Grassmere's Shannon McKay refused to let her dog Muppet's list of health issues stop her from adopting him but says she was never prepared for the struggle it would be to have them treated locally.
After starting her own holistic canine therapy service, Ms McKay said she had been inundated with clients facing a similar situation.
"Our closest is Ballarat and Geelong is the next closest," she said. "So it's a unique business to this area and certainly offers a much better option for dogs than to travel vast distances.
"A lot of dogs will be taken to Melbourne for major surgery, they'll have that and then they may need quite a lengthy rehab program and obviously many people don't have the ability to travel to Melbourne or Ballarat or Geelong for that - twice a week sometimes - so that's why I started it in this area.
"We got off to a flying start and we were very, very popular to start with ... a number of people in Warrnambool have come to me saying they've really needed this for a long time."
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Ms McKay said it all started when she was trying to find a service nearby to treat her dog's maladies.
"Muppet has elbow and hip dysplasia, he also has a crooked pelvis and a condition called DISH (Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis) which is a juvenile form of spondylosis...Doing the underwater treadmill and the laser therapy has helped."
She said one of her clients made the trip weekly from interstate.
"A couple run a wildlife sanctuary in Mount Gambier where they have lots of small animals that will be prone to predation from foxes," Ms McKay said.
"Xena and Freya are both Turkish Kangals which are a guardian breed of dog. Given Freya wasn't able to do the job due to elbow dysplasia, they decided they'd accept another pup from this breeder.
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"Xena has been working as a guardian - she's nine months and she's just been diagnosed with not-as-severe elbow dysplasia.
"They're only a young couple establishing this sanctuary, they need to have the surgery here in Warrnambool in a couple of weeks and due to the expense of the first surgery with Freya they've started a GoFundMe.
"It's a five-hour round trip for them every Monday, they're here for about three-and-a-half hours. Freya gets laser therapy and goes on the underwater treadmill before we swap the dogs."
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