Fulham Man Highlights Charity's Support for Pet Owners in Crisis

Robert Ely needed help with his dog Tiger during surgery

Tiger with his owner Robert Ely

A 72-year-old man from Fulham is helping highlight the issue of desperate pet owners in crisis as charity launches new awareness campaign

When Robert Ely was told by doctors in December 2021 that he could finally have a date for hip replacement surgery, his main concern wasn’t so much the procedure he had long awaited, but rather who would look after his beloved companion and best friend, West Highland White Terrier, Tiger. After having endured over three years of considerable pain and discomfort and an increased reliance on a cane to walk, Robert was concerned about losing Tiger.

As Robert had no family members or close friends nearby to call upon for help, it was only when a local pet shop in Fulham suggested he contact Mayhew to see if they could help, that things changed for the better.

As Robert explains, “My first call with Mayhew was like a ton of bricks being lifted off my shoulders. I would have felt very alone, and even a little scared, if I wasn’t aware of Pet Refuge and the help it provides for pet owners in crisis. Mayhew’s new campaign to drive awareness for Pet Refuge will really highlight the how vital this service is for so many pet owners, just like me, across London.”

On 9 December 2021, Tiger was collected from Robert’s home by staff from Mayhew and after initially spending 11 days here, was then placed with one of the charity’s volunteer foster carers, who gave him a temporary home-from-home experience at their house in North West London.

Tiger returned home to Robert following his operation and recuperation, on 18 February 2022.


Now, a new digital marketing campaign with the strapline ‘There When Owners Need Care,’ and targeted at London pet owners who desperately need help in a crisis, aims to improve public awareness for the urgent need for temporary care and shelter for the pets of people facing a crisis, whether that be an ongoing issue or an unexpected emergency.

Mayhew understands the connection between animals and people, and its focus is about keeping pets and owners together.

Actors, including Ben Miles, a familiar face on stage and screen and himself a Mayhew supporter, Emily Raymond, and Jos Vantyler, feature as voiceovers of pets rating their experience of Pet Refuge in his original new campaign.

As Howard Bridges, Interim CEO, Mayhew, explains, “Robert and Tiger’s story really shines a light on the worrying lack of pet boarding programmes or support for pet owners in crisis and when they most need help. If people don’t know about services like Pet Refuge, there is no knowing what steps they might take that could potentially put their own health, and that of their pet, at risk.”

He continues, “It is especially important, particularly in this challenging economic climate, that older pet owners with limited financial resources know there is help available for them. Services like our Pet Refuge programme really can be life changing, as pet owners like Robert, can attest. We hope our new campaign will help to shine a light on the service and ensure desperate owners know they have somewhere to turn.”

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July 25, 2022