Belton couple facing thousands of pounds in vet bills

Jill and John Mason's dog, Brandy, has two displaced hips and has been ill since they got him.

Jill and John Mason's dog, Brandy, has two displaced hips and has been ill since they got him. - Credit: Geraldine Scott

A Belton couple may have to release equity on their home to pay for an operation for their ill puppy.

They have already spent more than £1,000 since getting the Golden Labrador six months ago.

Jill and John Mason, of Ranworth Close, bought Brandy from a woman in Mildenhall when he was just eight weeks old.

The pet is to provide companionship for John, who is retired, and Jill, who works part-time at the Wild Duck holiday park.

And he was seemingly happy and healthy at first, but since then his health had gone downhill.

Jill, 67, said: 'When we first went to get him he seemed chubby and full of life but the lady didn't let us in the back of the house.'

But Jill said after they brought the puppy home a couple of people - including their granddaughter - had said Brandy looked quite small.

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'After a couple of weeks we took him to the vet and he said he had some sort of parasite,' said Jill.

'I said to John about getting him insured but when he told the insurance man on the phone about Brandy being a bit thin, he said we'd never get insured for anything to do with his stomach now.'

Then, when Brandy was around 11 weeks old, a family member noticed the puppy was limping on a trip to the beach.

John, a former engineer, said: 'We had to lift him into the car. I couldn't see the limp at first and then after a couple of weeks he didn't want to eat his food.'

So the couple went back to the vet, who carried out an x-ray and found Brandy had two displaced hips, which would cost £5,000 each to fix.

'We phoned the RSPCA to see if they could help us,' said John, 71. 'Bear in mind we are pensioners, but unless we were on benefits they couldn't help. But I think an animal is entitled to a fair chance.'

John said they would be able to find the money for the operation, even if it meant releasing equity on their home.

'But if we could not afford to pay then this animal would die,' John said.

Now, Brandy can be jumping around one day but need help up onto the settee the next, and he can't have the operation to fix his hips until he's a year old.

So the couple want to warn others to be careful when looking to buy a pet, even if the correct checks had been done.

Jill said: 'We'll always have to watch out for his stomach now.'

And John added: 'We're not looking for charity, although if a millionaire decides to pay for it then great, but if this helps someone else it would have achieved something.'

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