Austin Zenger and his three and half month year old dog that just had surgery to repair two broken legs. Zenger’s neighbour set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for some of the costs. (Submitted photo)

Boy’s best friend gets help from South Okanagan community

Community rallies around dog that needed surgery for two broken legs

Champ, the pitbull/terrier mix, is living up to his name thanks in part to the kindness of strangers.

After undergoing surgery for two broken legs the almost four month old pup is back and recovering with his faithful teenage owner in Twin Lakes, south west of Penticton.

Kristy Russell lives next door to Champ’s owner, Austin Zenger, and when her husband heard a horrible squealing noise coming from one of the two dogs that were playing outside that caused her heart to sink.

READ MORE: Dog missing 10 days reunited with family after Lower Mainland crash

“Austin thought it was a snake bite but when they lifted him up they quickly realized there was something wrong with his legs. They rushed him to Fairfield Veterinary Clinic in Kelowna because we don’t have an emergency vet here,” said Russell. “Champ was just playing with the other dog and we are not sure if he landed on him or maybe he fell into a hole and broke his legs when he fell in or maybe jumped out of the hole and broken them then.”

The Zenger’s were stunned with an estimated $10,000 vet bill. That fell to around $8,000 after the vet found another orthopedic surgeon at Tri Lake Animal Hospital, in Lake Country, that could assist them. Still, it was what Zenger believed an insurmountable amount.

READ MORE: Community rallies around injured dog

Russell, whose own dog died at just three years old, jumped into action starting a GoFundMe account because she said she knows how devastating it can be to lose a pet. She said on top of that, the Zengers have had a tough couple of years after moving here from Ontario. They are now in the process of having to move back and selling almost everything they own due to financial constraints.

“Pretty much every negative thing that could happen to them, has. It has been awful and these are really nice people. I think if Austin didn’t have his dog, it would ruin him after all they have been through. He is a great kid, who is very polite and kind. He is not your typical teenager. He is an old soul and very thoughtful, he was messaging people that he didn’t even know that donated to thank them,” said Russell.

With her financial assistance, the GoFundMe and Zenger selling his quad to make up the difference of what was owing, the surgery was completed. Russell said the teen pet owner has been staying on top of all his duties, setting his clock to the second of when he needs to provide Champ with medicine.

“I would be really devastated if Champ wasn’t with me anymore. He is my best friend and is with me every day, all day. Right now, I am doing everything for him,” said Zenger. “I really want to say thanks to everyone who helped, it means a lot to us,” said Zenger.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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