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Janie & Pippi

Janie & Pippi

Pippi is a lucky young Toy Poodle with a story to tell. A story for all small dogs about a risk which is so simple & common, yet costly...

This is a story that all small dog owners should be aware of. Those cute little Chihuahua's or Terrier's are just a few of the small dogs that are all at risk of such a simple, yet costly, mistake.

You love to hold them. Those small wee puppies - even when they're a little bigger but still have the energy and desire to run, jump & play at any and every opportunity.

In comes the story of Pippi - a small Toy Poodle of just 8 months old. She was being carried in her owner's arms, just as many of these small dogs tend to be.

What happened next can happen so very easily. Something caught young Pippi's eye and next thing she jumped & flew out of her unsuspecting owner's arms.

A funny landing on her leg meant that her owners took her off to the vet right away. The diagnosis? Left ulna & radius fracture. Pippi had broken her little leg.

She had x-rays taken and was whisked off to the specialist vets. Over $5,300 later, and with a leg full of screws and a plate, Pippi was ready to go home.

Pippi is getting stronger everyday on her repaired leg - recovering from a broken leg is not a quick or easy fix! Her owners were so pleased they were insured as this is exactly what insurance is for, those unforseen events. Who knew that Pippi would take a leap from the safety of her owner's arms resulting in a rather costly broken leg!

The moral of the story is be careful, be aware. You never know what can happen. In this case, we're glad we were there to help Janie with Pippi's treatment and recovery!

Maya & Tobasco

Maya & Tobasco

Tobasco is a lucky cat with an all-too-common story we hear about here at Pet-n-Sur. His story is told by his mum below...

Tobasco is our cuddly six year old neutered ginger moggy. He came into our lives as a five week old kitten when we fostered his mum and her seven kittens. Though you'd never think it, to look at him now, he was the runt of the litter.

It's fair to say, in comparison to other cats, he has always been a bit 'simple minded' and his wants are few - a warm lap, a full food bowl and lots of cuddles. First thing in the morning, after a night of being locked out the bedroom, he scratches at the door and howls to be let in. He's a good alarm clock, trouble is Tobasco has no sense of what the weekend means! He travelled to New Zealand, from the UK, when we emigrated in 2009 and to date has enjoyed good health.

Then one night my husband Paul, who was getting ready for bed, said, 'Tobasco's acting funny. It's like he can't pee.' I was straight out of bed. Poor Tobasco was straining on the litter tray. He got off and went in the hall where he squatted down again. I was more concerned with whether he could urinate than whether he was doing it on the carpet. It was clear he was in pain and getting distressed. He went back to the litter tray and Paul went to get the cat box.

It was 10.30pm, pouring with rain and howling a gale outside. The only place that would take him was the emergency vet clinic some distance away. We left a message, to say we were on our way, and headed off.

The vet was waiting for us and quickly examined him. It wasn't good news. She said he had a blocked bladder and would need immediate surgery. We went home and had a restless night until she called to say all had gone well. As it is an emergency clinic it is only open nights and weekends. We had to collect him and take him to our vets before 8am.

He looked so pathetic with a drip, a catheter and a cat collar on, but we were just relived he was alive. He was under observation till the weekend, though he was off the catheter there was no question of him coming home. We wanted to avoid the stress of having to move him back to a place set up for emergencies. It would be like us trying to recover in an A&E department. Fortunately our vet took pity on us and agreed to keep him at their clinic. Their cattery staff fed and keep an eye on him, with her dropping by to check on his progress. He was in hospital well over a week.

Both vets told us that, had we not seen him and acted fast, he would have been dead in less than 24 hours. As it is most owners don't notice until their cats have practically collapsed and then it is often to late. The bladder can become so distended that even if it hasn't ruptured, killing the cat, damage to the nerves makes the cat incontinent. I'd read this is a common problem for middle aged, neutered males, so when Paul said Tobasco wasn't urinating, it came instantly to mind. Ten minutes later we would have both been in bed. Unusually he was silent throughout, so we wouldn't have been alerted by howls of pain. Most mornings are a rush to get out to work, so there were no guarantees we'd have picked up he was suffering. I shudder to think what could have happened if Paul hadn't seen him. Doing so saved Tobasco's life.

I just remember the look of relief on the vet's face when we told her we had Pet-n-Sur insurance. We got the impression vets often have to negotiate an animal's life, based on whether the owner can afford the bill or not. The emergency service isn't cheap but had we waited till morning to see our vet, not only would Tobasco have suffered horribly but his bladder may have been irrevocably damaged.

He is a relatively young and much loved pet. The condition that he had is deadly but, if caught in time, totally curable. He is now on a special diet food, that helps dissolve urinary crystals, and doing really well.

We have pet insurance so we're never in the position of having to debate, in the middle of the night, over whether or not our pet needs to die because we can't afford to pay for treatment that would cure them. There is no question in our minds that the monthly premiums we pay not only brings us piece of mind but safety and security for our beloved furry friends. Thanks Pet-n-Sur!

Written by Maya Hammarsal

Kathleen & Una

Kathleen & Una

Una is an amazing Siberian Husky certified as a Pet Therapy Dog working with St Johns Hospital and the SPCA...

Una was born on the 11th June, 2001 in Arkansas, USA as a pedigreed Siberian Husky 'snow dog'. She was then raised as a beach dog in San Diego, California where she socialised with many dogs and their owners at Coronado Island's famous 'dog beach' and ran alongside the seagulls and the Navy Seals in-training through the shallow ocean waters.

In 2006, Una made the long journey with Kathleen to her new home in New Zealand. She became a certified Pet Therapy Dog with St. Johns Hospital / SPCA in Auckland and has worked at Starship Children's Child and Family Psychiatric Unit for 5 years. She started visiting children in Starship's 'Ella's room' extending her outreach to children suffering from life threatening illnesses. She has also visited elderly hospitals and participated in special events such as the Easter Show, Santa Claus Parade, Christmas show and foster child programmes with audiences of children who may be economically disadvantaged, have physical or mental disabilities or debilitating illnesses.

Una has had a natural affinity to children with special needs since she was a young pup. Her first accidental therapeutic encounter was in San Diego at Border's Book shop, in which an autistic child crawled under the cafe table and immediately hugged her and began effortlessly chatting with her while the child's parents stood by awestruck as their normally unsociable child opened up to Una about all of the happenings in his world. I was then able to communicate with the child about his age, if he had pets and other general questions, receiving an eager response to my questions as he focussed on stroking Una's fur. Children with marked impairment in social functioning or under any kind of mental or physical stress/trauma are naturally at ease with Una, oftentimes able to express themselves to their caregivers and parents through Una, which on other occasions may not normally occur if the therapy dog was not present.

Una works with children and teenagers in the areas of:

  • Neurodevelopmental disorders (Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder)
  • Mental/Psychological disorders such as juvenile depression, bipolar, early onset schizophrenia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, eating disorders and anxiety disorders
  • Neuromuscular disorders: Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy
  • Life-threatening illnesses (Cancer, Cardiovascular conditions)
  • Physical rehabilitation (stroke, other skeletal/muscular impairments)

Michelle & Tango

Michelle & Tango

Tango has a special thanks for Pet-n-Sur and of course his mum for helping him with his liver problems...

My name is Tango and I am a middle aged Lhasa Apso and this is my story to date.

In March 2010 I didn't really feel like eating which worried my mum as I am a bit of a foodie. After two weeks of not eating much - not even my favourite sausages or cooked chicken - and many trips to the vet because of this, the vet wouldn't let me go home one night. I suddenly found myself on a drip and a resident at the vets. This freaked my mum out no end especially when I heard them tell her I had a problem with my liver.

My mum visited me every morning before work and on her way home from work until the vets kicked her out so they could go home at night. She was even there most of the weekends bringing me special treats to see if I could be tempted to eat something. I really tried but I just couldn't do it.

After many tests, the vets then decided before I wasted away (I was losing weight fast - I know I needed to lose a bit but not at the rate it was happening!) that I needed to have a tube put in my neck through to my stomach. I didn't know until after this operation that everyone was extremely worried I wouldn't survive.

The tube was in and suddenly my tummy was full again as I was being fed through it four times a day and my mum still visited all the time. I really did look forward to seeing her and perked up every time I heard her arrive.

I shared the overnight facilities with Molly the cat who was in for the same problem.... you know cats really aren't that bad. After a couple more weeks mum was allowed to take me home at night but it was a bit of a bummer that she had to drop me off again in the morning on the way to work. Mum would tube feed me at night and the lovely staff at the vets fed me through the day.

One day, a couple of months later, my tests came back a bit better and I was just starting to eat for myself again when the vet said I could go home for good. My mum was almost in tears and I would have jumped for joy if I could have. Once I was eating on my own the tube came out thank goodness as they kept putting a pink bandage around my neck and boys don't look good in pink and it wasn't all that comfortable. I was put on heaps of tablets every day, two for my liver, steriods to make me hungry and imuran to suppress my immune system as although we never found out what caused my problem we did find out that my own body was attacking my liver.

I have been going in for blood tests monthly and each month my liver has been improving. As it improves, the amount of medication I have to take has reduced. I think this is great as I really ballooned when I was on the maximum amount and I wasn't allowed to be around other dogs or where they had been which was depressing. The good news is I have lost heaps of the weight I put on and I can even jump on the couch again by myself. I have more energy, I love my food again and my liver is getting better all the time.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my mum for having the forethought to take out pet insurance as I know without it she wouldn't have been able to pay for the special treatment I received and that I wouldn't be here now. I managed to use up a full years cover in the space of four - five months and my mum was lucky that the vets were happy for her to pay as much as she could each month until she managed to pay the remaining balance off.

I know I still cost heaps each month as the drugs I'm on aren't cheap and neither are the monthly tests. Pet-n-Sur are back in the picture again as my policy has been renewed and they will help my mum pay for everything, they have been so great. I still have a long way to go, but I know everything is improving including my hair which fell out when I started on the imuran.

I love my mum and I know she loves me so I try to tell her this every morning by waking her up with a good morning nuzzle of her face. We will get there, my mum, me and Pet-n-Sur.

Thank you

Sue & Matai

Sue & Matai

Matai is part of the wonderful volunteer team at LandSAR Search Dogs...

As a search dog Matai has to cover a lot of ground whilst looking for a lost person.

Her job is to search through dense scrub, over rocky terrain and along river banks - in other words anywhere a person may be laying injured, unseen and unresponsive.

While doing her job she damaged a dew claw. It was swollen, damaged and painful. She needs to be ready for all call outs so bilateral removal was the best solution - but it is a costly job.

Thanks to Pet-n-Sur, surgery was immediately possible due to their generous sponsorship of LandSAR Search Dogs.

Matai is now fully recovered and when first out training post operatively she found a wallet in the bush which was handed into police!

NZ LandSAR is the volunteer organisation that provides land search and rescue services to the police and as a specialist group, LandSAR Search Dogs are the official search dog group in New Zealand with 80 members and 27 operational search dogs.

To become operational the dogs undergo a rigorous assessment process and have to achieve the standards set by NZ LandSAR and the NZ Police Dog Section.

Avalanche dogs use airborne scent to locate people under the snow. Wilderness dogs are trained in tracking (following ground scent where people have walked) and / or area search where the dog uses the airborne scent of a lost person.

For more information on LandSAR Search Dogs please visit their website.

Teena & Bodie

Teena & Bodie

A touching story about a much loved member of the family...

I never thought I would ever need to have pet insurance, my previous dog 'Sheba' (German Shepherd) was with us for 15 years before she passed and we never had any major problems with her health. But now I am glad I did take out a policy with Pet-n-Sur. This is the story of our beloved dog Bodie.

Finally on 20th December 2009, after 8 years since our dear Sheba passed, a week before Christmas, we purchased the most handsome, cutest Border collie named Bodie. He was 8 weeks old and had just been blown dry after his bath and looked so cute.

In a very short time Bodie brought the house alive. He had the most wonderful personality. I took him to puppy socialisation and that's where they informed me about Pet-n-Sur. I read the reviews and stories on line and decided to take out a policy just in case.

The first few months was settling Bodie in and giving him time to get used to us. Bodie was always a nervous dog but he soon started to trust us and would bite our ankles to try and herd us. Bodie loved my Granddaughter and was always very gentle with her. He would try and mouth her hand (not hard) and lead her but she knew how to control Bodie and Bodie listened. He loved my Granddaughters play room and would go in and search for anything that he could chew. My Granddaughter was very understanding and always forgave him when she found one of her favourite toys or shoes eaten.

My husband regularly took Bodie down to the beach for walks and really enjoyed meeting other dog owners. We eventually were invited out to dinner with the Dog Walkers. It was such a happy time. Bodie was growing into the most stunning dog, his coat was amazing, black and white long hair and it always had the most beautiful shine. He was so handsome and made so many friends on the beach - Jesse, Peanut, Artie, Mollie, Chippy, Toby, Rex, Stitch (a huge black Great Dane who we used to call Stretch) and Rua. Bodie so loved to go to the beach and socialise, he never was interested in focussing on one toy like most of the other dogs. Bodie would steal the ball off other dogs to make them chase him (this was his way of getting them to play with him) he also loved chasing the seagulls and he could run so fast. Everyone commented on what a lovely dog he was and how he had such a lovely nature. Bodie just loved everyone.

Unfortunately not long after we got Bodie the road works began and Bodie was so scared of them. The yellow flashing lights and noise made him run under our bed and dig to try and hide. This went on for months and months. Bodie was also scared of the rubbish trucks. Every Wednesday Bodie would hide under the bed absolutely petrified because he knew it was rubbish day.

Although scared Bodie still loved his walks on the beach and was so funny at home; he would get up to all sorts of mischief. Pinching bowls and buckets to chew, sneaking into our room to find anything he could put his teeth into. Bodie loved to play catch, we had to try and catch him and he would side step us and run outside at hundred miles an hour then turn and stalks us. Another favourite game of his was pushing the rugby ball around with his nose. He would do this with his smaller toys and balls too. He would roll them to us to demand we play with him or pick up his ring to play tug a war.

As time went on Bodies fear escalated and he appeared to be losing his sight, he would stare at things and loose his balance. My husband started to take Bodie to the Beach in the car so he wouldn't get too scared. We took him to the vet several times and discussed our concerns but we all put it down to his fear of the road works and rubbish trucks.

Bodie was now 16 months old and so loved. He would look at us so trustingly but he appeared to be so scared of the world. His behaviours started to become a real worry..... Then one day he had a seizure. This really knocked him. From that day it was all down hill for Bodie, lots of vet visits and tests. Bodie's seizures became worse, lasted longer and were more violent, his sight deteriorated. He tried so hard to do the things he loved but couldn't, it was so sad to watch and was breaking my heart.

On 24th May 2011 Bodie went to drink his water and went into a seizure that lasted for 20 minutes or more. We took him to the Specialist Vet hoping that they had some news or could help him but the news wasn't good and Bodie started to seizure again while we were there even though he was on 3 Diazepam and Phenobarbital. Both my husband and I looked at each other and knew this wasn't good for our lovely dog, he didn't deserve this. Bodie was put to sleep and it was one of the saddest days for our family. We still haven't been back to the beach since that day. One day we will.

I would like thank all of the people at the Animates Vet, Specialist Vets and Pet-n-Sur for all of their help and support while our Bodie was alive. Knowing that you all really cared helped.

A special thanks to Pet-n-Sur who gave us peace of mind when making decisions about Bodies specialist vet visits and the tests required. We were unsure if Pet-n-Sur would refund the costs as per the policy because we had only been a policy holder for less than 2 years but they were true to their word and we really appreciated their honesty and the speed they processed our claim.

I would recommend Pet-n-Sur to anyone who is or is thinking of becoming a pet owner. Thank you for caring Pet-n-Sur.