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How Frances fell in love with Zante Stray Smee and saved his life

When dog lover Frances Heatlie heard about a stray pup who needed a £7,000 operation to survive, she knew she had to help.
Adorable Smee – he’s the first pup on the left – was found along with his seven brothers and sisters on an abandoned fishing boat.
His mum Nikki had settled there to give birth and actually had the pups during a raging storm.
Luckily, volunteers from Zante Strays had followed her and took Nikki and her puppies into foster care.

Soon, all the puppies were bounding around, apart from Smee.

Smee’s vet said he had a liver shunt, meaning blood was being diverted away from his liver by a blood vessel.
He needed surgery to survive and Zante Strays launched a campaign on Frances’ Wildcrowd.org crowdfunding platform.
A second check up revealed the blood vessel was inside the liver, and vets in Greece couldn’t carry out the operation.
When Frances found out, she contacted the Langford Vet School in Bristol who said they could help.

And she decided to adopt Smee and pay for his surgery.

She said: “They say rescue dogs find you and I was so moved by his story, particularly when I learned the vets there couldn’t help him.
“I’d been left money when my father, also a huge animal lover, died and I thought it was fitting that some would be used to help Smee.”

Smee had his operation on July 6 and is recovering well and enjoying his new life with Frances, who lives in Henley-On-Thames.
Frances said: “He spent three hours in surgery with two vets working on him.
“It was worrying but he’s doing really well and we hope he will live a long and happy life.”
Frances is sharing Smee’s story to raise awareness of  Zante Strays who help hundreds of dogs who have been abandoned and ill treated.

Helen Lai, UK co-ordinator for Zante Strays, said: “Thanks to Frances we can help another dog like Smee.
“But we are currently full to capacity and are struggling so donations are vital.”

The charity receives calls to help as many as 20 dogs a week on average during the summer.
There are six main foster homes caring for 250 dogs and a few cats too.
Unlike in the UK, there isn’t government provision for strays or welfare organisations like the RSPCA.
Zante Strays are raising funds to build a new holding shelter and quarantine area for dogs waiting for foster homes.
You can find out more or make a donation on their Wildcrowd page by clicking here.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like How Olaf went from Zante Stray to PAT dog

2 Responses

  1. Thank you Frances. I loved Smee. Came so close to having him but then had his sister Wendy. It was a blessing as I’d only just spent many many thousands over a 6 month period trying to save my beloved Labrador but alas it was all in vain so as a result I’d have really struggled to afford Smee’s op and rehab. Things I guess happen for a reason and I’m so happy for Smee that he is doing well and has found such a loving forever home.

    1. Aw thanks for commenting Janice, it’s such a lovely story isn’t it? I hope lovely Wendy is doing well. They say that dogs find us don’t they and it sounds like Wendy was the one for you and Smee for Frances. xx

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