Two women who fell in love with a malnourished and injured dog while on holiday in Turkey have raised £2,000 to bring him home to South Yorkshire.
Sheffield Hallam University student Natalie Javens and her partner, Emma Goddard, aged 28, received a staggering £500 boost from a complete stranger to help pay for Duke the dog to be sent to the UK for a better life.
The animal-loving couple first found Duke when they were out shopping in the Turkish city of Marmaris in August.
The English Pointer was emaciated and suffering from a large cut across his side, which appeared to be rotting his flesh due to an infection.
After spending what little money they had on food and water for him, they took a taxi to the nearest vets to seek medical treatment. They then paid enough money to cover his vet bills and kennel boarding fees.
Business and economics student Natalie, aged 22, of Millicent Square, Maltby, said: “The day we had to leave him was so difficult.
“In the few days we’d known him, we had both got so attached so we wanted him back with us as soon as possible.”
On their return to the UK, they discovered it would take three months until Duke could be brought to the UK and he would need his own passport and visa, with costs totalling some £2,000.
They set up an online fundraising page, which raised £700 overnight, and raised extra cash through car boot sales and raffles – but they were still £500 short.
Hope finally came when Natalie received a call from a Rawmarsh pensioner who had seen Duke’s story.
The lady explained she didn’t have access to online banking and instead wanted to send a cheque to the couple directly.
The following week, Natalie returned home to Maltby from university to a handwritten letter and a cheque as promised.
Natalie said: “We were expecting maybe £10 but there it was – £500. It took a while to process.
“It was just a massive relief knowing we don’t have to worry anymore, Duke’s coming home. I cannot thank this lady enough for her generosity.
“We couldn’t have done any of this without everybody’s help, we’ve made friends out of strangers just because of our mutual love for animals.”
The couple have already rescued seven dogs in the UK prior to meeting Duke, four of which they have taken on as pets.
Duke is set to come to England this week, and he will live with Emma’s mother, also called Emma, in Swinton.