Crippled Xena suffers barbs

Charlene Williams, of Frankton, with her dog Xena. Photo by Joanne Carrol.
Charlene Williams, of Frankton, with her dog Xena. Photo by Joanne Carrol.
Following a spinal injury, Xena the 40kg Newfoundland Labrador-cross loves getting a ride behind her owner's bike, but has sparked negative comments from passers-by.

Owner Charlene Williams said people made cruel comments about Xena in the modified child's bike trailer.

"They think she's lazy and they think we are bad owners because we are not walking our dog," she said.

Xena, the Newfoundland Labrador-cross injured her spine jumping into Lake Wakatipu in February.

Ms Williams said one of Xena's favourite pastimes was to chase sticks off the jetty in the Frankton Arm.

"She had leapt in a dozen times but the last time it was strange because instead of swimming to the right she turned left and got caught up in the jetty.

"When she got out of the water she had trouble walking, her whole back end was collapsing. It was horrible," she said.

She took Xena to the emergency vet who prescribed anti-inflammatories and rest.

"It was absolutely heart-breaking. She couldn't walk at all so we took her to a specialist in Christchurch who said it was a spinal injury but without an MRI scam he could not give her an exact diagnosis," she said.

Without insurance, the $1500 MRI scan would be difficult.

"He told us we could take a wait-and-see approach.

"He assured us we wouldn't be doing her any harm if we waited to see if she improved."

Xena can now go for short walks.

"We used to love tramping but now we can't do that so we decided to go for bike rides.

"We got a children's bike trailer and my husband Jason modified it so Xena can sit in it, and she loves it.

"She loves to have her ears flapping in the wind," Ms Williams said.

"But I hear people making comments. 'She should be running along.

"I heard one woman saying 'That's disgusting'.

"They think we are not exercising our dog. They make pretty crazy assumptions," Ms Williams said.

The couple had set up an online savings account on for people to donate money for Xena's MRI scan.

"We put money on there when we can.

"We have spent over $1000 already on vet bills. We regret not having pet insurance now.

" Getting a firm diagnosis would be good to move forward with her treatment," Ms Williams said.


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