A HAVEN couple and a charitable organisation have helped save a young Horsham woman’s best friend.
When Sarah Parker, 19, became homeless 18 months ago, Wimmera Uniting Care came to her aid with emergency accommodation. But her best friend, a little dog called Mango, was not allowed to stay with her.
Enter Haven couple Betty and Bob Smith. They offered Mango a temporary home while Sarah found her feet.
“That’s all Sarah really had in her life – Mango and school,” Mrs Smith said.
But that soon changed. The more Sarah visited the Smiths to spend time with Mango, the stronger her bond with the pensioner couple grew.
The Smiths supported Sarah through chronic illness, which included two back surgeries. They also covered some of the costs of owning a dog.
Life with Mango was never dull.
The Smiths nicknamed the three-year-old terrier Houdini.
“She just gets out of everything,” Mrs Smith said.
She said it was concerning because Mango had a great fondness for chasing things and no road sense. But no harm came of the dog’s escapes in the year the Smiths were caring for her.
In February, Sarah started renting a house in Horsham and was reunited with her dog.
On Monday last week, Mango stayed with the Smiths while Sarah went to a doctor’s appointment in Melbourne.
The dog was hit by a car while chasing a rabbit. One side of Mango’s face and half her tail were smashed.
Mrs Smith said it was a miracle the dog survived. “She rolled under the car,” she said. “She looked like a pit bull, her face was so swollen.”
She and her husband paid for Mango’s emergency medical care, but the veterinary bill quickly became too expensive.
Sarah was also unable to contribute much towards costs of more than $1800 without endangering her financial situation.
“We didn’t want Sarah to go back into the system again,” Mrs Smith said.
“She has come so far.”
The Pet Medical Crisis Fund saved Mango’s life by paying for the bulk of the bill. The organisation exists to help pay for medical procedures for pets whose owners would otherwise be unable to afford them.
Mango will have the damaged part of her tail amputated on Monday.
Sarah thanked the Pet Medical Crisis Fund for stepping in. “It’s good that people are trying to help out,” she said.
She encouraged people to donate by visiting www.petmedicalcrisisfund.com.au.