'I flew my dog from the US to the UK for life-saving surgery – it cost £25,000'
A woman has flown her beloved pet 4,000 miles from Kansas, US, to Cambridge, UK, to save the pooch’s life.
Hannah Erganian Robinson, 40, took her Chihuahua Blanche to Cambridge for heart surgery that wasn’t available in the US after the rescue pup was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
Hannah said: ‘We drove for eight hours from Kansas to Denver, and then flew nine and a half hours to London Heathrow travelling over 4,000 miles.
‘The particular operation she needed wasn’t available in the US, and when I decided to go to the UK, people told me I was crazy.
‘I don’t know for sure how old she is as she’s a rescue, but I think she’s around eight or nine years old.
‘It didn’t even bother me that it was going to cost a lot, it’s a journey you take when you love something, and you do everything you can.
‘When Blanche was diagnosed with heart failure, they gave her a year to live, so getting over to the UK for the surgery as well as battling the waiting list was a race against time.
‘When I finally got a call to say I had three weeks to get there, I booked my flights straight away and we went.’
All told, the vet bills, flights, hotel and expenses from the whole trip cost around £25,000.
‘But it was so worth it,’ said Hannah.
‘I always look at her and say I would do it all over again. It proved to me that if you love something and believe in it enough it can happen.
‘People don’t travel to the UK for dog heart surgery but it was one of those moments where it doesn’t matter what others think, I’m getting on the plane and saving my dog’s life.
‘Blanche is now living her best life. I joke that she’s the most expensive free dog but she’s happy and healthy now. I want people to know that people can go to extremes for pets.
‘Her quality of life is so much better now. She can run and play, and she can be comfortable and that’s worth it to me, and selfishly I get more time with her as well.’
When Hannah arrived at the vets in the UK, she was told her dog wasn’t guaranteed to make it through.
She adds: ‘She was very sick when we were finally able to fly, it was nearly the year anniversary of her diagnosis.
‘After her surgery, I got a call at nine at night telling me she might not make it through the night, I begged to see her, and they bent the rules and let me go in to see her. I gave her my shirt, so she could at least smell me and not think I had abandoned her.
‘I got another call at six in the morning telling me she had made it through the night. My heart sank when I was getting the call as I thought it was going to be bad news, but I couldn’t believe it.
‘She had some breathing difficulties after the surgery which they didn’t think she would pull through from, but when she got better, they told me they had no medical explanation as to why she was getting better, but she was.
‘This surgery isn’t available in America, so when we returned after a month of being in the UK, all the vets were so in awe of Blanche. I want everyone to know this surgery is available and can be done.
‘She is so special, and she’s been with me through everything. Blanche has saved me and rescued me when I needed her, so this is my turn to save her. I promised when I rescued her, I would save her and so it was my turn to protect her.’
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