WHEN asked what she wanted for Christmas, Heather-Jane Thomson had just one thing at the top of her list - a new foot for her beloved dog.

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The 34-year-old, who has a rare chromosomal abnormality that causes her to suffer from dementia, is mightily attached to Bumble Bee the basset hound.

For the last year she and her family, who live in Grundisburgh near Woodbridge, have been rasing money to pay for an operation for her prized pooch to get a new paw.

The dog was born with a club foot and they had feared they might have to put her down as she was unable to walk properly.

However there is hope on the horizon after Bumble Bee recently underwent a pioneering operation for a new shoulder, over seen by “bionic” vet Noel Fitzpatrick, who specialises in creating artificial limbs for animals.

The treatment was a world first and means that surgery for a new leg and foot implant has been pencilled in for some time in the first two weeks of January.

Mr Fitzpatrick has agreed to perform the operation on a cost only basis and will not charge a fee for his services.

However the family still need to raise around £5,000 if they are to make Heather’s hopes a reality.

Her mother Vicky Thomson-Carr, 54, said: “Bumble’s shoulder is holding out well and she is recovering at Mr Fitzpatrick’s practice in Surrey. Heather has missed her so much but she understands that this is the only way she will get better. There was just one thing on the top of her list to Santa this Christmas - a new paw for her friend. It would mean the world for her if that wish was to come true.”

Mrs Thomson-Carr said they would like to thank everyone who has supported them so far - including Whitwoth Veterinary Practice in Trimley St Mary - and made the first operation possible.

“It wouldn’t have happened without everyone’s support,” she continued. “I just hope we can raise the rest of the money to help us get over the finish line. Mr Fitzpatrick will only operate on dogs where he strongly believes he can give them a normal, pain free life.

“As in all surgeries of this type there are no guarantees but there is no choice. Without this surgery Bumble Bee will have to be put to sleep, which will be so sad for her and devastating for Heather.”

For more information contact 07888662195 or e-mail bumblebionicpaw@hotmail.co.uk. Donations can be made via the Lloyds TSB account number 58467768, sort code 309455, with cheques payable to the Bumble Bionic Paw Fund.

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