Kimberley Seedy, Lilydale and Yarra Valley Leader

April 23, 2013 12:00am

A LILYDALE family cried tears of joy when a charity stepped in to help pay for lifesaving surgery for their beloved puppy.

Katrina and Keith Russell gave their daughters Amelia, 7, and Charli, 5, a gorgeous Staffordshire bull terrier puppy, Cookie, for Christmas but over Easter she became unwell.

After attending The Pet Emergency & Specialist Centre in Malvern East, she was diagnosed with a bone cyst on her foot.

The family could not afford the expensive treatment, so they make the heartbreaking decision to put Cookie down.

Mrs Russell said they had already spent their holiday savings on Cookie’s vet bills and were “out of options”.

But on the day Cookie was going to be put down, Jennifer Hunt, founder of The Pet Medical Crisis Fund, offered a donation.

Thanks to that money, a discounted fee from the vet and a loan from a friend, the family was able to afford the surgery.

When she heard about the fund’s donation, Mrs Russell was overwhelmed.

“I cried, it was so beautiful … we told our daughters a stra­nger that loves doggies as just as much as we do is going to pay to get Cookie fixed,” Mrs Russell said.

Cookie had surgery on April 8 and is now on the road to recovery, complete with a pink cast.

When the family brought her home, Mrs Russell said the reaction from her daughters was amazing.

“We didn’t tell them she was coming home, and when she came in, it was like Christmas again,” Mrs Russell said.

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Christian Tatman, Frankston Standard Leader

November 22, 2014 12:00am

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.

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

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


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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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

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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.”



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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January 31, 2013 2:54pm

MEOW might not be happy about having his leg in plaster but his owners are thanking a charity that helped keep the mischevious moggy in one piece.

The cat, belonging to Bentleigh East sisters Jessica and Mikaela Wills, came home injured last week.

Jessica said Meow’s leg was “not where it was meant to be”.

They rushed him to the Pet Emergency and Specialist Centre in Malvern where it was discovered he had suffered a spiral fracture and had torn the kneecap off his femur.

And even though the vet had reduced the cost of the operation, it was still more than the two could afford.

Sisters Jessica and Mikaela Wills’ cat, Meow, had an accident and needed medical attention. However, they couldn’t afford the treatment. Pet Medical Crisis Fund stepped in and helped them pay for part of costs. Picture: Sarah Matray

But the vet made a call to the charity Pet Medical Crisis Fund – set up to help pay vet bills for those who don’t have the money – and they donated $500 towards Meow’s treatment costs.

“It meant he could come home to us and we didn’t have to consider euthanizing him or getting his leg amputated,” Jessica said.

“Now he gets to live a normal life.”

“He’s just angry at us for keeping him cooped up in his cage – he’s not happy about that.”

PMCF relies entirely on donations is running low on funds, with only $9000 in the kitty to service the entire state.

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