Legal worker Victoria looks to raise £8,000 for lifesaving op for her dog Bella

Bella, a seven-year-old cinnamon chow chow spends her days in excruciating pain due to severe arthritis caused by a condition called hip dysplasia. Tony McDonough reports

Victoria Hughes with her pet dog Bella


Liverpool legal worker Victoria Hughes has launched a desperate appeal to raise more than £8,000 for a lifesaving operation for her pet dog Bella.

Bella, a seven-year-old cinnamon chow chow spends her days in excruciating pain due to severe arthritis caused by a condition called hip dysplasia.

She has to be given strong painkilling drugs to make her more comfortable. However, she is now becoming immune to these as well as experiencing recurring side effects.

Her only hope is a two-part hip replacement costing more than £8,000. Victoria has now set up a GoFundMe fundraising page to help reach Bella’s operation target.

Difficult circumstances

It is an unfortunate fact, but pet owners in general have to be prepared that their furry family members can become unwell. But Victoria’s story is unique.

Victoria, a legal assistant in the property team at MSB Solicitors, lives alone is estranged from her family. And with no access to financial support from a partner, friend or family member, is struggling to raise the funds for the operation.

She said: “Bella is my world and I’d be lost without her – she is my silent shadow and my fluffy rock.

“I have been through some difficult periods in my life and she has helped me get through so much. I love her to pieces and I just cannot lose her.”

Severe pain

Victoria first realised something was very wrong after waking up at home in North Liverpool one morning in January.

She explained: “I had taken Bella for her usual walk the night before and she seemed to be really struggling.  I decided to take her straight home and rest her, where she fell straight asleep.

“The following morning I went to wake Bella for her usual routine but quickly realised that she could not even stand up – she was crying in pain when I touched her or tried to help her get up.

“I had to quickly make a sling from a pair of pyjamas to physically support her so she could go for a wee.  I was distraught.

“I rushed her straight to the vet and she was given morphine and sedated. Her condition had severely worsened, one of her hips was essentially dislocated and the other built up with callus arthritic bone, which is now irritating and inflaming her pelvis every time she walks.

“In those few months, Bella has deteriorated from to going on her usual beach walks to struggling to even walk around the corner.

“It is heart-breaking to watch my happy-natured and gentle dog become a shadow of the personality she was.”

Tough decision

Victoria is fiercely independent, and having recovered from a troubled early life, is committed to building a better future and shows great promise in her career in law.

Managing partner at MSB Paul Bibby says: “Victoria is a valued member of the MSB team. She gets on well with her peers and colleagues and has a fantastic work ethic – she once worked two jobs just to make ends meet.

Victoria Hughes, a legal assistant as MSB Solicitors


“Of course, we’ll support Victoria all we can with Bella – as a firm we understand the value of pets and the impact they can have on your physical and emotional wellbeing.

“It’s not unusual to see a furry face at MSB on any given day – we understand that caring for pets can present challenges so we have created a pet-friendly working environment, which works well.

Little option

Victoria says she feels “embarrassed” to have to ask people for help but has exhausted every possible avenue to raise the money herself.

“I cannot get finance or help from charities because I am in full-time employment,” she added. “If I could find this money myself I would do it in a heartbeat.

“Creating the fundraising page was a really difficult decision for me – but Bella is my best friend and is all I care about.

“The whole thing has left me emotionally overwhelmed.”

If you wish to donate to Bella’s appeal log onto

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