With everything going on in the world, it’s nice to be able to share a bit of heartwarming news. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home will name its new veterinary hospital after the late Paul O’Grady, who was an ambassador for the animal home and died aged 67 in March.
O’Grady, a famous dog lover, became an ambassador for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in 2012 after presenting ITV’s award-winning ‘For The Love of Dogs’, much of which was filmed at the centre.
After the presenter’s death in March 2023 the charity set up a ‘tribute fund’ in his honour which has raised £480,000 so far. On what would have been O’Grady’s eleventh anniversary working with the home, the charity announced that funds raised would be spent on ‘life-saving and transformative medical procedures’ for dogs and cats that need specialist care.
Five other animal charities that were close to O’Grady’s heart will also be given £20,000 each from the fund. Those charities include Freshfields Animal Rescue, Carla Lane Animals In Need, The Oldies Club and StreetVet, an organisation that provides veterinary care to pets of people experiencing homelessness.
‘Seeing how loved Paul was loved by so many has been truly touching,’ O’Grady’s husband Andre Portasio said. ‘Paul was so passionate in his support of rescue animals, and it gives me some comfort to know that through the hard work and commitment of Battersea and other charities Paul’s legacy will live on.’
He added: ‘I know that Paul would have been pleased to know that the most disadvantaged animals he was so fond of championing are getting the love and support they deserve.’
The chief executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Peter Laurie, said: ‘We’ve been overwhelmed and deeply touched by the generous donations from thousands of people following the death of our beloved ambassador, Paul O’Grady. It really is a testament to how loved Paul was, and we shall always be forever grateful for everything he did for us.
‘As an ambassador for Battersea, especially during his 11 years filming For The Love Of Dogs, Paul helped animals in their recuperation from surgery, and at times, watched as they headed off-site for specialist surgery; naming our veterinary hospital after Paul, therefore, feels fitting.’
He added: ‘Paul was always a champion of the underdog, and we’ll be carrying on his legacy, by ensuring we use the funding to go the extra mile for animals that need costly surgery, medication or rehabilitation.’
Listen to Time Out’s brilliant new podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’: episode 11 with Ania Magliano in Haggerston is out now.
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