The X-rays of speckled bone swallowed by disease were worse than Suzanne Totty had expected.
Her dog Beesley’s ball bone is riddled by painful arthritis and a full hip replacement is urgently required. The alternative, the vets have told her, is euthanasia.
Pet-owners will understand the devastation such a predicament brings.
And also grasp the finiancial implications such events can bring with them.
Pets invest our lives with not only significant companionship but also comfort in times of pain or illness, helping us to overcome isolation and preventing us from becoming house-bound. This is the role that Beesley plays in Colne resident Suzanne’s life, who struggles with numerous physical disabilities, including arthritis, asthma and hypermobility.
“My joints dislocate or come out and don’t set right,” the 48-year-old said. “I could put my feet on the floor and dislocate them. You don’t heal very well [with hypermobility]. I put my knee out at Christmas and it’s still bad.”
“But as long as I’ve got Beesley with me, I don’t feel scared by my conditions and other people. He breaks the ice.
“He’ll walk a bit forward then turn around and wait for me. He gives me the confidence to go out.
“He’s very in tune with me and I with him: I can see the subtle differences between when his legs are tired and when they’re hurting.”
But now the one in need of support is Beesley.
Suzanne has already secured £3,990 through insurance towards the £6,165 total needed for his surgery.
And when he has healed from the hip replacement, he will need a second operation on his ball socket, which will cost £1,200-£1,400. The aim is to raise the remaining £3,575 for the procedures.
“He’s a nine-year-old puppy but his legs won’t work,” Suzanne said.
“He’s started stumbling and falling when getting out of the car. I don’t think he’ll have his legs next year if he doesn’t get this operation done.
“I was shocked when I saw the X-rays at the vets. His right ball socket has been eaten by arthritis. The bone looked mottled like a butterfly. He’s on pain medication but it isn’t strong enough for him.
“Beesley lies down a lot more and twists his leg in a funny way - he’s never done that before. When walking he hops like a bunny to take the pressure off his back legs or pulls his leg off the floor really quickly.”
“He doesn’t deserve this. I’ve tried everything: I don’t know what else to do.”
And it seems the collie-cross - trained well enough to pick out a tub of biscuits for each night’s tea - has charmed his way across the town.
“He’s very loyal, loving and friendly and he protects me. He’s very obedient. It took a lot of training. He was very cheeky at first but I’ve trained him good. He’s even allowed in shops because he’s such a good lad. Some people who’ve been scared of dogs have gotten to know Beesley and then adopted a dog of their own.”
Having had him since he was a one-year-old - helping to wean and train him as a puppy - the surgery would mean the world to Suzanne.
“I’d save a little boy’s life,” she said, “that’s what it would mean.
“He encourages me to get out - walking him keeps my joints moving. I’ve had asthma attacks in the past and I’ve sat here and stroked him and it’s calmed my breathing down. He’s such a loving, gentle dog and we snuggle up at night. It just makes me really sad inside thinking about losing him.”
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