Maria Dickin founded the charity on November 17, 1917.
The daughter of a Free Church minister, Maria saw many pets in need of desperate veterinary care whilst visiting the East End of London.
She would ultimately open The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals of the Poor there, in a basement in Whitechapel.
There was great demand for free animal care. Soon Maria had to seek bigger premises.
Then, she introduced mobile dispensaries. These travelled up and down the country, educating owners and providing care for their pets.
The “Friend” has always promoted and supported animal welfare.
The “Pets & Vets” page is popular with our readers, and I enjoyed reading about Pets As Therapy, the charity that organises pets and their owners to visit hospitals and care homes, providing friendship and helping to improve the lives of people with mental and physical health problems.
From a young age, I have always loved animals.
The unconditional love they show their owners is extraordinary. And all they ask in return is to be cared for and loved back.
People often to ask: what do you prefer, cats or dogs? My answer is always the same – both. Growing up, I’ve had more experience with dogs. But that doesn’t mean to say I don’t like cats, some of the most affectionately intelligent of all pets.
I’ve also worked with horses. In my mind, they are just as much pets as they are working animals.
Animals are great levellers.
You might have the world on your shoulders, but spending a few minutes in the company of a pet will calm your spirit.
For more on the “Friend” and our connection with our pets, click here.