Canning woman fundraising to cover expensive surgery for pet

Kathryn Brewster
Published on May 2, 2014

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.