 senior dogs through her extraordinary efforts. When one of her beloved charges passes away, their remains are respectfully cremated and their urns find a place in a memorial room within her home.
“These dogs simply yearn for love and a sense of safety. I firmly believe they deserve a happy ending.”