The plight of a beggar’s dog – for many years a popular fixture just off Kirkcaldy’s High Street – has united the community and led to nearly £1000 in donations.
Paul Flockhart and Roxy are a well-known duo at their spot at the underpass at Bell Inn Wynd, with the black and brown brindle Staffie melting hearts and winning a legion of fans with her cheeky face and faultless memory for anyone who has ever slipped her a biscuit.
Since 2010 she has been Paul’s constant companion, providing comfort and unconditional love in a tough life on the streets.
However, around a month ago Paul (46) was dealt a devastating blow after he noticed a swelling on Roxy’s side.
A vet diagnosed an enlarged spleen and told him that surgery to remove it was not recommended, even if he could have afforded the procedure.
“The vet said there were also spots on her liver, which I took to mean cancer,” said Paul.
I won’t let her suffer and I’ll know when it’s time to let her go.Paul Flockhart
“I was told that she had about a month and that’s been five weeks now. She seems to have perked up this last week but whether that’s just a last rally, I don’t know.”
News of her illness filtered out and brought an outpouring of sympathy from the dozens of regulars who stop to speak.
But Kirkcaldy woman Grace Stodders was so moved that on Monday she set up an online crowdfunding page to raise £1000 to either pay for a vet give Roxy a final assessment and treatment or, if there was still no hope, to “ease Roxy into her final journey”.
Overnight more than £600 had been donated and at the time of going to press the total was standing at more than £800.
“To my mind Paul is a gentleman who has fallen on hard times and his wee dog Roxy is always by his side,” Grace explained. “The two of them have become everyone’s favourite and stop to chat and give Paul a cuppa and Roxy a cake or biscuits.”
She said that whatever the outcome, any money left over would be donated to an animal charity, most likely the PDSA.
Paul said he inherited Roxy from a friend in 2010 when she was a year old and he had offered to look after her.
“Everybody loves her and she’s always on the lookout for anyone coming who she knows has a biscuit for her,” said Paul. “Every day is like Christmas Day for Roxy.
“I won’t let her suffer and I’ll know when it’s time to let her go.”
But not everyone has been supportive. Grace has been sickened and disappointed by some “vicious nasty” comments left about Paul on the crowdfunding page. She said the fundraising was about Roxy and not Paul, who will not get any money directly and had not asked her for help.