A year on: The memorial for Bella although a fitting tribute to her life, for me a personally was a very difficult time. I miss Bella as if I have lost an arm or a leg. I am angry, determined to make sure that animals in this country are protected from unnecessary death and suffering as a result of dirty hygiene in veterinary practices. So the update for July, August and September did not appear for two reasons, one that I was grieving and secondly the charity work has now become almost full time for me and my other trustee Mark Dosher. On August 21st, almost a year to the day after losing my beloved companion and friend Bella Louise Moss I planted a white cherry blossom tree in her garden.
Those who had helped us in our cause, or had been helped to deal with MRSA infections in their own pets came to honour Bella’s memory and show their support. Although it was a sombre event, and particularly poignant to me, it was also an opportunity to celebrate the recovery that other pets had made and for those who had been involved in the work of the Foundation over the last year to meet. I’d like to give a big THANK YOU to Richard Allport for being able to come to the Memorial and for the time he spent talking to everyone, to Our Dogs, Your Dog and Dogs Today for their coverage of the event, and to the National and Local press for their support of the event and the issues of MRSA in pets (particular the Daily Mail and The Sunday Times for their detailed articles).
It was also very gratifying to see so many contributors to the Forum at the Memorial; the forum is there for everyone to raise issues on animal welfare, so please keep contributing. Full coverage of the Memorial can be found on the websites.
Me (centre) with other pet owners at the Memorial for Bella in August
I am delighted to say that we now have an official Representative to the United States. Kim Bloomer of Aspen Bloom natural health care for animals) who has been in very close contact with us over the last year or so, has accepted the role of Official Representative of The Bella Moss Foundation. Kim will work to raise the issue to pet owners and vets in the US. Kim is committed to animal welfare and is involved in numerous projects aimed at improving the lives of pets in America. Those who know tell us that the problem with MRSA is much worse in the United States than here, and we expect Kim to become a powerful voice on our behalf.
One of Kim’s first events for The Bella Moss Foundation was an Internet conference on MRSA and animals to which I was able to contribute. The event was recorded, and a link to the recording is on the websites. We also have plans to collaborate on online radio events in the future. This was followed by a fundraising event organised by Kim with the author, Nani Aki Linder, who donated all of the royalties from a day’s sale of her book Trial By Fire: A True Story Of Hope. This was an incredibly generous offer from Nani and I am extremely grateful for her interest and support.
Speaking of gratitude, I want to say Thank You to Chris Lawrence of the Dogs’ Trust. Over the last year, but particularly the last six months or so, he has been a tremendous support and source of good advice, and without him things would have been so much more difficult. I was able to meet with the President of the British Veterinary Association, Dr Freda Scott-Park. This was a great opportunity to share thoughts and ideas about the need to act together in improving veterinary awareness and practice, and we had a thorough exchange of views.
What was particularly exciting was the discovery that we actually agree on a many more things than we might have at first thought. It was a good meeting and I look forward to working with Dr Scott Park in the future. Thanks to all of the pet owners who took the time to contribute testimonials to the websites. It’s such a relief to know of so many pets that have recovered from MRSA infections.
However, we have now heard of a third dog to die from the effects of an MRSA infection. Last December, Rupert died from the effects of infection following surgery to remove a cyst. His story can be found in the Testimonials, but Rupert’s image will be a centrepiece of the displays at the Conference on MRSA and Pets that we are organising with the University of Liverpool.
This Conference, which will be the first International conference on MRSA and animals, will be held in Liverpool next June. It will have some of the most respected and prominent figures from the veterinary world speaking and some of the most up-to-date research and clinical approaches will be described and discussed. Aimed at practicing vets and researchers, the conference will cover new research and clinical issues and will make a significant contribution to the veterinary world’s approach to the problem.
As a further part of our educational work, we have been in contact with a number of veterinary training schools to develop educational input to students on the experience that pet owners have of vets and vet nurses. We want to broaden the understanding of veterinary professional in order to reduce the likelihood of problems arising from misunderstanding and confusion. As part of the process of making our information as accurate as possible, we now submit all of our fact sheets and awareness posters to the RVC for approval, so whilst there may be typos and small inaccuracies in some places on the website, documents intended for downloading and printing (our PDFs) have now all been approved by Royal Veterinary College staff.
In September I accepted an invitation to attend a rally of the Samoyed Rescue Society held in the midlands. This was a great event, but again for me personally a very difficult day. Seeing so many Samoyed dogs tore at my heart. The day gave me a chance to spread the word and raise awareness amongst many pet owners and I later learnt of two 10-year-old Samoyed’s brother and sister who had become homeless after ten years of living with a family who had gone bankrupt.
I am glad to say that after three months of living in kennels. Mishka and Simba have now been re-homed with a lovely couple and are as we speak being spoiled in a big house in the in the Wirral. I want to thank everyone that I contacted who tried to help in this project.
Jill with Samoyeds
I’ve been able to attend other events around the country; particularly the Wag and Bone show at Windsor Great Park (and a massive thanks to Richard Allport for sharing his stand with us) and Discover Dogs at Earls Court in November.
Quistel, a company that produces cleansing and anti-microbial products, has been a tremendous support to us, and I am very grateful to Robert Klass for all the help he has given us on behalf of Quistel in raising awareness on MRSA in pets and animals. The public response has been overwhelming, so many people I have met at dog shows throughout the country have told me they have read and followed the story of Bella for the past year through the national and animal welfare press and through our work have become greater informed on the issues that we campaign for.
From L-R; Jill at Discover Dogs with Quistel staff Tracey, Robert and Tony
I have been invited to join MRSA Support UK to deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street, and I hope to make a lot more contacts as a result of that. More academic papers have gone up on PETS-MRSA.com for those that are interested. Now that we are heavily involved in presenting a Conference next year, as well as all our other work, we will probably now limit our updates to every quarter. Important news items will be publicised separately and we will continue with our occasional Editorials, so keep visiting the websites.
President and Founder
The Bella Moss Foundation.