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‘When it comes to the end, we all want the same things.’ Why animals need a good death

Alexis Fleming has devoted her life to providing palliative care for sick and disabled animals. At the animal hospice she established in rural Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland, she treats every sheep, chicken and pig with the same gentle care and patience that most people reserve for dear friends and family. Underlying her work is a deep conviction, with her since childhood, that all animals desire comfort, safety and companionship in their final days. Fleming herself is living with a life-threatening disease, and her proximity to death somehow buoys her up as she tends to the sick and dying around her. In making her short documentary Crannog with a spare, observational style, the Glasgow-based director Isa Rao mirrors the intimacy, strength and tenderness of Fleming’s labour of love. The video’s title comes from the Gaelic for an ancient form of dwelling found in Ireland and Scotland that often housed extended families, and is an apt metaphor for Fleming’s world, one in which moments of intense joy and sorrow are unified by a deeply felt sense of purpose in caring for others.

Director: Isa Rao

Producer: Tom van den Hurk

Website: Scottish Documentary Institute, Guardian Documentaries

9 September 2019

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