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Community / Fundraising underway to pay for Pepe’s life-saving operation

£10,000 needed to fix rare condition that means young dog’s paws point the wrong way

Pepe requires a life-saving operation to address a 'freak' condition with his front paws.

A LERWICK family is seeking donations to help with the £10,000 cost of an operation for their young dog to fix a rare condition which means both of his front legs are pointing the wrong way.

Marie Mouat said she and her family were desperate to find a way of funding the operation, as the alternative would be having one-year-old Pepe put to sleep.

Pepe was born on 8 August last year and has spent the past 16 months living with his mother Daisy, a Lhasalier, and Marie said he was the “most mischievous puppy” and the largest of the six puppies in his litter.

“He would constantly be arguing with his siblings usually over their favourite tiny tennis ball,” she said. “He would always be the first one into the food, most of the time actually bathing in it, but when he was still really young we noticed both of his front legs were pointing the wrong way.”

Marie and her family are trying to raise the £10,000 by any means possible.

They thought it was “probably nothing” but took him to the vet and were advised to seek further examination. After an X-ray on 12 August they were told his radius and ulnar had grown too fast, causing “severe curvature” of both bones.

“They’re saying it’s a very freak, rare thing and they’re not actually sure why it’s happened,” Marie said, “but they are severely curved – the left [paw] sticks right out to the side when he walks.”

Initially vets feared there was “no hope” but following the X-ray are confident Pepe can be successfully operated on.

It leaves Marie and her family facing a steep bill of £5,000 per leg, as well as a 300-mile journey, or the upsetting alternative of having such a young and otherwise healthy dog put down.

Marie said: “We would hate to see Pepe, a dog who has only been around for one year, have to leave so soon but we can’t afford the operation and the insurance will only cover up to £2,000, which will be mostly eaten up by his medication.”

With damage in his bones already causing arthritis, the family has been advised that “the sooner we can get it done the better”.

If they can raise the necessary funds the family hope Pepe can be operated on at a specialist veterinary surgery in Edinburgh next spring.

Having re-homed numerous rescue dogs over the years Marie is hoping other animal lovers might be able to help her out on this occasion.

Apart from Pepe (second left) and his mum Daisy (right) all of the dogs belonging to Marie were rehomed from families that could no longer look after them, including Lucy (left) and Maisy (second right).

She has loved dogs and cats since she grew up on a croft in the south end of Shetland.

“We have five cats as well – I just love my animals and, as I say, all the animals we have apart from Pepe have been dogs that need homes, where if we didn’t take them they’d put them to sleep. We’ve always tried to help give dogs a home.”

Marie and her family are staging a fundraising raffle and selling off various bits and pieces of furniture and clothing as part of the fundraising effort.

“We don’t want him to get put to sleep because he’s such a super peerie character,” she added.