Cancer-stricken husky given second chance thanks to doggy donor

Loki and owner Neil Featherby running the 100-mile ‘Anything for Loki Cross Norfolk Challenge’

Loki and owner Neil Featherby running the 100-mile ‘Anything for Loki Cross Norfolk Challenge’ - Credit: Supplied by Taverham vets/Neil Featherby

For years Neil Featherby and his beloved huskies have delighted city folk as they spotted the pack racing around Norwich.

The dynamic duo are often spotted pounding the streets with a wave and a howl for the crowds. 

But disaster struck this year after popular pooch, nine-year-old Siberian Husky Loki, collapsed while out on his regular round.

The dog - who was barely responsive - was raced to Taverham Veterinary Hospital on February 5 where he underwent pioneering surgery.

An ultrasound examination revealed a large volume of fluid in Loki’s abdomen and a mass which urgently needed removing.

Loki was so unwell that he needed a very complex blood transfusion to get him through the surgery. 

Thankfully doggy donations from across the city meant Loki pulled through and the heroic husky has now started chemotherapy.

Most Read

But the life-changing events has prompted both Taverham Vets, and Loki's owner, to appeal for more su-paw-hero blood donors to come forward.

Registered veterinary nurse Hayley Hyam at Taverham Veterinary Hospital with feline friend Hendrix

Registered veterinary nurse Hayley Hyam at Taverham Veterinary Hospital with feline friend Hendrix - Credit: Hayley Hyam

Hayley Hyam, registered veterinary nurse at Taverham Veterinary Hospital, said: "Loki is an incredible patient who takes all he has been through and ongoing treatments in his stride.

"He is doing so well and is even running regularly with his owner and his husky family."

Loki's owner, runner Neil Featherby, said: "Seeing him laying there was horrible. He had an oxygen mask and was gulping for air.

"It's something I'll never forget.

Nine-year-old Husky Loki needed oxygen when arriving at Taverham vets 

Nine-year-old Husky Loki needed oxygen when arriving at Taverham vets - Credit: Supplied by Taverham vets/Neil Featherby

"We are on borrowed time. It's a terrible illness that he's got and it's terminal.

"Every day is a holiday. Every day is special."

Hayley added: "Loki’s story is a real-life example of the resilience, determination and strength of the dogs that we are so lucky to share our lives with."

Loki continues to live each day to the fullest.

Since his surgery and diagnosis, he has been a figurehead for fundraising activities.

Neil completed a 100-mile ‘Anything for Loki Cross Norfolk Challenge’, with Loki joining him in instalments along the way.

The 100-mile ‘Anything for Loki Cross Norfolk Challenge’ raised £5,100 for charitable causes

The 100-mile ‘Anything for Loki Cross Norfolk Challenge’ raised £5,100 for charitable causes - Credit: Supplied by Taverham vets/Neil Featherby

The challenge raised £5,100 for charities including Hallswood Animal Sanctuary, Nelson’s Journey, Pawpers in the Ruff, NI Dog Rescue and Fox Angels.

By sharing Loki's story, Neil and Taverham vets are raising awareness of the importance of canine blood donors.

If you are interested in your dog becoming a donor, visit petbloodbankuk.org/pet-owners/dog-blood-donation/find-your-nearest-donation-session.

Loveable Loki continues to live life to the fullest

Loveable Loki continues to live life to the fullest - Credit: Supplied by Taverham vets/Neil Featherby

Could your dog be a su-paw-hero?

Has your pup pal got what it takes to help out fellow four-legged friends?

Ideal candidates are confident and happy being handled and enjoy meeting new people - and not too phased by heading to the vet.

Dogs that are energetic and full of beans are very welcome, as long as they have a reasonable level of obedience and are confident.

Doggie donors must:

  • Be fit and healthy
  • Between one and eight years old
  • Weigh more than 25kg
  • Have a good temperament
  • Have never travelled outside of the UK and Ireland
  • Be vaccinated or have an annual titre test after the first year booster
  • Not on any medication

But don't worry, if your dog doesn't meet all of the above criteria - or is anxious or nervous, wary of new people or fearful at the vets - you can support dog blood donation by visiting petbloodbankuk.org/get-involved.