An Arizona woman is calling for all owners to educate themselves on rattlesnakes to protect their pets while on a hike.
Amanda Medell was hiking with her dog, Nellie, in last month Arizona’s Superstition Mountains when she heard her begin to yelp and cry.
“I notice she’s bleeding and I see a snake belly up on the middle of the trail,” Medell told InsideEdition.com in an email. She rushed Nellie to the nearest animal hospital, where the pup was given antivenom and had to stay overnight.
While Nellie is recovering, she lost an eye as a result of the encounter.
Overwhelmed by the cost of the medical bills, which are over $6,000, Medell's best friend and roommate, Nicole Hardenbrook, turned to GoFundMe to help her.
"This is a bill that Mandi didn’t expect to pay, so I’m reaching out to all of you to help cover Nellie’s vet bill," Hardenbrook wrote.
Luckily, Medell's community — and beyond — had her back. So far, the campaign has raised more than $8,000.
“I cannot believe how many animal lovers and just good people there are around,” said Medell. “I’ve had so much love and support from family, friends of friends, and strangers, it has been really emotional for me.”
Medell said she will donate any extra money not needed to help Nellie to another animal with an outstanding vet bill. If the hospital won’t accept the donation, the money will go to Nellie’s rescue, Halo Rescue. Medell said she will also post records and pictures to show where every dime of the money went.
Now, she's urging owners to get preventative training for their dogs so they learn to avoid rattlesnakes.
“For people that take their dogs out in nature with them, it is a very useful training to do and I wish I knew about it prior,” she said.
Medell added that she hopes that vets will also start recommending the rattlesnake vaccine to owners as well.
Despite the setback, this won’t be the end of Medell and Nellie’s hiking adventures.
“I will still hike with Nellie,” said Medell. “But I will be taking preventative measures when she is all healed before we go anywhere again."