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Brittany Shanahan, Berwick Leader

June 27, 2014 12:00am

ROTTWEILER-LABRADOR cross Leon will one day walk again after the Pet Medical Crisis Fund and a local vet tipped in to pay for his surgery.

The Endeavour Hills family pet was left fighting for life after his deformed spinal cord caused him to lose the use of his legs.

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The dog’s owner Jenny, who did not want her surname published, was told by two veterinarians it would cost more than $5,000 to save her beloved pet.

But it was a bill Jenny could not afford.

“As a single mum, I could simply not afford all the costs and I didn’t want to put Leon down,” Jenny said.

“He got worse and the vets told me you have to make a decision.

“It was all a bit of a shock because he is so young.”

On Jenny’s third attempt, Dr Arthur House, from the Hallam Referral Centre, answered her prayers.

The Princess Highway vet put Jenny in contact with the Pet Medical Crisis Fund who raised $2,600, in addition to Jenny’s brother’s $1,500 contribution, which left Jenny with $2,000 to pay for the operation.

Support from Dr House, the Pet Medical Crisis Fund and the Facebook community, has blown Jenny away.

“It has been incredible for us, particularly the kids, to know that other people supported us,” she said.

“Leon is a mate for Jess and Olivia, a guard dog and a protector of the house.


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Christian Tatman, Frankston Standard Leader

November 22, 2014 12:00am

Helen Wade with her border collie Cassie. Picture: Tanya Fry.
Helen Wade with her border collie Cassie. Picture: Tanya Fry.

WHEN Helen Wade first set eyes on playful pooch Cassie, she knew the then five-month-old border collie was the right fit.

The Langwarrin woman was looking for a mate for her Maltese cross Toby and Cassie’s gentle nature was the recipe for a paw-fect union.

But a niggling worry about what Ms Wade ­described as a “washing machine sensation” near Cassie’s heart confirmed her worst fears.

Just over a year after bringing Cassie home, tests found the dog had a hole in the heart and would die within two years without ­urgent surgery.

An animal lover, Ms Wade was reeling over both the ­diagnosis and the cost of surgery, which ran into thousands of dollars.

But a plea to the Pet Medical Crisis Fund saw the ­organisation kick in $1000 to make the surgery possible.

The fund helps pensioners and disadvantaged pet owners who cannot afford surgery to keep their pet alive.

Fund head Jennifer Hunt said Cassie was an important part of Ms Wade’s life.

“They saved Cassie’s life. That was a lot of money to come up with,” Ms Wade said.

Both Ms Hunt and Ms Wade praised vet Richard Woolley for his work to save Cassie’s life.

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Alex White HeraldSun

DECEMBER 25, 201212:11AM

IT will be a very merry Christmas for Rocco the Pekinese after emergency spinal surgery which saved his life.

Rocco the Pekinese is recovering from life-changing surgery. Picture: Sarah MatraySource:Herald Sun

IT will be a very merry Christmas for Rocco the Pekinese after emergency spinal surgery which saved his life.

The two-year-old was rushed into surgery yesterday morning with a leading Victorian canine spinal surgeon at the Pet Emergency and Specialist Centre in Malvern after he ruptured a disc in his spine on Friday.

The difficult spinal surgery can cost up to $5000 which owners John and Deanna Ahlberg from Wallington could not afford.

The retired couple had to contemplate putting down their family pet only a day before Christmas.

But luckily the Pet Medical Crisis Fund stepped in with a Christmas present of $1000 and in the spirit of Christmas, the surgery to chipped in $1000 too.

Mr Ahlberg was over the moon Rocco could be saved and said it was the best Christmas present ever.

“Rocco would have been in big trouble if he didn’t have surgery, we are just so happy,’’ he said.

“It was an expensive operation and we are so thankful the surgeon who helped us out, it is a really nice Christmas present.

“And they are pretty confident he will walk again.’’

Pet Medical Crisis Fund chief executive officer Jennifer Hunt said it was great to help a pet in need so close to Christmas.

“The fact that it was Christmas and they may have had to put him down because the surgery was so expensive was heart breaking, so we did as much as we could.

“Rocco is such a sweet little dog and the family had only lost another Pekinese in June.

“Now he will get to celebrate another Christmas.’’

Rocco will spend Christmas Day in hospital but is expected to be able to go home on Boxing Day.

To donate to the crisis fund visit www.petmedicalcrisis.com.au

Originally published as Spinal surgery saves Rocco’s life

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Meaghan and great mate Freya, who is back on her feet after an operation to remove an nectarine pip. Picture: Wayne Taylor
Meaghan and great mate Freya, who is back on her feet after an operation to remove an nectarine pip. Picture: Wayne Taylor

SOUTH EAST

Christian Tatman, Mornington Peninsula Leader

February 19, 2018 12:00am

WHEN blue heeler cross Freya was ill, her best mates Meaghan and hubby David feared their beloved pooch had heatstroke.

But when Freya refused to eat or drink and was disinterested in her family, they knew it was far more serious.

The Toogarook couple took Freya to Peninsula Vet Care Rosebud, where Dr Dr Ben Porter discovered the source of the problem during an examination — a nectarine pip possibly dropped by a bird in the family’s garden.

Dr Porter said the pip had been stuck in Freya’s small intestine before it was removed during surgery under full anaesthetic.

He said Freya — possibly the toughest dog he had ever come across — had made a full recovery post surgery.

For Meaghan and David, there was no question about going ahead with the operation — despite still paying off vet bills for other treatments.

“She’s such a beautiful girl. She’s always wonderful with the kids,” Meaghan said. “She’s one in a million.”

The Pet Medical Crisis Fund (PMCF) — a not for profit, volunteer run charity, that assists disadvantaged pet owners who cannot afford surgery to keep their pet alive — stepped in with $1000 to help with the latest bill.

Fund head Jennifer Hunt said Freya was an important part of her family’s life.

“It is the generosity of the public and our Facebook community that enables this work to be done,” she said.

“We are just the front line that get the joy of telling them that like-minded people are enabling this to happen — wanting their girl to survive and go home again.”

To support the Pet Medical Crisis Fund, click here

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Andy and best mate Fergus are back together after his dog became ill and the Pet Medical Crisis Fund stepped in to help out. Picture: Chris Eastman
Andy and best mate Fergus are back together after his dog became ill and the Pet Medical Crisis Fund stepped in to help out. Picture: Chris Eastman

SOUTH EAST

Christian Tatman, Frankston Standard Leader

May 24, 2016 12:00pm

WHEN four-year-old black Labrador Fergus wants to “smooch” owner Andy, there’s no holding him back.

The pair share a close bond and Fergus likes to show his love for Andy.

“A big kiss on the face is a treat,” the Frankston man said with a broad smile.

“He is very friendly, big and crazy,” Andy added.

But once four-year-old Fergus — Andy’s seeing eye dog — gets his harness on, there’s no messing about.

“When he gets his harness on, he’s at work. It’s all business. There’s no mucking around.”

Andy, who is blind, recently got a shock when he realised Fergus was seriously ill.

“He would not get out of bed — normally he is jumping around,” Andy said.

“He would not eat, drink or get off his bed. It was totally out of his nature.”

A trip to the vet confirmed the worst with two tumours found in Fergus’s stomach.

“It was horrible. He is my guide dog and he is also my best mate,” Andy said.

“He helps me out more than he knows. It was distressing.”

Andy was particularly upset because he could not afford the veterinary surgery.

The Karingal Vet Hospital stepped in with a discounted rate and the Pet Medical Crisis Fund (PMCF) also kicked in $1000 to help out.

PMCF Jennifer Hunt said the organisation was keen to help, particularly as Fergus was Andy’s seeing eye dog and constant companion.

“Fergus came through major surgery and had two large tumours removed from his intestinal wall,” she said.

“Fergus is now resting comfortably at home with his dad looking after him for a change.”R

Andy was rapt with the support from the PMCF — a not for profit, volunteer run charity, that assists disadvantaged pet owners who cannot afford surgery to keep their pet alive.

“It’s amazing there’s good people around,” he said.

Andy still needs to find about $1000 to pay for Fergus’ operation.

Tax deductible donations under “Fergus” name can be made at petmedicalcrisisfund.com.au

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Charlotte De Araugo with her dog Bailey, who was saved with the help of Pet Medical Crisis Fund. Picture: WAYNE TAYLOR
Charlotte De Araugo with her dog Bailey, who was saved with the help of Pet Medical Crisis. Picture: WAYNE TAYLOR

Christian Tatman, Mornington Peninsula Leader

November 29, 2018 9:30am

BAILEY is a “loveable doofus” who is at the heart of his family — in every way.


A purebred poodle, Bailey’s eyes shine with affection for Rosebud’s De Araugo family.


“He is big, dumb and friendly. He loves his family,” Amanda De Araugo said.

He’s the friendliest dog I’ve ever come across.”

PET MEDICAL CRISIS FUND HELPS SEEING EYE DOG

TOOTGAROOK POOCH BACK ON FEET WITH HELP OF PET MEDICAL CRISIS FUND

Family members became increasingly concerned after Bailey began ‘crying’ with pain.

Initially they thought he was cramping or had even strained ligaments in a knee.

But an examination by Dr Ben Porter, from Peninsula Vet Care, later confirmed worst — Bailey’s right back knee was prone to dislocation and he needed major surgery to rectify it.

The surgery was estimated at about $2000 — a tough ask for the De Araugos family, who were already going through tough financial times.

Dr Porter put the family in contact with the Pet Medical Crisis Fund, which helps disadvantaged pet owners prevent their pets from being unnecessarily euthanised when they cannot afford the cost of veterinary care.

Pooches learn to doggy paddle!

Fund head Jennifer Hunt said the charity donated $800 while Peninsula Vet Care discounted its fee — leaving the De Araugos family with a more manageable $400 to pay.

Ms De Araugo said the family was rapt Bailey had recovered from the surgery and following a period of rehabilitation was back to being his loveable best.

The Pet Medical Crisis Fund relies on public donations to continue its work and is run by volunteers. Donations over $2 are tax deductible.

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Antoinette Lattouf

10 daily senior reporter

Sat 19 Jan 2019 10.06 AM

Australians have among the highest pet ownership rates in the world. But when it comes to medical care for furry friends — the industry is in turmoil.

Jennifer Hunt forked out tens of thousands on vet bills to keep her pet dog Jed alive.

“I got asked by the vet if I would put him down as it’s expensive surgery and many pet owners can’t come up with the money.

“But then I thought, Jed is part of the family you wouldn’t put a family member down,” she told 10 daily.

Hunt ended up paying a total of $30,000 for various spinal treatments for her border collie.

Wolfie ate two nails and a length of cloth and the fund raised $6,000 to cover vet fees to enable three abdominal surgeries to save him. IMAGE: Supplied

While she managed to come up with the funds, she soon came across countless heart-wrenching stories of Aussies who couldn’t afford to keep their pets alive.

“For example pensioners whose pets are companions and bring them so much love and joy.

“Or families where a loved one is autistic, disabled or stressed, there’s a lot of evidence of how much a pet improves their outcomes,” Hunt said.

Owning A Pet Hits The Hip Pocket Hard

The Melbourne-based nurse decided to start a crowdfunding charity to help families save their pets.

Eight years later, the Pet Medical Crisis Fund (PMCF) has raised and distributed almost $400, 000 to save more than 450 pets across Victoria.

“Many of the people we’ve helped are single mothers with sick or disabled children as well as pensioners,” Hunt said.

Australian pet owners are forking out a $1.3 billion annually on the vet, according to recent research by comparison website Finder.

Hunt said she is working to take her service national and she knows it will “open a floodgate of need.”

The PMCF also covers the cost of some vets who agree to do procedures where an owner can’t pay.

The Human Cost Of Treating Pets

But it’s not just pet owners paying a high price.

Dr Oliver Liyou has been a vet in regional NSW for 25 years. He says he’s struggled to stay in the industry — where staff shortages, mental illness and clients who can’t afford to pay for treatment — is rife.

Oliver Liyou now works fewer hours in order to manage his stress and anxiety.  IMAGE: supplied

“The general public thinks all vets are rich and that’s just a misconception,” he told 10 daily.

Liyou estimates that around 50 percent of Australians can’t afford reasonable medical care for their pets, yet many clients he encounters own multiple animals.

“Many vets are walking away rather than being prepared to put their mental health at risk doing such long hours, managing financial stress and dealing with client expectations,” he said.

According to the Australian Veterinarian Association, suicide among vets reached “near epidemic” levels in 2013.

“I’ve had five vet friends commit suicide, and a few years ago I was lucky to survive a suicide attempt, I ended up in a coma and ICU,” Liyou said.

Liyou says access to information and misinformation online compounds the problem.

“I have seen attitudes change in the last five to 10 years. Clients often have distorted views and expectations not only of costs but how to treat things based on what Dr Google says,” he said.

How Vets Are Fighting To Keep Animals And Themselves Alive

“People often say ‘treating my dog is more expensive than my medical costs’ but they don’t see all the costs of caring for humans”, Dr Paula Parker, President of Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) said.

Parker says most local vets are equipped like small hospitals, and the huge medical equipment costs are absorbed by small business owners.

“We do not get state and federal government funding, Medicare and PBS,” she said.

IMAGE: Getty Images

According to Australia’s largest veterinary employment website, Kookaburra Veterinary Employment, there are currently 430 vet roles that haven’t been filled.

“We are seeing shortages, largely in rural areas and also where more specialists skill sets are required,” Parker said.

In response to dwindling vet numbers, isolation and stress, the AVA has introduced a 24-hour counselling hotline, a mentoring program as well as a benevolent fund to support vets in need.

READ MORE: ‘Broken-Hearted’ Vet Begs Pet Owners To Stay With Them When They Die 

READ MORE: Legend Vet Dresses As Giant Mouse To Examine Nervous Dog

The AVA recommends pet owners have two plans in place to manage the health of their animals.

“One is a preventative health care plan that includes vaccinations, six monthly blood and dental tests, heartworm protection and good diet and exercise.

“When things go wrong people need access to either pet insurance or funds put aside perhaps in a separate bank account for a rainy day for their pet,” Parker said.

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. The Veterinarian 24 Hour Counselling Hotline details can be found here. 

For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au

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Kelly Ryan, HeraldSun

March 27, 2012 12:00am

HARRY the cute pup with the time-bomb ticker has been saved thanks to a medical crisis fund for pets and a veterinary heart surgeon.

But the extraordinary effort to keep Harry alive was not without a last-minute drama.

A tight schedule to save Harry almost came unstuck yesterday when a vital device needed to plug the hole in the little hound’s heart was held up by Customs in NSW after being flown from the US.

A suburban vet check revealed a heart murmur when Harry was taken for vaccinations by Mentone couple Kristy Picone and partner Matt.

Cardiologist Richard Woolley, at the Pet Emergency & Specialist Centre in East Malvern, said Harry would be dead within months, adding: “He is a cavoodle, a King Charles spaniel-poodle cross and poodles are a breed predisposed to the condition.”

Unable to afford the costs involved, Harry’s owners agonised over the pup’s fate.

But Dr Woolley contacted Jennifer Hunt who runs the Pet Medical Crisis Fund.

“Dr Woolley is discounting his surgery by $1000 and the Pet Medical Crisis Fund is donating $1000 and we are delighted to be able to help this little guy over the line,” Ms Hunt said.

Surgery went ahead yesterday and Harry is believed to have pulled through beautifully.

Donations can be made to: www.petmedicalcrisis.com.au

Originally published as Heart-throb Harry gets a helping hand

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