The speaker at Kirriemuir Probus Club’s recent meeting was Gavin Wood, a veterinary surgeon with PDSA.
The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals was founded in 1917 by animal welfare pioneer Maria Dickin to provide free treatment for sick and injured animals belonging to the poor.
She worked to improve the dreadful state of animal health in the Whitechapel area of London and the first free clinic was an immediate success.
A fleet of mobile dispensaries was also established and eventually, PDSA’s role was defined by two Acts of Parliament, in 1949 and 1956, that continue to govern its activities today.
The organisation is now the UK’s largest employer of fully qualified veterinary surgeons and nurses.
The country’s ninth-largest charity, it is entirely funded by donations. Those eligible to make use of its services are households on benefits, whose pets receive free treatment.
Recently, with the aim of improving animal welfare, it has begun to offer vaccination, neutering and micro-chipping services, which are charged at cost price. Training is also offered.
Gavin explained his day-to-day work, and gave an insight into dealing with some of the more challenging cases brought about by a minority of owners who don’t take sufficient responsibility for their pets’ well-being.
He pointed out that the number of treatments carried out has increased by 50 per cent in the last seven years, and how it would be impossible to continue to sustain such increases without changes.
Many questions posed throughout the talk were answered considerately, and Jim Smith gave a vote of thanks for a most interesting meeting.