Reegan (left), 12, and Brodie, 9, Buck with their injured puppy.
Reegan (left), 12, and Brodie, 9, Buck with their injured puppy. ALISTAIR BRIGHTMAN

Vets: show me the cash

A SINGLE mum was told to take her three-month-old puppy to the pound because she couldn’t afford to have it looked at by a local vet.

Urangan’s Niscinda Buck found her staffordshire terrier, Dippy, cowering on her back veranda yesterday morning with a badly injured eye.

While most families would simply put the dog in the car and take it to the local vet, her dilemma was she didn’t have any money.

She called a number of local vets and explained her problem and asked if she could pay for the visit in instalments.

She was shattered when every clinic turned her down.

“As a single mum with two young children to care for I just don’t have cash in the bank to pay for these types of emergencies,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe it when one clinic told me the best thing I could do was to take the dog to the pound because it would then get treatment.

“How could I explain to the kids that I had to take Dippy to the pound?”

Ms Buck said she understood that vets needed to be paid but said they should also understand that some people were doing it tough.

“All I was looking for was a little understanding and I got none – I am so disappointed.”

Veterinarian Lily Podger, from Scarness Veterinary Surgery, said it was true that many veterinary surgeries did not offer account billing services because it cost vets a lot of time and energy chasing up those who did not pay their bills.

“A dog costs money,” she said.

“People are often not prepared for these kind of things.

“When it comes down to it, a pet is really a luxury.

“We could treat animals for free but then we wouldn’t be here.”

The Chronicle contacted three other Hervey Bay vets who echoed Ms Podger’s sentiments. They said too many people had burnt them and left them carrying the debts.

Ms Buck said she was able to budget for things such as immunisation and desexing but that no one could predict an emergency situation.

“Who can foresee that an animal will injure itself overnight?”

She said she was able to provide an animal with a happy, caring home and did not believe that being a low-income earner should prevent her from having a pet.

For the moment Dippy has to put up with her injury while Ms Buck tries to raise funds to take her to the vet.

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