He may not be getting a wheelchair for Christmas but Bear the Samoyed is well on the way to receiving the mobility device he needs to prolong his life.
Bay of Plenty Regional Councillor and animal lover Paula Thompson has pledged up to $500 towards the $1000 needed, after reading about Bear's plight in the Bay of Plenty Times last week.
Bear, owned by Bronwyn Miller, suffers from a degenerative nerve condition that Ms Miller likens to multiple sclerosis.
She estimates her beloved pet will lose the use of his back legs within a year, and she will be unable to care for him because, at 30kg, he is too heavy to lift.
She would then face the painful decision of whether to have him euthanised. The wheelchair would cost around $800, plus $200 in freight from the United States But Ms Miller, who also suffers from a nerve disease, adrenoleukodystrophy (ADL), that affects the strength in her legs, and lupus erythematosus, a collection of autoimmune diseases, is on an invalid's benefit and unable to raise the money herself.
Ms Thompson was quick to contact the Bay of Plenty Times after reading the article.
``I am sure there are those who would say how ridiculous to spend money on animals. I'm not one of them,'' she said.
Ms Thompson, who has two dogs, two cats and ``feeds a few others as well'', said she ``had to do something for Bear''.
``They [pets] provide a great deal of companionship and loyalty,'' she said.
``Obviously they [Bronwyn and Bear] have a very special relationship and I understand that.''
Ms Thompson, who grew up on a lifestyle block in Paraparaumu surrounded by animals, said most of her pets had chosen her.
``They all arrived on the doorstep and that's the way I like animals to arrive. ``They arrive when they have a need,'' she said.
Ms Miller was ecstatic upon hearing about the donation.
``That's great, that's half the money,'' she said. ``Hopefully I can look at getting the wheelchair in the New Year.''