A national veterinary group has stepped in and agreed to carry out a double hip operation on a 16-year-old girl’s assistance dog after an appeal in The Hunts Post to raise the money to pay for it.

Sophie Perkins, who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic pain syndrome, got her German Shepherd, Hunter, as a puppy to pick things up for her and help her move around the house.

However, he suffers from hip dysplasia and arthritis, which is so advanced he needs corrective surgery before he loses function in both hips and legs.

The procedure costs £9,000 and last month The Hunts Post highlighted Sophie's plight and published an appeal for people to help raise the money.

When the teenager and her mum, Carolyn, got in touch with the paper, their online fund was only about £250, but that has since soared to £3,663.

And after The Hunts Post contacted Pets at Home Vets Group, the company agreed to conduct the operation which will take place tomorrow (Thursday, June 18).

"Without The Hunts Post and its readers it wouldn't have happened," said Carolyn. "Thank you for all your help. It's amazing. Things like this just don't happen.

"It would have taken years for us to raise the money."

The other funds raised will still go towards Hunter's treatment with the company covering the other expenses.

Sophie, from Bedford Street, St Neots, added: "Hunter brings so much joy to me every day. He's my best friend. I'm so happy he is going to receive the treatment he needs to help stop his suffering."

After an initial consultation, Hunter will undergo a full replacement of his left hip at Northwest Surgeons, the group's pet hospital in Cheshire.

The timing of the second operation will be dependent on how quickly the other hip deteriorates and how well he recovers from this treatment.

CEO at Pets at Home Vets Group, Sally Hopson, said: "The bond between Sophie and Hunter is obviously very strong and everyone here hopes the surgery will bring them many years of happiness together."

Carolyn and Sophie were due to travel to Cheshire with Hunter today (Wednesday) and the dog will remain at the pet hospital until at least Monday.

Once Hunter has fully recovered, he will be able to take up where he left off with his assistance dog training so he will be even more of a help to Sophie.