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Dog lover who relied on Blue Cross leaves generous legacy

Joan Dorothy Barton with one of her many beloved dogs.

A dog lover whose beloved pets were cared for by Blue Cross vets and nurses has remembered our charity by leaving an extremely generous legacy to help animals in need.

Mrs Joan Dorothy Barton, who passed away in September 2016 aged 81, kept dogs for the best part of 60 years and each of them was a central and most important part of her family.

When her pets became unwell or needed routine treatment, Mrs Barton brought them to our Victoria animal hospital in central London for our vets to give them the help they needed.

Mrs Barton’s friend and executor, Father John Walker of St John’s Parish in south London, said: “[Joan] and her husband did not have any children and Joan’s dogs were always – for the best part of 60 years – a very important part of her life. Yorkies and Chihuahuas her much loved companions and all of them spoilt beyond imagining.

“Down all those years when her pets were unwell she went to the Blue Cross in Victoria and sang their praises to everyone she spoke to for the care her dogs received and the kindness and compassion shown to her.”

Mrs Barton lived an exciting and glamorous life as a young woman and worked as a model in high-class salons on Oxford Street in the 1950s and early 60s, and socialised with high society and famous faces of the day, as well as the Kray brothers. A working class lady, Mrs Barton was not wealthy but wanted to give back to the charity who had helped her and her pets during her lifetime by gifting her flat to Blue Cross on her death.

Father Walker added: “Despite the ‘high’ life Joan lived as a young woman there was never a great deal of money and certainly not in her later years – the one asset that she had – her flat – bought from the council many years ago – was – in her mind earmarked for the Blue Cross. To Joan it was her way of saying thank you for all the help and support she had received – and a means too of helping others like her – without much money – who would be able to use the services of Blue Cross for many years to come.”

In her later years, Mrs Barton used our animal ambulance service to seek treatment for her Yorkshire terrier, Kim. The service, where we collect the pets of people who are unable to bring their pets to our hospital due to illness or disability, offers a lifeline to owners whose pets need veterinary attention but cannot make the journey to our hospital.

Angela Glassgow, Ambulance Supervisor at our Victoria animal hospital, said: “Mrs Barton was a lovely lady who loved her dog, Kim, and animals in general very much and I am sad to hear she has passed away. She was an active member of her community and referred people to our services. I enjoyed our phone calls and she will be missed.”

We are ever so grateful to Mrs Barton for her kind gift, which will indeed make sure that a great many more pets and their owners can benefit from treatment.

Emma Colborne, Head of Legacy Administration at Blue Cross, said: “Mrs Barton was well known to our Victoria hospital and it was humbling for us to discover she respected our veterinary service so much that she has remembered Blue Cross in her Will. Her legacy will ensure other sick and injured pets receive the same care as her many dogs did over the years and we are extremely grateful for that.”

Find out more about leaving a gift in your Will.