An Aberdeenshire dog-owner has been living “an absolute nightmare” since his puppy swallowed a piece of metal two weeks ago – leaving it fighting for life in intensive care.
Tom May lives alone on a farm in Logie Newton, near Fyvie – and spends every waking moment with his much-loved puppy Oakley.
The 40-year-old got the pup last year following the sad death of his dog Holly after she developed cancer.
“I was lonely and struggling a bit,” he said, explaining that “wacky” and “full of personality” Oakley had kept him company ever since.
However, the unimaginable happened around two weeks ago when Oakley managed to swallow a piece of metal.
“Oakley being a typical puppy, has found a lump of metal and decided to eat it. We think she has maybe been playing with it and she’s swallowed it by accident,” Mr May said.
“I don’t know whether she picked it up on a walk somewhere – it could have been anywhere. I joked the other day saying I just wish I could ask her.”
After becoming sick, Mr May rushed Oakley to Glenythan Vet Group in Methlick where she underwent emergency surgery to remove the metal – which turned out to be a piece of a lock.
Oakley recovered well from the operation but sadly just two days later “went back downhill” while Mr May was at work.
Rush to Glasgow at 2am
“She just wasn’t well at all so we took her back to the vets and they did some blood tests and found that she had destroyed all her red blood cells. They didn’t really know what was going on but knew she needed a blood transfusion urgently,” he said.
Much to Mr May’s horror, there was no blood available in Aberdeen, and despite the vet at Glenythan offering her own dog as a donor – there wasn’t the specialist equipment available if something were to go wrong.
It meant Oakley and Mr May were soon on their way down to the University of Glasgow Small Animal Hospital, arriving at 2am last Friday morning.
During the early hours, Oakley underwent a life-saving blood transfusion – but sadly it wasn’t enough.
The less than a year old pup has been on a “disastrous” rollercoaster ever since.
Over the last week, Oakley has been attached to IV drips, undergone CT scans and been the subject of multiple tests – leaving her with fluid around the lungs, infections and pancreatitis.
Treatment racks up £7,000 vet bill
It has resulted in an estimated £7,000 vet bill for Mr May, who was prepared to sell his “pride and joy” car to fund the treatments.
However, friend and fellow North-East German Kollektiv car club member Daniel Gray stepped in, setting up a GoFundMe page for the pair.
“He is such a genuinely nice guy and we were just instantly friends,” Mr Gray said.
“When he put on Facebook that Oakley was in a bit of trouble and that it was going to cost thousands of pounds in vet bills so he’d have to sell his car – I just thought I’d set up the GoFundMe to help him out a little bit.
“Within 20 minutes it was way over £500.”
Set up just one week ago, the crowd funder has raised almost £4,500 – leaving Mr May “absolutely blown away”.
Although “not out of the woods yet”, Mr May has been told by vets that Oakley is stable and may be able to get home next week.
“She is looking a bit brighter each day and looking a little bit happier. I am hoping they don’t have to do any more surgery and that it is just medication that she needs,” said Mr May – who has battled through the whole ordeal on crutches after falling down at work just hours before Oakley went to the vet.
“It’s been horrific but everyone has been brilliant with the donations and my friends have been great – they have really looked after me.”
You can donate to Oakley’s GoFundMe page by clicking here.