Two heartbroken boys from Fremington are hoping the generous people of North Devon will help save the life of their canine pal.
The family were devastated when their beautiful French bulldog Koda suffered a freak injury on Monday that has left him paralysed at the age of just two-years-old.
In desperation, Ian Cootes and his partner Roxy have launched a £4,000 crowdfunding campaign with GoFundMe to pay for specialist surgery to save their dog, who means so much to their sons Cassidy and Frankie.
Cassidy, eight, fell in love with Koda as soon as he arrived and they have been inseparable – when Frankie was born a year ago the little dog extended his love and protection to him as well.
He was named Koda, or ‘Koda bear’ after the bear cub in Disney’s Brother Bear because Cassidy did everything with him, just as Kenai did in the film and he told his parents that Koda was his ‘very own little bear cub’.
Now the family are hoping against hope that local people will be willing to donate towards the cost of the surgery, which has more than a 90 per cent of Koda recovering.
He is currently being cared for by the North Devon Animal Ambulance but it is crucial he has the operation as soon as possible.
Ian said the family always acted responsibly but had literally just moved to their new home in Fremington from Bideford – so Koda and the children could have a garden – and simply had no funds left to pay for the operation.
The freak accident on Monday happened when Koda was startled by two Irish setters and jumped back, letting out a huge yelp.
Ian said the dogs had not been aggressive, it was just a reflex reaction, but somehow he injured himself.
The next morning they woke to find him distressed and paralysed in his back legs. Vets confirmed he had spinal damage but the animal ambulance vet said surgery would be possible and had a good chance of succeeding.
Ian said: “We don’t have much time in which to make a decision to save him or to let him go. If he was an old dog we would perhaps seriously consider euthanasia but he is still a baby, he is just two and so kind, so friendly and full of life.
“He is part of our family and our kids’ best friend in the whole world and all of us would be absolutely devastated if he were no longer with us.
“If we hadn’t moved we would have had money to send him straight to surgery. Under normal circumstances I would not have considered this but we have no choice – to either have him out down or find a way to save him
“He is so important to the kids, they love him to bits and we are not prepared to just let him go.”
Ian praised Diana Lewis and the animal ambulance and said he would be doing everything he could to support the charity from this day on.
If you are willing to make a donation to help Koda, go to www.gofundme.com/please-help-save-our-beautiful-koda or you can send a PayPal Gift to firstname.lastname@example.org.