PDSA celebrates 100th birthday

One hundred years ago today (17 November 1917), a sign was hung outside an east London basement inviting impoverished people to bring their sick and injured animals for free treatment.

PDSA at a glance
  • It provides 2.7 million free and reduced-cost treatments every year.
  • It treats 470,000 sick and injured pets every year.
  • It runs the world’s most prestigious animal awards programme, including the PDSA Dickin Medal – known as the animals’ Victoria Cross.

Inside, a single vet worked throughout the day, dressing wounds, fixing broken bones and dispensing medicine.

It was the birth of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) of the Poor.

Well-being charity

A century later, PDSA is the UK’s leading pet well-being charity, with 48 pet hospitals – from Aberdeen to Plymouth – dedicated to helping the UK’s most vulnerable pets.

In that time, it has provided 100 million treatments to 20 million family pets, supporting hard-pressed households throughout the country.

An early photo of PDSA vets.
An early photo of PDSA vets. IMAGE: PDSA.

Without a penny of Government funding, the charity’s hospitals see more than 5,000 pets every day – 13 every minute.

Its dedicated veterinary teams not only treat illness and injury, but help prevent pets getting sick in the first place. They also educate owners – and the wider public – to ensure beloved pets stay healthy and happy.

‘Unswerving commitment’

Reflecting on a century of progress, PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin said: “This charity was founded on the vision of one incredibly strong and determined woman – Maria Dickin.

“With few resources and precious little support, she set up our first dispensary amid the poverty and chaos of the First World War.

“With an unswerving commitment to helping the most vulnerable animals – and their hard-pressed owners – Maria built on these humble beginnings to spread the good work further afield, eventually creating a truly national charity.”

  • For more information, or to support the charity’s work, visit the PDSA website.