Semi-retired Julie Arnull, 58, from The Inlands, had to rush four-year-old Lakeland terrier cross Millie to the vets after she suffered life-threatening injuries at the jaws of a mastiff on the Southbrook estate when husband Rob took her out for a walk.
After updating people of the August 30 attack on two Daventry Facebook groups, one person unknown to Julie started a fund-raising page called Prayers for Millie to help with the vet bill, and members of the community sent messages of encouragement and support at a time when it looked as if Millie might not make it.
“The response I got was just amazing," said Julie.
"People were contacting me and helping me through it. These people are complete strangers and I was amazed how kind they were.”
Fellow dog owner Becky Sanderson, from Daventry, started the crowdfunding page which raised £250 which Julie will put towards the £9,000 vet bill.
“I felt sorry for her and knew she would be facing enormous vet bills, so I took it upon myself to start the page," said 29-year-old Becky.
“I think when things like this happen the community comes together to help, especially given the state Millie was left in.
“The people’s response was amazing. Weeks went by and they were still contacting Julie and seeing how she was doing, trying to support her and help her get through it.”
Millie was initially taken to the Daventry Veterinary Clinic where she was stabilised, but the vets soon told Rob and Julie their dog was very ill and needed to be seen by another clinic.
The Arnulls rushed Millie to VetSavers in Duston, Northampton. Millie had wounds on her hips where the mastiff’s teeth had bitten her, and she suffered severe internal injuries which was causing her to bleed out.
Her stomach muscle had been ripped and they eventually became infected, leading to an internal abscess.
Millie had to have two blood and plasma transfusions, and she lay for six days on a drip.
With her condition failing to improve, Julie and Rob were told Millie would have to be moved to the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, part of the Royal Veterinary College.
“What an amazing place, it’s the best in the country,” said Julie. “They saved her life, they were fantastic.”
Things were looking bleak on a couple of occasions for Millie with Julie having to sign two Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) forms, which she found extremely difficult and heart-wrenching to do.
“At the end of the day this is my little dog who had just gone for a walk, and I thought I was going to lose her," she said.
“We didn’t think we would get through. We thought her heart was going to stop. I think that was the hardest part of the whole thing.”
Julie and Rob were at their Inlands home while Millie underwent her life-saving operation on September 6, and subsequent recovery, but Julie found it difficult to be apart from her pet.
“I had not seen her for three days and I said to Rob ‘I can’t stand this, I’ve got to go and be with her.’
“So we booked a hotel five minutes away from the vet and we stayed there until we could bring her home.”
Millie had to be fed through a tube for the next few days before having her stitches removed on September 15.
Julie said Millie had recovered well though she and Rob were worried what she would be like around other dogs.
Her body still bears the scars from the attack but she is groomed every eight weeks, and Julie hopes that even though her hair is growing back slowly, eventually the scarring will be hidden by fur.
“We took her up Borough Hill and she loved it up there. I think it's early days but I think she will be alright.”