Canning woman fundraising to cover expensive surgery for pet

Kathryn Brewster
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Buddy the shih tzu must undergo a pricey surgery in order to walk again. His owners, Pat and Rhonda Hines of Canning, are fundraising to cover the cost of the surgery. - Submitted 

Rhonda Hines of Canning is in Charlottetown this week for spinal surgery – for her dog, that is.

Five-year-old Buddy the shih tzu was recently diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). In the two weeks since then, Buddy has lost the use of his hind legs. Treatment is a spinal decompression surgery at the Atlantic Veterinary College – with a price tag as high as $5,000.

“He was able to walk up to about a week ago,” Hines says, “but when he was walking, it was kind of like he was staggering and really weak. Now he can’t walk at all – it progresses fast.”

IVDD causes spinal discs to weaken and become damaged. The condition, if left untreated, can result in complete paralysis for the dog in question. Though for some dogs it can be a one-time ailment, for others it can reoccur throughout their lives.

Buddy’s problems began in March. Initially, it was believed he had something akin to a pulled muscle and was given medication. Hines says that he was fine for about three weeks afterwards, but then he began to have the same problem again. This time, an x-ray was done and it was revealed that Buddy was suffering from IVDD.

“When I take him outside to use the washroom, I have to carry him and hold him (up),” says Hines. Although she describes his current state as “heartbreaking,” Hines knows that Buddy’s prognosis is good.

“They say if they get it before he loses control of his bladder, it’s about 90-95 per cent (chance of recovery) because he’s so young,” says Hines. If it progresses further, though, Hines says that his chances for recovery drop.

Hines describes Buddy as being typically very energetic, frequently running all over the house. She says that he’ll try to ‘talk’ sometimes.

 “He thinks he’s human, I think,” she laughs.

Hines was recently approved for a loan to cover the cost of the surgery, but is holding a fundraiser to help pay it back. The fundraiser will be part ticket auction, part yard sale and will take place at the Centerville Hall on May 18. Hines is accepting donations, but says they’ve been slow to come in. She recently released a Facebook video in the hopes that donations would pick up.

“You go for donations and you say it’s for a dog, and they kind of look at you (funny). Unless they have a dog or another pet, they don’t really see the need.”

Although cost has been a concern for Hines, the vet told her that euthanizing him was “probably not a very good option, because he’s so young and he can come out of it so well.” Now that the loan has come through, Hines is focused on getting Buddy through his surgery.

She can be reached for donations at 902-582-7623.

Organizations: Atlantic Veterinary College

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • cheryl
    February 28, 2015 - 08:26

    So sad I'm also living in PEI trying to find the money for a miniature yorkie, that is 5 months old her name is Ally, and needs a surgery for a narrowing of her c2-c3 in her cervical spine..she only weights 1.5 lb. She needs it to have a normal life..

  • SHOCKED!!!
    June 02, 2014 - 07:54

    WOW! Hate mail much. I cannot believe some of your comments!!! Do you not understand that animals, especially are like kids to some people! I know I have a Shih Tzu and she is my world. I couldn't imagine life without her. Saying her pet is "just" a pet, oh c'mon. Get over your ignorant selves! I wish your Buddy all the best of health, love and a long life. Good luck to your fundraising.

  • Where is the common sense
    May 06, 2014 - 06:33

    Sorry but their are more important places for hard earned money....I love animals an have had pets who acquired expensive medical intervention....and weighed the options... AVC is notorious for being expensive and being aggressive for funds .....let alone local vets who are very expensive.As a young couple you know doubt have better and more serious needs ".......some common sense her must make life changing decisions......this is one of them. Guilt is a powerful force".......This is a waste of money.

  • Murrb
    May 03, 2014 - 17:35

    Pets are family members and they deserve the best medical care we can provide. Wishing little Buddy all the very best of good things.

  • Metazip
    May 03, 2014 - 09:48

    Sorry, but this is ridiculous. Put the animal down. First I ever heard of a fundraiser for a pet...

  • what next
    May 03, 2014 - 08:22

    I would think donations have been slow!! Her vet says not to euthanize....just keep bringing him in at 300 a visit...all he/she sees is $$$$$. And if the 5000 surgery doesn't work...that's even better for the vet!!