Money isn't everything.
That's the mantra Manukau After Hours Veterinary Clinic take to heart. This week they laboured for hours as they tried to save a tiny chihuahua after it was caught in a house fire.
Last year they saved a cat who copped an arrow through its face. Those and numerous desperate cases in between were all done for free.
Practice manager Jedda Ford said they do around six to 10 pro-bono cases a year which would cost at least $10,000 in medicine, surgery and labour. She said they evaluate the situation based on how desperate the animal is and whether they can get in contact with the owners.
"We're not a free charity at all but we try to bend the rules sometimes for the animals' benefit and when the owners are doing the best for their animal.
"We have our tears it can be a very emotional workplace. But it's a really rewarding job."
The dog that was rescued from the Otahuhu blaze on August 17 was given oxygen therapy, x-rays, a full panel of bloods and was worked on for three hours. Sadly, the dog named Pup-pup died. Ford said it cost the clinic about $1300.
The owners of the dog also had two cats that died in the fire. The clinic, which has been running for 20 years, cremated all the animals at no cost.
The clinic also rescued a cat that got an arrow shot through its head in 2015. They operated on it to take the arrow out, then again to remove the eye.
The cat, named Eileen, was housed by the clinic for a month until they found her a suitable owner. Ford said the triage, surgical, hospitalisation, pain relief and ongoing care of the cat cost at least $4000.
"We like to give the animal best chance we can. We're all animal lovers."
Ford hates seeing animal cruelty. She said they get some horrific cases coming through the clinic. One she remembers is when a boyfriend stomped on his girlfriend's kitten after an argument with her.
Another where someone forced their dog to drink a litre of alcohol. A neighbour brought the dog in and they treated it for alcohol poisoning.
"Animals are a luxury these days, it costs a lot to have them. You have to vaccinate, register, microchip and look after them properly."
Ford wishes all pet-owners would get their animals microchipped. Sometimes it's the only way they can get in touch with a sick or injured animal's owners.
In a story that proves her point Ford told how they once had a cat that had been lost for two years. It was brought in after it was hit by a car. The practice was able to track down the owners after scanning the cat's microchip. The owners arrived just as the cat had to be put down.
"They came down to say good bye, it's closure for those clients.
"We're not all about the money. Vet clinics are expensive but at the end of the day we're here for the animals."
Ford said there are about four after-hours veterinary clinics in Auckland and they do pro-bono work too.
Their vet nurse Wendy Jarnet was named the New Zealand Veterinary Nurses Association Vet Nurse of 2015.