Retired nurse creates dog hospice, makes sure their final days are the best days

Nicola Harris is a retired U.K. nurse who spent her entire life taking care of other people. But now that she has left her former job, she is now embarking on a new one that is as meaningful but directed towards the benefit of those who cannot speak – dogs.

retired nurse

Every dog deserves to live a happy life, especially those who are already in their twilight years. Their last days in this world should be spent soaking all the love and attention that they could get from their owners. Sadly, however, the reality is that not every dog gets to experience this.

Many senior dogs spend their last days in animal shelters after being abandoned by the people they trusted the most – and Nicola Harris has made it her life’s mission to end this unfortunate phenomenon.

Nurse retired.

The retired nurse now devotes her time to taking care of terminally ill and abandoned dogs. Nicola leads the Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project from her residence in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, where the dogs get to live out their remaining days the way it’s supposed to be – having lots of fun.

The mother of two only fosters shelter dogs with only six months or less to live and takes in two at a time. Some of the pups spend months at her home, while others survive only a few weeks.


“The longest I had one is one year, the shortest was two weeks. It’s so rewarding when you can make those times special. I don’t know when their birthdays are, so we throw all of them a birthday party,” Nicola said.

No matter how short their time left is, Nicola has a bucket list of fun activities for every furry resident that stays in her home. She spends up to £500, or a little over $600, on each animal.

The retired nurse used to shoulder all the expenses when she was just starting. Now, she accepts donations to continue her mission. A portion of the funds collected goes to their food and medical expenses, and the remaining is allocated to help the dogs make the most of their final days.

This includes cuddling on the beach…


Enjoying some McDonald’s ice cream…


Rides in a stroller…


And even going to the prom as Nicola’s 16-year-old daughter Olivia’s date!


When it’s time for the dogs to cross the rainbow bridge, Nicola cremates them and buries their remains in a special plot near her home. Naturally, the experience is always heartbreaking, which is why Nicola often gives herself time before she takes in new dogs.

But while each loss is heavy, Nicola and the others who volunteer to help these dogs have no intention of quitting their mission.

“It can be an utterly heartbreaking job, but someone has to do it,” Nicola said. ” I’m a complete animal lover and I just can’t bear the thought of them spending their final days, weeks, or months without the love they deserve.”


Nicola and these volunteers are truly a blessing to these pups. Every dog needs to feel their best in their twilight years, and she and her team make all that possible. Click here to help their organization impact more dog lives.