Community pulls together for Sugar – funds raised for local canine celebrity to have needed surgery

Sari Green/Courier Sugar the pitbull will be able to have surgery to repair a torn cruciate ligament in her right hind leg, thanks to the generosity of the community. Doug Harper, owner of Harper’s Exotic Animals and Pet Supply, said he and his wife Tamara are overwhelmed at the amount of support they have received, and thanks to the community, Sugar will have her surgery in August instead of waiting several months so they could save up the money.

St. Stephen – In December, Sugar, the adorable pitbull owned by Doug and Tamara Harper of Harper’s Exotic Animals and Pet Supply, had a fall. She jumped out of Harper’s van, and landed spread eagle on the ice. She ended up tearing the cruciate ligament in her right hind leg – making the injury more serious than they had anticipated.

“We waited to see if it was going to get any better,” said Harper. “It didn’t get better. Three months ago, we took her in to get it looked at. They said they were pretty sure the cruciate was ripped. They wanted to give it a little more time to see if it was going to heal.”

Harper said they took Sugar back to the vet a couple of weeks ago, and they told him the cruciate was definitely torn, and she would need surgery to repair the damage, which would cost approximately $2,000. Harper is well-known in the community for his reptile shows, a successful pet supply business, and his generosity to people and animals throughout the area. He and his wife Tamara decided that they would try to do a bit of fundraising to help offset the expenses of the surgery. The couple was overwhelmed at the response they received.

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“We decided to do some fundraising, figuring we’d get a couple hundred dollars,” said Harper. “Pita Pit donated a $90 pita platter for us to raffle off. We made $200 off that. A family donated a Scentsy kit that we raffled off and made another $250. We put out a donations jar. We had donation after donation after donation. Within about 60 hours, we had raised $2,400, all donated by the community. We even had donors from B.C., even strangers who saw our post. We couldn’t believe how many people wanted to help.”

Everyone who knows Harper knows Sugar. He said often people come into the store just to see and spend time with her. He mentioned students from St. Stephen’s University, and how during exam time they would go into the store to sit with her so they could relax and unwind.

“They (students) all came down and donated money. We have specific clients who came in with $200 and $300 donations, because they love sitting with that dog for therapy. It’s kind of a relaxation factor for them. We were amazed we took in that amount of money in that amount of time,” said Harper.

Sugar is scheduled to have her surgery in August at Mayfield Veterinary Clinic. Harper said he wants to give a huge shout out to the clinic, because they have done so much for his animals. He said the surgery would have likely cost a lot more had they taken her to a different vet.

“They’re treating us very well. They will make sure that Sugar gets taken care of.”

Harper said he and Tamara really want to thank the community for all they have done to help Sugar. Harper said they have helped others in the community with their vet bills, and now they are coming together to help the dog that everyone loves so much.

“It’s very, very flattering that they think of us in this way. If it wasn’t for the community, it would have been at least seven or eight months before we could have afforded to get the surgery. I want to give a big shout out to thank the community. If it wasn’t for the community, Sugar would be limping around for another six months to a year. We’d like to thank Pita Pit, Jean Atkinson, and Faith Avery, as well as everyone else who donated money to help Sugar.”

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca