A little boy and his family have launched an appeal to raise £7,500 for a life-saving op for their beloved puppy – which needs to be done by a HUMAN heart surgeon.
Golden Labrador Tess suffers from a fatal heart condition which means she could have a heart attack at any moment.
The 16-month-old pooch needs complex surgery that has to be carried out by an expert heart surgeon, costs £7,500 and is only offered at one centre in England.
Tess’s heartbroken owner, six-year-old Joseph Rogers, said he, his cousin Layla White, three, and pal Louise Smith, five, are desperate to save the lovable pooch.
With the help of dad James Foster, 44, mum, healthcare assistant Rachael Rogers, 42, big sister Ellie, 17, and family friends, they’ve launched an appeal to raise the cash.
Little Joseph, who lives with his family in Bridport, Dorset, said: “I love her because she’s my dog.
“If people give us money for the operation it will help Tess to live.
“She nearly died one day but she’s a really lucky dog and she never died.
“I would feel happy if she had the operation because she will be happy. I love her.”
His dad James, who lectures at Weymouth College, said: “This disease is like a ticking time bomb – it’s a death sentence.
“If Tess doesn’t have the operation she could live a short life. If she does have it, there’s a 90 to 95 per cent chance she will be OK.”
He added: “She means the absolute world to us. People who don’t have a dog can say, ‘Oh, it’s only a dog, you can just get it put down.’
“But if you’re a dog owner then you love the animal and they’re part of the family.
“Tess is playful and good-natured – she’s a lovely dog. This means everything to all the children – they don’t want to see her sick.
“They’ll do anything to save her and if people were to help out, they would be so happy.
“She is part of the DNA of the family.”
Tess suffers from a condition called Atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia, which causes the heart to beat too fast.
The family believe she’s had it since birth but it’s not known whether it’s genetic or hereditary because none of the other puppies in the litter have it.
She needs keyhole surgery to fix a ‘short circuit’ in the vital organ and bring abnormal electrical connections which are pulsing around it under control.
The canine has already suffered two heart attacks in six months and if she doesn’t have the vital treatment, she could suffer another at any time.
Though the family has pet insurance, it only pays a maximum of £3,000 per condition, and most of that has been used up already.
James said: “This disease causes the heart to beat normally and then go into tachycardia – when she’s exercising, sleeping or whenever.
“The heart doesn’t have a way of slowing down.
“So the blood is being pumped around her body without oxygen and she becomes very very tired.
“At the moment it is stalled by medication but they don’t know how old they will be able to control it for.
“The condition doesn’t make her look ill and at the moment she is absolutely fine.
“But it’s really unpredictable and depends on the individual dog how long they have.”
“It costs so much because they need a human heart surgeon to carry it out or at least oversee it,” he added.
“We need to pay for their time.”
James added that there’s “no way” they could cover the cost themselves and said “we’re just a normal working family”.
Since launching the appeal a month ago, they’ve managed to raise £1,500 from more than 70 donors.
If they manage to hit their target, they’ll book Tess in for the op, which has to be carried out at a centre in Hereford, straight away.
To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/helpsaveTess.