Saturday, June 10, 2023
June 10, 2023

Fundraising for local family dog’s surgery hits halfway mark

A Salt Spring mother is getting closer to her goal of providing life-saving veterinary care for her son’s dog Bella. 

A GoFundMe online fundraiser for the family’s three-year-old Shih-Poo has raised $6,088 of a $10,000 goal as of Jan. 13.

“I don’t usually receive help in my life so I am moved to tears,” Mandy Roy wrote about the support she’s received so far. 

Roy, a single mother who is in temporary housing with her son, said she is experiencing the island’s housing crisis directly. Finding an affordable pet-friendly home is proving next to impossible.

“Anything two-bedroom is about $2,000 to $2,500 and . . . the last six months, every single rental has been no pets,” she said. 

Roy stressed that Bella is a family member and “the centre of our universe,” but before she knew about her condition she contemplated having to give her up in order to find a home. This is a reality for many renters, who have to choose between surrendering their pet to secure housing or keeping their pet and becoming homeless. Putting her son through losing his dog is not something Roy said she can consider, “so I’m just literally stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

Being told by a veterinarian that their dog likely has intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) and may need between $7,000 and $10,000 worth of veterinary care affected Roy and her son deeply.

“We cried all the way home because of how disgusting the diagnosis is,” she said. “[My son] absolutely needs her and he can’t be without Bella, which puts me in a predicament.” 

For the time being, Bella is on strict bed rest and is taking anti-inflammatory medication. In a few weeks, Roy said, Bella will see a specialist and undergo testing that could include an MRI or a CT scan to understand which of her discs are impacted and what is happening to her spinal cord. 

Roy was told many don’t go through with surgery due to the cost, but this would leave Bella paralyzed in her hind legs, possibly incontinent and the condition may even lead to death. 

Since she started the GoFundMe page, Roy said some people have questioned her fundraising effort and the cost of care.

“It is difficult to have to tell my story over and over and over again and it’s embarrassing to ask for help and to have to reiterate to people that I’m not [lying],” she explained. “Discrediting people who are vulnerable really sucks, because it does put us in a place where we now have to be an open book for people to believe us.” 

Roy referenced a news story about a seven-year-old miniature pinscher with IVDD who was cared for by the SPCA to the tune of $9,440, to put the potential costs for Bella’s care into perspective. The $10,000 fundraising goal is meant to cover costs, including “CT scans, MRIs, surgery, anesthesia, fluids and after care.”

“The surgery has a very high rate of success and would promise to return her to a normal pain-free life,” Roy wrote. 

She is now over halfway to her goal with 73 people, including one anonymous donor giving $2,600, supporting the campaign. 

Go to the “For the love of Bella – spinal surgery for IVDD” GoFundMe page to donate.


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