The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice and Karass Sanctuary
The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice and The Karass Sanctuary for Farmed Animals is a wee bit of the world where animals who have more often than not had a pretty hard time of it and not known a lot of love or kindness in their lives can lay their hats and leave the bad stuff behind them. The worst bit is over and now it's time to enjoy life and find the things that make them come alive, in a safe, loving home.
I started The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice in March 2016 in memory of my friend Maggie who died alone and in a lot of distress at the vet hospital. You can read more about Maggie here. Maggie had died alone and I thought I'd never be able to smile or laugh or love again, but although I was numb with grief, I realised I had a chance to try my best to make sure that whoever came to live and die in the hospice could have the peaceful, gentle and loving death I wished Maggie had.
When new folk arrive, I promise them that for so long as they want to be here I'll cheer them on, and when the time comes and they are ready to leave that I'll listen even if it's the last thing in the world I want to hear. Then when that time comes, I'll make their death and passing peaceful, in their home if at all possible, and be with them making it as comfortable for them as I can as they take their final steps. But until then, there are lots of adventures to go on and life to live!
The hospice and sanctuary gives life-long and end-of-life care to terminally-ill companion and farmed animals who have been abandoned in the final stages of their lives or who would otherwise have lived and died in the food system. The hospice and sanctuary Waltons-esque family - 154 at last count - is made up of hens, cockerels, sheep, pigs, cats, dogs, quail, turkeys, and as of spring 2021, nine lambs.
Comfort, kindness, respect, compassion, dignity, joy and freedom - altogether, love - make life worth living, no matter how long we get to enjoy the ride. Whatever shape carries us through this world, in my experience of facing death with so many of my friends, ultimately in life and in death we all want the same things. We seek security and comfort, contentment and security, and freedom from worry, loneliness, pain and fear.
In our society, most animals and many, many humans are denied a peaceful life and death. We shy away from death, even though it's one of the only certainties in life, but in my experience of facing death alongside my friends time and time again, it's not a scary, traumatic thing, or at least it doesnae have to be. It's a lovely thing to be able to give someone a good life, a good death, and a good bye.