Joyce Battey was passionate about animals and supported many animal protection organisations, including the BUAV.
She was born in Rochdale, Lancashire and moved to Sheffield in her teens where she met and married her husband Lawrence. They had two daughters and moved to Litton, Derbyshire in 1975.
Joyce loved dogs; she had her first dog, Panda, when she was just 13, and shared her life with a number of dogs over the years. They became the focus of her life and she wouldn’t go anywhere without them. She was a keen walker and became a familiar figure walking in the fields in and around Litton. Towards the end of her life Joyce became the proud companion of a flat coated retriever, Fleur, who is sitting next to her in the photograph.
Over the years, Joyce raised funds for the many animal causes she supported. “Joyce’s animal stall” was well known in the local area and people would flock to purchase the many pieces of bric-a-brac that had been donated.
Sadly Joyce passed away in February 2013 and is missed by all her family and friends. Her daughters and grand-daughter still live in Litton and continue to raise money for the animal protection organisations she supported.
Joyce had a strong faith and worshipped at the local Methodist Chapel every week. She wrote a number of poems which reflect her love of animals and her faith. These have recently been compiled in a book named “Completely Joyce” and the proceeds from the sales of her book are being shared between Litton Methodist Chapel and a variety of animal protection groups, including the BUAV.
When I found Milly on the internet she was listed merely as a quiet 6 year old ex-breeding dog that had been left at a local rescue home. When I went to see her, she was very underweight, had eye and ear infections, skin problems and a cataract in her left eye. I could see that she had suffered negligence for the profit of her owners and that she needed someone to help her. She hadn’t even had a name until she was rescued. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I had left without her.
Milly was always a very special dog. She never complained if she was ill and never wanted to play because she didn’t know how. She was happy to sit next to me on a sofa, because she’d never had that before. Even with everything that she had been through, Milly was able to trust and love me. In fact she loved everyone, and it seemed wherever we went people knew that she was a dog that loved attention. Just because a dog has been mistreated and might be more nervous than other dogs, doesn’t mean they can’t be your best friend.
Over the years Milly needed various trips to the vet, which she never seemed to mind. She needed to be spayed, needed some teeth out, had a few infections and needed her annual booster vaccinations. I just did what I needed to do because she was my friend, whether it was paying the bill or staying up with her all night to make sure she was comfortable. Then came the day I was not looking forward to. Milly’s left eye began to get sore and the vet said that she had signs of glaucoma, which would be very painful for her unless the eye was removed. The operation was, however, a success and after about two weeks she was back to her usual bouncy self.
I thought that we would just carry on as normal, like we had after every other treatment she’d had. But it became clear that the vision in Milly’s remaining eye was also starting to suffer, and after a trip to a specialist vet I learned that she would probably only have 18 months of vision left at the most. In my mind it was just another bump in the road that we would learn to deal with and I would just be there for her and do whatever was needed.
A few months later and totally out of nowhere, Milly began to limp on one of her back legs and the next day it was both back legs. The vet initially diagnosed early onset of arthritis, but just a few days later she wasn’t even able to stand. I took her back with every intention of getting her fixed up and back to her normal self. But the vet believed that something serious was wrong with her spine, and the road back to health would be difficult and improbable.
On January 17th I lost my friend, for whom I did everything I could. It makes me angry to think that I had so little time with her, and that she had to go through so much loneliness and suffering as a money making puppy farm dog. I have every intention of rescuing more dogs, and would urge anyone who is looking for a dog to consider the same. The work that the BUAV is doing for dogs in similar or worse situations is making such a difference to the lives of animals. I am grateful for my time with Milly, and I know she was grateful for her time with me.