Nine-year-old Madeleine Kirra McKune plays quietly in her home, skulking in and out the back door.
Her somewhat doleful amber eyes dart about as she carefully jumps onto the lounge and into mum Natalie's lap.
Madeleine, otherwise known as Maddie, is an athletic weimaraner, and to Craig and Natalie McKune, she is part of the family.
So much so that in the past 18 months the couple has spent about $7550 in vet bills.
The couple is an example of the increasing number of Australians who are willing to pay hefty vet bills as pets are moving from the backyard and into the lounge.
Maddie's first major visit to the vet, 18 months ago, was when she had to have her stomach pumped. She had eaten leftover fat from a baking tray which was poured onto potting mix. She ate the fat as well as the potting mix.
Maddie was taken to the vet clinic to have her stomach pumped after showing signs of gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome (GDV), also known as bloat. The treatment cost $2600.
"It [bloat] is serious and life-threatening - it endangers the internal organs and basically she could have died," McKune explains.
As a deep-chested dog, the weimaraner is prone to bloat, which is when the stomach twists itself and blocks blood vessels.
About six months ago, Maddie showed more signs of bloat and had GDV surgery, which cost another $3700.
But the happy ending was still a long way off. Two weeks after the GDV surgery, Maddie, who McKune describes as "a bit aloof" became ill with pancreatitis after eating a bag full of meat scraps left after a backyard spit roast. Her treatment cost the McKunes another $900.
Three weeks after that she woofed down too much food during a neighbourhood visit and had to have her stomach pumped again - costing another $350.
Maddie, who was hand-raised by the McKunes from five weeks of age, is now back to 100 per cent.
"Now she's on a special diet and I don't dare give her anything other than horrid low-fat biscuits," McKune laughs.
As for the excessive vet visits, McKune says she was happy to have the operations done, confident that Maddie would come through them okay.
"You don't really have a choice," she says. "It's the same as if it was one of your kids.
"Most people with animals at some stage must have the big bills."
Greencross Vets surgeon Luke Michelle says pets are more often becoming family members.
"It's an awareness thing - they are now more of a family member. Expectations are evolving," Michelle says.
Most treatments carried out are to tackle arthritis and cruciate ligament injuries and Michelle says one of the mostly costly operations is for tick paralysis costing thousands of dollars. There are also pancreatic treatments, endoscopy, orthopaedic procedures and chemotherapy.