A FUNDRAISING drive to fly a dog to Australia to be with her beloved family has reached its target.

Well-wishers raised £3,100 to send Molly the floppy-eared Springbatt to Melbourne to be with the Wheelers.

The family-of-four were left devastated when they discovered the massive cost of flying Molly over for their new life down under.

But word leaked out to the tight-knit community that own the rare, distinctive breed and a fundraising campaign was launched.

The appeal – which featured in the Oxford Mail – raised the money with a week to spare before the deadline at the end of this month.

Now enough cash had been raised for the five-year-old’s transport and quarantine costs.

The family will fly out to Melbourne – where automotive engineer husband George is taking up a new job – on October 21 and Molly will join them in March.

Natalie Wheeler, 36, said: “It’s just restored my faith in the kindness of people, I am overwhelmed.

“People have gone to such lengths to do this for Molly, it is incredible kindness.”

Children Jessica, 12, Amelia, nine, and Edward, three, were “jumping around” when the good news came in, Mrs Wheeler said.

She added: “They are so, so happy. They can’t stop hugging her. It just makes me cry. I haven’t stop smiling ever since.”

Cash was raised around the UK through activities like cake sales, dog biscuit offers and even a Springbatt tea-towel.

Molly herself greeted visitors at a cake and clothing sale hosted by the Fifield, West Oxfordshire, family in Bourton-on-the-Water.

A Surrey travel firm also managed to get the final cost down from £3,500.

Cambridgeshire breeder Pam Hurn, who bred Molly and co-ordinated the campaign, said: “I am very pleased. It has been a lot of work but it has been worth all the effort. Everyone could understand how they would feel in that position, they wouldn’t want to leave theirs behind.”

There are thought to be 150 of the breed, a basset hound and springer spaniel cross, in the UK.