Dog owner from Sidmouth needs £25k for heart surgery to save pet Rocco

Rocco needs the help of Herald readers,

Rocco needs the help of Herald readers, - Credit: zqgCbaSVOj6v+QkcroazhgX+SLmFyv/QcM+a9JjpyZGZgDyN0TMklMA8mqMqymGWvJdfeX/V2sM44mqMFpC/Uw==

A devastated dog owner will face losing her four-legged ‘best friend’ if she cannot find £25,000 for Japanese surgeons to perform a lifesaving heart operation.

Samantha and her best friend Rocco.

Samantha and her best friend Rocco. - Credit: zqgCbaSVOj6v+QkcroazhgX+SLmFyv/QcM+a9JjpyZGZgDyN0TMklMA8mqMqymGWvJdfeX/V2sM44mqMFpC/Uw==

Samantha Hosker was forced to perform CPR on her Chihuahua-Jack Russell cross when he collapsed twice in one day.

After rushing the seven-year-old canine to the vets, she was dealt the devastating bombshell that her beloved dog had heart failure. She was told his mitral heart valve was leaking and could only be fixed with a special operation not offered in the UK.

Samantha, 36, has now set out on a mission to not only raise £25,000, but also arrange for specialists to fly in from the Far East to operate on Rocco’s heart. If successful, the surgery would allow him to live out his life expectancy of 14 - 16 years.

Samantha grew up in Sidmouth and hopes residents in her home town might be able to help her.

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She first discovered Rocco had a heart murmur in April, but says she was told it was nothing to worry about, adding: “I can’t tell you exactly how heartbreaking it is. It’s indescribable the hurt I’m going through. You feel so helpless... I want to try everything I can for him.”

Samantha, now of Ascot, Berkshire, said Rocco had been put on a special diet and a cocktail of medication to control his condition, but he was getting gradually worse. He can only go outside in the garden and cannot get too excited or will suddenly collapse.

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Due to his size, UK vets advise against surgery and so will only keep him comfortable on medication until the inevitable happens.

Samantha said she had taken to the internet to research the condition and had discovered there were specialist surgeons who performed an open-heart operation on dogs of his size, with the best in the world being based in Japan.

The freelance hairstylist said the quarantine to get Rocco to Japan was six months - time he did not have. But there was another clinic in Paris which worked with the Japanese team where she could take him. She has also been looking at ways to arrange for the surgeons to come to London as she had heard of a man in New York who managed to raise £25,000 to pay for the team to fly over and save his pet.

Samantha added: “He is still so young - I was broken hearted when I first found out.

“I have gone through a lot in the last few years and he has helped me through some really hard times. I know I’m biased, but I can honestly tell you he is the kindest, loveliest, most gentle dog you could meet. I never ask for help with money and it’s embarrassing to do so, but if it means helping Rocco then I’ll do whatever it takes. Please help as every penny counts and would mean the world to me and my best friend.”

The operation has a 50 - 75 per cent success rate.

Visit to donate to Samantha’s cause.

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