Leeds army veteran with PTSD thanks charity for saving his support dog's life

An army veteran from Leeds who suffers from PTSD has thanked a military charity for saving the life of the injured support dog who "means everything" to him.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 6:00 am
Vic Ferguson pictured with his dogs Mishka and Amber. Picture by Simon Hulme

Vic Ferguson, 57, who also has spinal injuries, has had nine year old Alaskan Malamute Mishka since she was a 10 week old puppy.

Vic, who He did three tours of Northern Ireland and served in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in 1995, said Mishka and his other dog Amber - who was rescued in Sarajevo in 2015 - are his "reason to exist."

Mishka, who has battled cancer, ruptured the cruciate ligament in the knee of her back right leg in March 2020.

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Vic Ferguson pictured with his dogs Mishka and Amber. Picture by Simon Hulme

Vic said Mishka almost died in his arms, but he couldn't afford to pay for surgery.

He said military charity Bravehound UK came to his rescue and contributed towards the cost of Mishka's surgery and paid for her first round of rehabilitation treatment at Hydropaws in Morley.

Mishka underwent an operation to insert a titanium plate and two steel pins in the knee.

Mishka has been having weekly underwater treadmill rehabilitation sessions at Hydropaws - a small animal rehabilitation and hydrotherapy centre - for the past year.

Hurmija Mujic is pictured in February 2012 with Sergeant Major Vic Ferguson from Leeds (left) and Petty Officer Phil Ball from Poole who helped to highlight her plight as she languished in a Sarajevo Hospital. Photo: Tim Ockenden/PA.

Grandfather of seven Vic, who was born in Burmantofts and brought up in Whitkirk, said: "I suffer from PTSD. Mishka has been my warrior when I've been in a bad state.

"Mishka means everything to me. I thought I was going to lose her, she nearly died in my arms.

"I can't thank Bravehound enough for saving Mishka's life."

Michelle Wilson who runs Hydro Paws, said: “When she first came to us she couldn't walk properly.

"The muscle in her leg had wasted away and she couldn't put her full support on the leg”

“She is Vic’s support dog so we needed to get her up and running as quickly as possible. She's very courageous, she has overcome a lot.

"Mishka has been doing really well. We are building the muscle up to support the joint post surgery.

Vic, who has spent £10,000 to date on Mishka's uninsured surgical treatment and rehabilitation, said she will need the weekly hydrotherapy sessions for the rest of her life.

Fiona Macdonald, founder and director of Bravehound UK, said "When we heard about Vic and how much Mishka means to him we felt compelled to help."

Vic also thanked Hydro Paws for supporting Mishka throughout the pandemic.

Vic, who now lives in Kirkthorpe, Wakefield, said: “My two dogs are my reason to exist.”

Vic, who went to Corpus Christi High School in Halton, served in the army for more than 19 years and left in 1998 aged 35.

He did three tours of Northern Ireland and served with Nato in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in 1995,

While in Bosnia Vic, who was a Sergeant Major, saw 11 year old schoolgirl Hurmija Mujic, who was paralysed, in Kosevo Hospital, Sarajevo.

Hurmija was injured when shrapnel from a Serbian shell tore into her spine.

Her father and eldest two brothers were killed during the siege of Srebrenica.

Vic, who was deeply affected Hurmija's plight, launched an appeal which funded her medical evacuation to the UK for treatment.

Hurmija, who has not been able to walk since her injury, was treated at Oswestry orthopaedic and spinal unit.

Vic said he has a "lifelong family bond" with Hurmija her and her family

To support Bravehound, go to ww.bravehound.co.uk/