Cheshire Life feature

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If you’ve seen our feature in the January edition of Cheshire Life you will have read about Hunter’s story.

Sophie, who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), has said her dreams have come true, after her Assistance in Disability dog was given the all clear following a double hip replacement.

Vets have now discharged Hunter, just six months after his owner, Sophie Perkins, was told that the German Shepherd needed urgent surgery for Hip Dysplasia that left the 22-month-old dog barely able to walk.

Sixteen-year-old Sophie had been left distraught by the news and launched a fundraising campaign to raise the estimated £9,000 for the two operations.

But following an intervention from the Pets at Home Vet Group, Hunter had both hips replaced at the group’s specialist orthopaedic centre Northwest Surgeons, after the fundraising total had reached just £3,663.

“The last six months have been a whirl, but I’m so happy that Hunter is now back to his old self,” said Sophie. “I still can’t believe the generosity and kindness of the public who helped us raise the initial money, and then the Pets at Home Vet Group for offering to do the surgery at it’s Northwest Surgeons specialist centre. Hunter is so important to me, he helps me with everything. So when I was seeing him in pain, I knew I had to do everything I possibly could to try and help him back to fitness. He has never looked better and I couldn’t be more delighted. Hunter gets to play in the garden again, we’ve been going out for trips to the countryside and he can now climb the stairs to give me a cuddle when I’m in my bedroom.”

Hunter’s operations took place at Northwest Surgeons’ specialist centre in Sutton Weaver, near Runcorn, which meant he was away from Sophie and her mum Carolyn for nearly a week each time. But his recovery is now complete and his surgeon has made his final assessment, giving Hunter the all clear to live life to the full. When Hunter first came to the surgery earlier this summer he was obviously struggling with both hips and a replacement was the only option. He had the worst affected hip replaced first, and following his successful recovery from that surgery, it was felt his other hip would require replacing too. His recovery from both operations has been excellent and it’s great to see him being able to run around and enjoy a life as a dog should.

Prior to his operations Hunter was undergoing training to become an officially recognised AID dog, but now he’s clear to complete the training and help Sophie with such simple tasks as getting up and walking around the house.

Sally Hopson, CEO at the Pets at Home Vet Group, said: “At the Pets at Home Vet Group, our main ethos and number one priority is a pet’s health and wellbeing. In this case we were not only able to help an animal in distress, but a suffering owner too. It’s fantastic to see that Hunter is now running about with no problems, all thanks to the orthopaedic specialists at Northwest Surgeons”.

“We all wish both Hunter and Sophie the very best for the future.”

Hunter came into the Perkins’ household when he was just 8 weeks old in 2013. His and Sophie’s bond has grown stronger and stronger over the years, as he has helped her to become a more active person.

Carolyn added: “Hunter has significantly changed Sophie’s life for the better. Before he came into her life every single day was a struggle. I’m just so grateful to everyone who made his surgery a reality; from the people who donated to the fundraising campaign to everyone at Northwest Surgeons and the Pets at Home Vet Group. Seeing the dynamic duo, Sophie and Hunter, back together again is just so perfect, they have a very special relationship. It was so hard seeing them both suffering, but now Hunter is back to full physical health, he can help keep Sophie’s suffering at a minimum.”