TAHNEE Beard was sitting at home watching telly last Sunday night when she heard a loud bang out the front of her house.
Animal lover's fund comes to injured Missy's rescue
She and her mother rushed outside to find that their pet dog Missy, a Staffordshire bull terrier, had been hit by a car, which had sped off.
Tahnee explains that her house is owned by the Department of Human Services and that the fence had been broken for a number of months.
She had asked the department to fix it but they hadn't got around to it - enabling Missy to run onto the main road adjacent to their house.
Tahnee didn't blame the department or the driver of the car - all she cared about was the well-being of her beloved pet.
"There was blood coming from her eyes; there was blood everywhere," Tahnee said, her voice tinged with fear.
The 16-year-old rushed Missy to the vet, who injected the dog with pain-relief medication costing $800.
The next day Tahnee was told Missy's leg needed to be amputated, to a further cost of $600.
Tahnee is a full-time carer for her mother, who has a brain injury.
While most people her age are attending school and hanging out with their friends, Tahnee has an incredible amount of responsibility on her shoulders.
The pair live off her mother's disability pension and Tahnee's carer's allowance, which doesn't leave them with much money to spare.
After Missy was hit, the teenager desperately searched for a way to scrimp together her vet fees.
"I ran around trying to get a loan but I couldn't," she says.
"Nobody lets you do payment plans these days either."
Thankfully, however, help came in the form of the Pet Medical Crisis Fund - a charity established by Bendigo animal lover Jennifer Hunt in 2010.
The organisation pays for vet costs in times of crises, when people would otherwise have no option but to have their pet put down.
Luckily Missy's vet had heard of the fund and could see that Tahnee needed help.
The vet kindly agreed to lower the fee to $1000 - the maximum amount the fund will pay for any given case - and Missy was saved.
Tahnee beams with gratitude.
"I couldn't thank them enough for donating that money," she said.
"She's more than a dog - she's family."
While Missy is still recovering from her trauma - crying frequently and having nightmares - little by little her spirits are brightening.
It's been an emotional week for Tahnee but her deep sense of relief is more than evident.
"I do feel very lucky," she said.
For more information or to donate go to www.facebook.com/PetMedicalCrisisFund
She's more than a dog – she's family.