Couple selling home to meet ruinous vet bill

Old English Sheepdogs Bobby and Tiger, owned by Ray and Diane Shilling of Bexhill
Old English Sheepdogs Bobby and Tiger, owned by Ray and Diane Shilling of Bexhill

A BEXHILL couple have put their dream home on the market - after a costly but failed bid to save their pet Old English sheepdog, Bobby.

Ray and Diane Shilling are having to find thousands of pounds to meet veterinary bills, and see selling their home as the only way.

Formerly of Pebsham, the Shillings bought a £300,000+ apartment at Channel View in September, thinking its beachside location would be ideal for walking Bobby and their other sheepdog, Tiger, as they grew older.

But their dream turned into a nightmare when their pets suddenly fell ill. Both dogs had been medically insured, but a doubling of premiums meant the Shillings decided not to renew cover.

Just five days later Tiger, now six, needed emergency and then ongoing treatment for stomach and bowel problems, which have so far cost more than £20,000.

Then in January, Bobby, eight, was diagnosed with lymphoma (cancer) and renal disease. On Sunday, with chemotherapy failing, his owners took the heartbreaking decision to have him put to sleep.

Mrs Shilling said:“We had insured Bobby again, but within three months vet fees swallowed up the £10,000 annual cover.” She feels urgent action is needed to cap such costs.

“We’re still paying off huge sums to the vet hospital in North London thatcared for him and to our local vet for dietary food and medication,” said Mrs Shilling.

“Bobby’s quality of life with the treatment he had been receiving was amazing, but suddenly the chemo wasn’t working any more. We would never let him suffer or keep him alive for our benefit, so we had to let him go.

“We only pray that Tiger does not need any more major surgery because we would also have to put him to sleep, as we have no other financial options open to us.

“ We’ could never have dogs again as the emotional and financial stress it has caused to our everyday life is inconceivable. But we don’t regret our decision to try to help Bobby as best we could.”