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I'm left at home for a few days with strict instructions to take good care of our two Dalmations and five polo ponies whilst my lovely charming wife and two daughters are sunning themselves in the middle east!

The girls fly off on Thursday afternoon, I get home from work feed the dogs, hay the horses, cook myself some supper and then off to bed. Woken in the middle of the night by the sound of our eldest doggy being sick. Cleared up, put her back to bed only to come down in the morning to find that she had been ill again. Fortunately I was working from home and kept an eye on her that day. She was off her food and now bilious. I thought that perhaps she may have caught and eaten something that had disagreed with her.

No improvement and went to bed hoping all would be fine in the morning. Sadly not. She looked weak, she was cold, she was shaking and not at all happy. I called the emergency surgery number and spoke to the duty nurse who said to bring her down immediately. After the examination which was at this stage inconclusive vet Margaret decided to put her on a drip to rehydrate her and to take some bloods and ultra sound/scan to try and establish what was going on.

Rat poisoning was suspected but not all of the symptoms tied in with her clinical signs. Tara was kept overnight with 24 hour round the clock nursing care. She responded quickly to the rehydration but things were still not right. After more tests we discovered that she had now started bleeding internally and her condition was now critical. If she didn't get a blood transfusion quickly and if we couldn't stop the bleeding then that would have been the end.

Happily for us Snoop and her owner were on hand and within the hour Snoop donated some blood and the transfusion began. She was monitored closely by vets Helen and Anneli and the veterinary nurses Sarah and Olivia. The vets administered Vitamin K1 as the antidote to the poison and within 12 hours Tara was on the road to recovery.

Had it not been for the skills and knowledge of all the staff at the surgery and the kindness of Snoop's owner Tara would not be with us right now and my life would not have been worth living. As a family we are very grateful to all the staff at the surgery and to Snoop and his owner. We have now offered to put forward our other Dalmation as a donor and hope that you might consider doing the same.