Portland woman forced to choose: House or hound?

Portland woman forced to choose: House or hound?

A Portland woman was ready to sacrifice a new house to save her hound.

Heather Raffensperger was prepared to spend $3,000 she had saved for a down payment on a house for surgery for her 10-month-old bull terrier puppy, Desmond. A horse kicked him three times at 1000 Acres park near Troutdale when horseback riders came through the area and Desmond was off-leash.

“It was really hard. We were at the vet yesterday and he looked up at us and you could tell in his eyes he was like, ‘Why, why, why is this happening?  It's been really emotional,” Raffensperger said.

She’s already spent $2,000 on Desmond in the last year for allergies, treatment of a genetic disease and other “puppy issues,” and she said no expense is too much. He may even need physical therapy after the surgery.

“We were probably going to have to back out of buying the house,” she said. “He's family, so family comes before a house.”

Animal internist Dr. Tanya Donovan has seen people spend even more for their pets.

“Your dog gets off leash even for a second and gets hit by a car, and that can be a $6,000 operation easily,” Dr. Donovan said. “Over time, it can become really expensive.”

Turns out, Heather Raffensperger won’t need to choose between her house and her puppy. She put Desmond’s story on a pet fundraising website and raised more money than she needed.

“I am really overwhelmed,” she said through tears. “Waking up this morning and it's at $3,000 now. It's all taken care of.”

Now she said she’ll just have to come up with the money to send nearly 100 donors thank you cards. She may also take a look at getting pet insurance.