Helping London and beyond
In just four years there were seven PDSA clinics across London, treating around 40,000 animals. It was in these years that the first of PDSA’s “mobile clinics” was created from a horse-drawn caravan (you might see some of our more modern versions around today in the form of our PetWise fleet!).
Maria’s determination didn’t just stop at helping the animals of London. She had a vision of clinics across the UK and further – across the world! In the first 10 years of founding PDSA, Maria saw 57 new clinics created, 3 mobile clinics and over 400,000 sick animals treated between 1926 and 1927 alone.
By now, PDSA was across the UK and in Paris, Romania, Tangier, Egypt, Greece and Palestine. Despite doing battle with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons who considered Maria a threat to their livelihoods, Maria continued to work and grow PDSA (after all, her clients couldn’t afford vet care anyway!).
Maria wanted to extend her message and passion for helping animals and people beyond her work in the clinics. She set up a training centre for veterinary students in Ilford (where a modern PDSA Pet Hospital now stands) and launched the Busy Bees club for children. Young supporters everywhere were soon learning how to take good care of their pets and helping to fundraise for PDSA.
Not only did Maria want to help animals in need, she also wanted to raise awareness around how important they are in our lives. She founded the PDSA Dickin Medal in 1943 – known as the animals’ Victoria Cross – to recognise the importance of our military service animals and the sacrifice they also make.
Maria Dickin's legacy
Maria worked hard to help animals and people throughout her life. She helped save more than 250,000 pets injured and lost during the Blitz and established the PDSA Dickin Medal to honour the bravery and devotion of service animals. When Maria sadly passed away in 1951, PDSA was carrying out more than a million treatments every year and had become a leading animal charity.
With the help of our supporters, we are still carrying on Maria’s work today. While we might look a bit different, Maria’s vision and core values are very much at the heart of everything we do. So while Busy Bees became Pet Protectors, we’re still educating young people on how to take great care of their pets. From our 48 Pet Hospitals we’re treating thousands of pets in need every year.
While we may seem smaller, there’s a bit of Maria in all of us – from our vets and hospital staff, to our office staff, to our volunteers and fundraisers. It’s the people that make us and keep Maria’s legacy going. Maria is PDSA. We are PDSA.