Take a bow... generous donors help pay for Peak District search dog Dolly’s lifesaving op

Dolly with owner/handler Nick Shepherd. Photo contributed.
Dolly with owner/handler Nick Shepherd. Photo contributed.

A lifesaving mountain rescue search dog has had her life saved by generous strangers who have helped pay for her to undergo an emergency operation.

Dolly the dog has been with Kinder Mountain Rescue Team for six years and involved with more than 150 searches, but her active lifestyle had taken its toll and left her with ligament damage in two of her legs.

The cost of an operation topped more than £8,000 and her insurance would only cover surgery up to £3,000 - so a crowdfunding page was set up and the total was smashed within days.

Owner Nick Shepherd said: “I am utterly blown away by the support from everyone - I just can’t believe it.

“I didn’t even set up the crowdfunding page, someone else did, which is just wonderful. She was always going to have the operation but I’d made peace with the fact and told the children we just wouldn’t be having a big holiday this year.

“To have the money raised by people who have never even met Dolly is so touching and the comments have been so supportive as well, with everyone wishing her well.”

Dolly is nine-years-old and it took three years for her to pass all of her search and rescue exercises. Since qualifying she has found seven missing people.

Nick said: “She has given so much over the years, helping to find people and being part of the team. It’s just so wonderful that people wanted to give back to help her.

“Whenever we do street collections people always say they give ‘just in case’ and we are all volunteer funded, so now to have people coming to give and help one of our team members who needs it to keep searching, it’s just so heartwarming.”

Dolly is one of nine search dogs in the Peak District and at any given time six can be out in various parts of the area to help with different emergencies.

Dolly has now undergone her operation at a specialist centre in Chester and is well on the road to recovery.

Nick added: “During the operation the vet found out her tibia and fibula were slightly fused which resulted in her tibia fracturing when turning the joint to put the steel plate in.

“The vet assures us it is nothing to worry about and shouldn’t be a problem for her at all. Just to make sure, he has put a stronger metal plate in.

“I always call her my Dolly, but now she is a Dolly of the people . Thank-you to everyone who has supported us.”