Penticton woman reaches out to help neighbour after boy's dog breaks legs - InfoNews

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Penticton woman reaches out to help neighbour after boy's dog breaks legs

Kristy Russell started a Gofundme page after neighbour 15-year-old Austin Zenger's dog broke both legs while playing with its mother.
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July 12, 2019 - 6:00 AM

PENTICTON - Kristy Russell hopes a Gofundme page she set up to help her neighbours will offer some assistance to the family that has fallen on some hard times.

Russell set the page up to help 15-year-old Austin Zenger pay for a veterinarian after his five-month-old pup, Champ, broke two elbows while playing with its mother.

“Everything has gone bad for them,” an emotional Russell says of the Zengers. “Austin is the nicest kid you’ll ever meet. My husband was outside last night while Champ and his mother were playing when he heard a screech of pain from the dog. He called Austin, and the family ended up taking the dog to Kelowna, because there are no emergency vets in the South Okanagan. The vet told them Champ has two broken elbows.”

She says the family has had nothing but bad luck since moving to the Twin Lakes area southwest of Penticton, two years ago.

Austin’s father, Pete Zenger, says the family moved to the area from Hamilton, Ontario, roughly two years ago, after he was diagnosed with terminal lung disease.

He lived in the area in the 1990s before moving to Ontario, and thought the air would be easier to breathe.

Assured he could move his mortgage to a new property in British Columbia, he made the move only to find out the bank wouldn’t give him a mortgage because of his health.

The family had enough money to buy a property near Twin Lakes, and are hoping to get a house built to “lock up stage” in order to sell and move back to Ontario, where Pete believes he will be able to afford to buy a house for his family. They currently live in a trailer on the property.

“That would get us back to where we started. Even though I breathe a thousand times better here, but it doesn’t matter, my kids need a home,” he says.

"Champ’s a beautiful dog. He’s Austin’s best friend,” Pete says, adding the family has no other friends or family in the area.

He says the mother and pup were playing like they normally do when the mother accidentally landed the wrong way on the pup, breaking both elbows.

“It’s huge money. I talked to my son, who said to sell his motorbike to help pay for Champ. He’s torn apart,” Pete says, adding the family is pawning rings and other items to raise the money.

“I know my kids are going to lose their dad, I don’t want them to lose their best friend, it’s just too much,” Pete says.

“We didn’t ask anyone for anything. I’m a proud man. I’ve never asked anyone for anything and I’ve worked hard my whole life,” Pete says. 

He says his neighbour, Kristy Russell, heard about what happened and wanted to help.

Russell started this Gofundme page to help the family cover the vet's costs today, July 11.

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