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'Wonderful' hero dog who warns when owner suffers asthma attacks to be saved after community response

PUBLISHED: 12:36 05 February 2019

Miss Bartlett said: “Olli has been a constant companion whenever I am unwell which is often as I suffer from a chronic life limiting progressive disease. Picture: Contributed by Claire Bartlett

Miss Bartlett said: "Olli has been a constant companion whenever I am unwell which is often as I suffer from a chronic life limiting progressive disease. Picture: Contributed by Claire Bartlett

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A hero dog who saved his owner's step-mother's life is to be saved after an overwhelming community response.

Claire Bartlett and her partner Dave Runniff (pictured), both 31, hoped to raise £5000 to save the life of their rescue dog Olli, who was diagnosed with Cruciate Ligament Disease. Picture: Contributed by Claire BartlettClaire Bartlett and her partner Dave Runniff (pictured), both 31, hoped to raise £5000 to save the life of their rescue dog Olli, who was diagnosed with Cruciate Ligament Disease. Picture: Contributed by Claire Bartlett

Claire Bartlett, who suffers from a life-limiting illness, set up a GoFundMe page for her beloved dog Olli after facing the dreaded task of raising £5,000 to save his life.

The dog was diagnosed with cruciate ligament disease, and Miss Bartlett, along with partner Dave Runniff, both 31, have thanked the “caring” Bungay community after raising enough money to cover appointment costs.

Mr Runniff said: “I would put disease in inverted commas, it is like pulling your Achilles’ tendon in your knee cap.”

As this is the second time Olli has had this surgery, the couple feared their insurance initially wouldn’t cover the cost, meaning the five-year-old dog would be forced to live in pain and faced needing to be put down within six months.

Miss Bartlett: Miss Bartlett: "Olli also warns me whenever I have an asthma attack coming, and has more than once saved Dave’s step-mum’s life when she has fallen, by lying by her side to keep her warm and crying out for help." Picture contributed by Claire Bartlett

But since then, the insurance company have granted to pay for the surgery as a goodwill gesture.

Miss Bartlett said: “We still need to cover the other costs, but this has taken at least £4,000 out of the equation and means Olli can be booked in for his surgery this month.

“Any money left over from Olli’s fund will be donated to other dogs in similar situations on GoFundMe to help them as you have all helped us.”

Both Mr Runniff and Miss Bartlett have relied on the staffy-rottweiler through extreme sickness and hardships for support.

Olli has befriended two cats, Loki and Hela who are like siblings to the staffy-rottweiler. Picture contributed by Claire Bartlett.Olli has befriended two cats, Loki and Hela who are like siblings to the staffy-rottweiler. Picture contributed by Claire Bartlett.

At one point, Mr Runniff lived at the back of a garden centre with Olli.

Miss Bartlett said: “Olli has been a constant companion whenever I am unwell which is often as I suffer from a chronic life limiting progressive disease.

“Amazingly, Olli also warns me whenever I have an asthma attack coming, and has more than once saved Dave’s step-mum’s life when she has fallen, by lying by her side to keep her warm and crying out for help,” she said.

“2019 has been a terrible year for us because I have been in and out of hospital, but that news transformed our year,” she added, “You hear all the negatives about humanity, and things can look pretty dire, our friends and family supported us but it is the strangers who have got to me.

“I’m not Bungay born and bred but I have never felt more embraced and settled. It really is wonderful to live in such a caring community full of wonderful people,” she said.

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