Who doesn’t love a heartwarming story for the festive period?

Courtesy of our former E&J colleague, Ana Lapaz-Mendez, we have a touching tale of love and loss to share with you.

Having previously worked in our dedicated team as an Official Veterinarian, Ana left for pastures new several years ago and has since hit the headlines for nurturing a surprising friendship between a fox and hound.

Whilst working in a London pet clinic, Ana’s unwavering love for animals found herself caring for Jack the West Highland Terrier who was later left wheelchair-bound after a spinal tumour prevented his ability to walk.

But despite his disability, Jack soon found himself taking on the role of accidental guide dog for a friendly fox who was also admitted to Ana’s clinic after being hit by a car.

“When she arrived, she looked like she was about to die,” Ana said about Pumpkin the fox, “but she responded well to treatment and this allowed us to care for her broken legs and wounds.”

As Pumpkin became more responsive, Ana noticed that she was blind and very docile. Then, after her recovery continued, Pumpkin started to follow the sound of Jack’s wheels on every walk and the unlikely pair became the best of friends, rarely leaving each other’s side.

Sadly, Jack then died in February 2022 due to cancer in his spine.

But out of this friendship blossomed Pumpkin’s Wildlife Hospital – a charity which Ana founded with the aim to save Britain’s wildlife and raise awareness of their rights to live in a natural and protected environment.

“I think it was hard for Pumpkin because she didn’t have the sound of the wheels to follow anymore, and still, today, whenever we run into anything that has wheels, Pumpkin tries to follow it,” Ana said.

“Having Pumpkin made me realise how neglected wildlife is in Britain.

“I decided that I needed to do something to prevent more cases like Pumpkin’s, so without really knowing what I was getting myself into, I registered Pumpkin’s Wildlife Hospital.

“We have been able to raise some funds but ideally, we need a lot more money to be able to pay for specialist services like veterinary surgeons, nurses, receptionists, rehabilitators, etc.

“We are all working for free, but eventually this will need to change. It is hard, but we must make it happen because there are not enough hospitals out there for our wildlife.”

Also speaking about her time as part of the E&J family, Ana added: “I remember every moment of it, from my interview in Valencia, Spain, to my very last day.

“I was always treated fairly, and I only keep good memories from my time in the company. If I could go back, I would do it all over again.”

For more information and to make donations to Pumpkin’s Wildlife Hospital, go to www.thewildlifehospital.org.uk