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It’s a dog’s life for Winston

PUBLISHED: 15:56 15 January 2019

Rachel Wettner with her dog Winston. Rachel raises money to buy wheelchairs and frames for dogs who have lost the use of their legs  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Rachel Wettner with her dog Winston. Rachel raises money to buy wheelchairs and frames for dogs who have lost the use of their legs Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Fundraising is going to the dogs for Rachel Wettner – and she couldn’t be happier.

Rachel, of Great Cornard, near Sudbury, is the driving force behind Winston’s Wheels, which raises money to buy wheelchairs and strollers for when our four-legged friends find they need some help.

In just over 18 months what started out as a fundraising appeal to help her pet dog has grown into a group that has helped dogs all over the UK.

Rachel’s beloved Staffordshire bull terrier Winston was diagnosed with a tumour in his spine in 2017 and gradually lost the use of his rear legs.

An operation would have been too dangerous so a set of stroller wheels was the only other option.

Winston loves running around in the water  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNWinston loves running around in the water Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Already dealing with hefty vet’s bills, Rachel and husband Sid were left with the headache of trying to find £450 for the stroller.

However, a wellwisher set up a fundraising page and the money was quickly found – and since then Winston hasn’t looked back thanks to the new lease of life his wheels gave him.

Overwhelmed with gratitude, Rachel decided that she wanted to dedicate herself to raising money for dog owners in a similar situation.

“What is the alternative? Having otherwise perfectly healthy and much loved pets put to sleep?” she said.

Winston enjoying his walk  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNWinston enjoying his walk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“We could see there was a gap out there that needed to be filled and that’s where the idea for Winston’s Wheels came from.

“We hold regular fundraisers to raise money for chairs and strollers.

“We buy them and we own them, they will always belong to us, but they are lent out permanently until the dog or their owners no longer needs them and then they are returned to us.

“So far we have bought 24 chairs and 11 strollers and they are all out with dogs and their owners. It’s all based on trust, which might sound a bit crazy in this day and age but so far nobody has let us down.

Winston loves going in the water  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNWinston loves going in the water Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“There is a constant demand. The funds don’t go up at all because as fast as we raise the money we need to spend it.

“So far we have spent just over £6,000 and that’s all been raised by animal lovers who support what we do, which is fantastic. Without their help we could not continue.”

To find out more about Winston’s Wheels, or to donate, go to ‘Winstons Wheel’s Fund Raiser’ on Facebook.


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