Owner thanks Sidmouth residents who saved four-legged best friend Rocco

Dan Brockman with Rocco.

Dan Brockman with Rocco. - Credit: Archant

A tiny pooch that underwent heart surgery, costing £15k, will live to fight another day thanks to donations from residents in Sidmouth and across the UK.

Rocco and Samantha Hosker.

Rocco and Samantha Hosker. - Credit: Archant

The Herald previously reported Samantha Hosker’s heartbreak when she discovered he beloved pet Rocco needed a lifesaving operation in October 2016.

The 37-year-old, who grew up in the town, was orginally told that she would need to find £25,000 if she wanted to the Chihuahua-Jack Russell cross’ life.

The nine-year-old pooch suffered heart failure in 2016 - vets said his mitral heart valve was leaking but UK vets were reluctant to operate on him.

The desperate owner took to the Internet to research Rocco’s condition and found out about a specialist team, headed by Dr Masami Uechi - who developed a procedure to correct the heart condition, but they were based in Japan.

Ilaria Spalla, Poppy Bristow and Dan Brockman with Rocco.

Ilaria Spalla, Poppy Bristow and Dan Brockman with Rocco. - Credit: Archant

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The nearest place they could do the operation was France and the cost to fly the team there was estimated at £25,000.

Knowing she would not be able to pay for the operation by herself, Samantha issued a desperate plea to Herald readers asking them to help her raise the funds needed to save her four-legged best friend.

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While she was fundraising, Samantha discovered that there was another man who had been recently trained by one of the specialist Japanese surgeons – this was Supervet Dan Brockman, a top Royal Veterinary College surgeon.

Because he was based in the UK, this also meant that the operation would be more affordable, costing £15,000 instead.


Rocco. - Credit: zqgCbaSVOj6v+QkcroazhgX+SLmFyv/Q

Samantha said: “Rocco did not have a lot of time left so when we found out there was someone who was closer and more affordable it was brilliant.

“At that stage Rocco only had a 40 per cent chance of survival.

“Dan and his team were amazing – the operation was a complete success and he has made a full recovery.

“He has got his life back and his heart has gone completely back to normal.

“It was worth every penny, knowing I have a few more years with him is everything.

“Half the money was my own, and the other half came from donations and friend helped me with the last bit.”

Samantha said she wanted to thank everyone that has helped Rocco and given her more time with her beloved best friend.

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