A family from Vaughan is scrambling to try and get their beloved dog back after an emergency veterinary clinic said they had to “surrender” the pet if they couldn’t afford to pay for an $8,000 emergency surgery.

Four days after Natasha Goodman took her family’s Golden Doodle, Roxy, to her veterinarian for a routine spay procedure, she said the dog started to develop complications.

“She started having a little bit of bleeding so we took her to emergency… There was something protruding out of her belly,” she told CTV News Toronto.

Since it was Family Day weekend, Goodman said her usual veterinarian’s office was closed and so she rushed to an emergency clinic in North York on a friend’s suggestion.

It was there that Goodman said she faced an ultimatum she wasn’t prepared for.

“The doctor said we had to pay $8,000 for the surgery and I said I was unable to afford that or pay for that, what were my other options?” Goodman said. “(The doctor) said my other option was to surrender the dog to her clinic.”

Left with no other option, Goodman said she signed paperwork giving Willowdale Animal Hospital ownership of her four-month-old dog.

“I was crying, my children were crying. We were very upset,” she said. “They gave me a paper to sign and I did and they told me goodbye and I left without my dog.”

Goodman said she left the clinic with her kids in tow in a state of shock, concerned that the situation moved too quickly.

Not long after leaving the clinic without Roxy, Goodman said she contacted the clinic to try and negotiate a way to get the dog back but her calls and emails haven’t been returned.

CTV News Toronto went to the clinic in an effort to speak with staff but were told that they would receive a written statement on the matter.

On Friday, a spokesperson for VCA Animal Hospitals, which owns the clinic, told CTV News Toronto in a written statement that “due to client confidentiality regulations, we cannot comment on this specific case.”

Goodman said the ordeal has been devastating to her family and says she feels they should still have a chance to get their pet – who she says “makes everyone happy” – back home.

“My kids ask me every day, ‘When is the dog coming back?” And I can’t tell them that she is,” she said.