St Leonards man faced with £4k vet bill after beloved dog left unable to walk

A St Leonards man said his ‘whole body and heart ached’ when he realised his beloved pug could only use her front legs after being hit by a car when she ran away while they were on a walk.

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 12:02 pm

Kristian Rawlings, 32, was walking his three-year-old pug Dolly, on Saturday, July 31, when she was startled by a group of people walking towards them in Northampton Way. She slipped her harness and bolted from the scene.

When Kristian eventually found Dolly, sitting at the side of the road in Church Wood Drive, he realised she could only drag herself forward using her front legs. Fearing she had been hit by a vehicle, Kristian called the emergency out of hours vet and Dolly was given pain relief and underwent x-rays.

The initial x-rays were inconclusive so, the next day, Kristian took Dolly back to the vets to be sedated for a new set of scans.

Kristian Rawlings with Dolly the pug, St Leonards. SUS-211108-092318001

These showed the disc space between a set of her vertebrae was narrow than the others, indicating it may have moved or ruptured. However, the vet said Dolly would require an MRI scan to be sure and that it would cost roughly £4,000.

Kristian, who has been a full-time carer for his mum since he was 16, said he did not have any insurance as Dolly was mainly an indoor dog until her last vaccination when the vet said she needed to lose some weight. As a result, Kristian started talking her for walks at night.

He said he had already spent his savings on the emergency vet and had to borrow money for the second set of x-rays and could not afford the MRI scan.

He added: “The vet, knowing my situation, said I had two options: pay for the MRI scan to determine if there is an issue with her spine and that if there was it would require an expensive surgery costing around £9,000; or wait six weeks and see if there is any improvement and if there is we can move onto the knee surgeries that would cost roughly £4,000, but if there was no improvement then the likelihood of her being paralysed for life would be almost certain.

Kristian Rawlings with Dolly the pug, St Leonards. SUS-211108-092305001

“So now here I am trying to find a way to help my best friend as she has helped me through so many times of sorrow and loneliness.

“The few friends I have are online friends and we speak everyday and meet up three or four times a year providing there is no pandemic, so Dolly is extremely important to me and I want her to be able to walk and play like she used to, even if it all goes wrong and she would need constant care or even wheels. Well I’ve had a lifetime of training for that too and so long as she is not in pain I will do my best to keep this little dog of mine smiling.”

Kristian has set up a fundraising page to help cover Dolly’s costs, which can be found by visiting