Thanks a million for saving our Betsy ...

Betsy the golden retriever with Joyce and Diane Hankin. Photo by Steven Brown.
Betsy the golden retriever with Joyce and Diane Hankin. Photo by Steven Brown.

A Kirkcaldy couple are planning a big fundraiser to repay the charity which helped save their beloved golden retriever puppy.

Betsy, who is now seven-months-old, needed vital specialist surgery in England after falling seriously ill with a liver condition she was born with.

It was noticed by Joyce and Diane Hankin of the town’s Duddingston Drive, who are registered puppy walkers for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and who had been training Betsy from the age of eight weeks.

Within weeks of taking her into their home the women noticed she was lethargic and drinking lots but was off her food.

A visit to the vet resulted in her being admitted and it was discovered that she had a liver shunt which meant that her liver didn’t function properly and she was being poisoned by toxins in her body.

“They told us the diagnosis wasn’t good and we were totally devastated and preparing for the worst.

“Guide Dogs for the Blind said that if anything could be done to go ahead, and she was transferred across to the Royal Veterinary Hospital in Edinburgh where she spent five days on a drip before coming back to us.”

The couple were told that she needed a major operation, but that she wasn’t strong enough, but just two weeks later her condition plummeted again.

At just 16 weeks old she was taken to a specialist hospital, the Willow Centre in Coventry where she was put on a special diet. She eventually was deemed strong enough to be operated on.

“We had booked a holiday in America before any of this happened, and when we returned she was really improving,” said Joyce.

Betsy finally returned to Kirkcaldy three weeks ago, after recuperating with a puppy walker and is now thriving and growing stronger by the day.

“She is like a different dog. Although she is small for her age because of what she has been through, she is doing great and getting spoiled,” explained Diane.

“She will never be a guide dog because of her illness, but we have adopted her and she will have a happy life here.”

Joyce and Diane, who between them have puppy walked 24 dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind, also have two other dogs.

The pair are now planning a fundraising night in the Beveridge Park Hotel in March to repay some of the £6000 the charity spent on Betsy’s treatment. Anyone who can help with raffle prizes should call (01592) 644856.