By Josh Saunders
Doggie delight for the doting owner who sold possessions to pay for her pets £37k lifesaving surgery after being given new leash of life following being DEAD FOR TWO HOURS.
Yorkie-chi Snoopy, nine, from New Jersey, USA, could be the luckiest dog alive after his owner afforded his operation by selling belongings, getting a loan, spending all her savings and donations.
After owner Dolly-Ann Osterloh, 32, from Paddington, London, was devastated after being told her pet has half a year to live due to a heart defect but was determined to find a cure three-months-ago.
Online she discovered Dr Uechi, a Japanese veterinary surgeon, performing the ultra-rare mitral valve replacement on visits to Paris, France – only 700 dogs have received it worldwide.
Her campaign to raise the £37,000 was supported by former-Queen guitarist Brian May CBE, actor Brian Blessed OBE and 880 donors enabling Snoopy to have the op last week.
During surgery, Snoopy was clinically dead for two hours after his heart was stopped, but miraculously he’s now recovering with his owner again.
This is the third time the dog has defied death, after being abandoned in a dustbin as a puppy shortly after Christmas, then in a high kill shelter, he was next to be executed had his owner not rescued him.
Dolly-Ann, an interior designer, said: “I’m so happy, it still feels like a dream and is very surreal sitting here with Snoopy knowing that he is going to live.
“I’m so incredibly fortunate to keep him for longer with the help of so many people and the pioneering surgeons doing a very rare, hard to get surgery.
“After Snoopy developed heart failure the clock was ticking, they have only a limited amount of time left with only medication keeps them alive – I was told Snoopy had six months to live.
“I had savings and knew I could take out a bank loan but it wouldn’t be enough, then I came across the idea of selling all of my possessions, I decided they could all go to save him.
“I set-up an event for an open-house sale to get rid of everything, I took it all out of my wardrobe, my kitchen and everywhere ready to sell it all.
“I had 400 people RSVP to come to my house to buy my belongings, I was prepared for a storm of people to come into my house.
“I made 24,000euros through fundraising and 3000euroes selling things, so many were kind enough to donate the money and let me keep my possessions.
“There was someone who bought all the possessions in my kitchen but as I was packing it all up he sent me a message telling me to keep the money and the kitchen as a gift.
“It was so nice that I was in tears, I was getting ready to sell it all from the cutlery to plates and everything.
“It was quite a traumatic surgery for Snoopy but he is doing very well, mainly he is pretty tired and sleeping for most of the day but he will live now.
“Snoopy was dead for two hours during the bypass they shut off his heart and then restarted it with a pacemaker.
“I was giving him medication 11 times a day so It’s so surreal not having to wake-up throughout the night and not having the alarm clock ringing, it’s hard knowing what to do with my day now.
“I hope to get back to a normal life with Snoopy now, I haven’t taken care of myself properly nor my work, so when I get back I want to take it easy with him.”
Snoopy began his life as an unwanted Christmas gift in New Jersey, USA, he was set to be put down had it not have been Dolly-Ann coming to his rescue.
She said: “I didn’t know Snoopy’s story when I found him online, he was in a kill shelter and if he didn’t find a family he would have been put to sleep.
“He was the next one to be executed, I couldn’t let that happen to him and then after hearing how he was left in a dustbin after Christmas, it broke my heart.
“Unfortunately, it happen a lot, there are heartless people who buy a pet for Christmas and when no one wants them, so they are mistreated or abandoned.”
A heart-murmur was initially detected from vets scans but it wasn’t until this year that he developed mitral valve disease (MVD).
It occurs when the valve stops blood flowing properly – leading to heart failure from oxygenated blood being unable to keep the body alive.
Dolly-Ann said: “Humans can get mitral valve replacements, but with dogs, it’s still very new.
“When they told me, I blacked-out and collapsed right beside him, people had to help me up they were very kind, it was panicking for days looking for a solution.”
Dolly-Ann found an online community for dogs with the same condition who informed her of a vet capable of performing Snoopy’s lifesaving surgery – but at a high cost and only in France or Japan.
She said: “It was an incredibly complicated surgery dealing with so many organs from the heart to the liver, kidneys, and others, normally small animals don’t survive but the technique makes it possible.
“The surgeon has only operated on six dogs that day, their schedule started from the early morning right up until the night in a tiny surgical room.
“It was so scary sitting there, hoping it well, even though the surgeons are extremely talented there is up to a 10% it can go wrong.”
Snoopy was released from the vets this week and is starting to get back to his old self, Dolly-Ann says she is ‘endlessly’ grateful to everyone who helped and is writing thank you cards to the 880 donors.
She is still fundraising in the hopes of reducing the 10,000euro bank loan she took out to save her pet.
Dolly-Ann said: “I honestly never thought so many people would help me out, I was worried about how I could get the money together I had up to three weeks.
“It was so heart-warming and all these people were so generous and helpful, by helping me and Snoopy.
“I was so touched, it’s changed the way I see people are the world, I see the goodness in everyone no matter who I encounter now.
“I wish I could take him on a vacation, that’s what I feel I need but after all this, I’m just so grateful he is alive and he has a future with me.”
To donate visit: www.gofundme.com/snoopysbigheart