After losing her home and possessions in a fire, Rosie Waiapu wept when Rotorua veterinarian Trevor Kelly told her VetPlus is giving the family an early Christmas present.
The clinic is covering the bill for her family's dog injured in the fire.
She feels extreme gratitude to the vet and the firefighter who pulled 5-year-old Bobby, an English bull terrier, from the burning Wrigley Rd home in the early hours of Sunday November 11.
When the dog was first seen by the vet, Mrs Waiapu said they weren't sure if he would survive. The dog was having difficulty breathing and his eyes were badly affected.
"I'm just so overwhelmed. The bill was more than $900. Trevor and his team have been just awesome since the day he was hurt. We didn't think he would make it but each day he seemed like he was getting better. Words can't express how grateful we are," she said through tears.
Bobby was extremely ill when he arrived at the surgery, having suffered the toxic effects of smoke inhalation, Mr Kelly said.
"He went into intensive care. We were unsure if he would make it in those early stages. He couldn't breath properly. He had damage to his upper airways and lungs. His mouth was burnt with ulcers and the cornea off his eyes had ulcers. He was in shock and couldn't eat."
A feeding tube was inserted through the dog's neck.
"He couldn't swallow and it was painful for him to breathe ... it can be a very serious condition."
The dog's health would be compromised for some time yet while his lungs fully recovered, he added.
' The family already had enough to cope with, without having to deal with a bill they couldn't afford, Mr Kelly said.
"It just makes sense," he said.
"They can't afford the bill and they have enough to worry about. It's one way to support the community. It's an early Christmas present for them." Meanwhile, the family have "invaded" Mrs Waiapu's brother's home until they find a new one and they are overwhelmed by the support from the community.
They had been inundated with donations of clothes, whiteware and furniture, Mrs Waiapu said.
"It's been incredible. We've had so much support from our neighbour school, Sunset Primary, the community and kura where I work. It warms your heart to know everyone cares so much. We'd just like our own place."