Burnley family fundraising for life-saving PDA heart surgery for Cavapoo therapy puppy who supports their six-year-old daughter with autism
A Burnley family are fundraising for life-saving surgery for their therapy puppy who is going into heart failure.
Lorna and Jonathan Crossley must raise £1,346 to give a fighting chance to their five-month-old Cavapoo, Dylan, who has a congenital heart condition.
The puppy was bought to help their six-year-old daughter Lola - who has autism - regulate her emotions and feel calmer when overwhelmed.
Now the race is on to fund PDA surgery for Dylan, which must be done before his condition causes his heart to grow to a point of no return. Mum-of-one Lorna says insurance will not cover such a major diagnosis, and the family cannot afford to save him on their own.
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Talking about the moment they received the news, the 31-year-old said: “We’re devastated, and I couldn’t stop crying. He’s our baby.
"He’s really sweet and so gentle. We desperately want to fight for him to have surgery but it’s so expensive. It would just mean everything to us to give him a chance. It would make us so happy.”
She added: "He’s just such a great addition to our family and really helps my daughter. Lola loves him and is always around him. He’s really helped her when she’s feeling stressed. She plays with him, and helps look after him, which focuses her energy on him, rather than on feeling overwhelmed and being dysregulated.
"We’ve had so many difficulties and upsets over the years and Lola has her struggles. I just think it’s the cruellest thing that we got him to help her and now he is so unwell. It’s such a horrible irony.”
The family noticed something was wrong with their beloved pet just a few weeks after bringing him home for the first time in July, as he regularly had a rapid heart rate, was unusually lethargic for a puppy and was not putting on much weight.
"He has some playful bouts but he’s very lethargic, slips a lot and his chest felt like it was vibrating,” said Lorna.
They were given the all-clear by a veterinary nurse, who put his lethargy down to his personality, but their fears resurfaced when a pet sitter looking after him for a weekend shared their concerns about him.
They decided to take him back to the vets, with Lorna saying: “Within five minutes, they told me he didn’t have long left to live. I was absolutely devastated. I think I cried for five hours.”
And, she added: “I don’t know how I’m going to explain it to my daughter.
"I just think it’s really important for people to understand the significance of how much animals can help people, especially those with additional needs and disabilities. I think animals are really amazing healers. They’re really, really good therapy.
"They’re so loyal and Dylan is a little lamb with me and Lola – he just follows us around all day. He’s already brought so much happiness to us.”
The treatment will be carried out by Animal Trust, a not-for-profit vets, with Lorna adding: "I’ve been told it could be life-saving, which would be incredible.”