Animals in Need: the fund that saved Sandy the dachshund

Daniel Furina and his dog, Sandy

Daniel Furina and his dog, Sandy

When their beloved pet was catastrophically injured, the Furina family could not afford to pay for her care. With help from University donors, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital came to the rescue.

Sandy the dachshund has been part of the Furina family since she was a puppy.

"We think she’s part-human, to be honest. She has a real happy outlook," says owner Charlie Furina, an electrician and single father who lives in Camden with his children, Tiana, 19, and Daniel, 16. "Sandy is Daniel’s little sidekick. Wherever he is, she’s there."

One night, about five months ago, Charlie let the dog out of the house for her usual run. "But then I started calling and she wouldn’t come," he says. "I’m calling and calling and starting to get a bit concerned.

Then finally, she comes around the corner, but she’s limping and she doesn’t look happy. I pick her up and she lets out a kind of scream. I didn’t know what had happened, but there was a bit of blood."

He still hadn’t spoken to the children when the veterinary hospital called. They told him the University could cover the cost of the surgery through the Animals in Need fund. Launched by the Sydney School of Veterinary Science in 2012, the donor-supported fund helps the University’s teaching hospitals treat animals whose owners cannot afford for pay for their care. The fund also supports treatment for strays and injured wildlife.

On 17 September, the University will acknowledge the donors who support such initiatives with its inaugural Thank You Day. Over the last decade, more than 64,000 donors have contributed a total of $1 million to University research, education and community projects.

For Charlie and his family, the assistance from the Animals in Need fund was "an unbelievable blessing". Sandy’s surgery went smoothly and she adapted quickly to life on three legs.

"She runs, she jumps and she plays with other dogs," says Charlie. "She can’t jump onto the beds anymore, but it hasn’t stopped her jumping on the lounge. She’s a spoilt little princess."

On 17 September, we celebrate University donors with Thank You Day. See how our donors are changing the world.

Australian philanthropy reached new heights when the University of Sydney raised $1 billion from 64,000 donors. On 17 September, we celebrate your generosity with Thank You Day. Here are a few things you have made possible.

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