Michelle's story

Our Pet Loss Support (PLS) service is celebrating 30 years of helping people with the trauma of losing a pet, whether through death, rehoming, theft or other loss.

We spoke to Michelle Weller, for whom the service has been a lifeline.

Springer spaniel Bailey gazes at his grinning owner Michelle as the sun lights both their faces
Bailey and Michelle spent every spare moment together

“Nothing prepares you for losing your best friend,” says Michelle Weller. “Bailey was more than my shadow – if he could’ve crawled inside me, he would have.”

Liver and white springer spaniel Bailey stands in the grass next to owner Michelle as they look into each other's eyes
PLS gave Michelle a lifeline

Springer spaniel Bailey was by nurse Michelle’s side for nine years, spending all their spare time together developing a deep connection.

So, when he passed away suddenly in 2022, Michelle’s world fell apart.

“I’d go in a room and, when he wasn’t there, I’d almost have a panic attack,” explains the 48-year-old from Wiltshire, who has two adult children.

“When I went to pick up Bailey’s ashes from the vets, I absolutely broke down.”

That was when Michelle was given a pamphlet about Pet Loss Support (PLS), a free and confidential service offered by Blue Cross.

“When I phoned the first time, I didn’t speak for the first hour, I just sobbed,” she says.

“The lovely person on the end of the phone just listened. It was as if someone had given me a massive hug.

“She took me out of that dark place I was in. It was a hug in a phone call.” 

The help of PLS over several months allowed Michelle to process Bailey’s death, so she can now focus on their happy times on Devon’s beaches, or scaling the heights of the Welsh mountains of Snowdon and Pen y Fan and climbing Scotland’s Ben Nevis.

Liver and white springer spaniel Bailey looks happily at the camera as a woman in activewear hugs him
Bailey and Michelle loved exploring

Determined to give back, Michelle is training to run the London Marathon on 21 April in support of Blue Cross.

The keen runner also has plans to complete further marathons and four longer ultramarathons in 2024, in aid of Blue Cross.

“Every minute I spent with Bailey was filled with laughter and happiness,” adds Michelle, who will celebrate her 49th birthday as she runs the gruelling 26.2 mile London marathon course around the capital. 

“Blue Cross is so special to me because the support after Bailey’s death was one of the reasons I got up every day.”

Our dedicated Pet Loss Support volunteers are there to help every day of the week, from 8.30am to 8.30pm.

Whether on the phone, by email or through our live webchat, Blue Cross can give emotional support at the very toughest of times.

Call 0800 096 6606, email [email protected] or find out more about the PLS service.

Donate to Michelle’s marathon fundraiser online at JustGiving.

— Page last updated 06/02/2024