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New life in Shropshire after pioneering op saves dog left to die on road

North Shropshire | News | Published:

A dog which was left to die by the side of the road in Eastern Europe with horrific injuries including a severed spinal cord is beginning a new life in Shropshire.

Despite being initially paralysed and unable to move his legs, after pioneering surgery Joshua is on his way to running and jumping thanks to a specially adapted wheelchair which is working to increasing his strength.

'Foster mum' Sqn Ldr Claire Owczarkowski looks after Joshua at RAF Shawbury

And he is taking those momentous steps under the watchful eye of his foster mum, Squadron Leader Claire Owczarkowski who looks after him at RAF Shawbury.

Joshua was rescued by an animal charity called K9 Rescue two years ago and underwent an operation that managed to repair the spinal cord damage, allowing him to feel and move his legs and wag his tail. He now has a specially-adapted chair that has pedals at the rear that move the back legs as the front legs take the animal forward.

Joshua is the first dog in the world to recover from such a severe injury.

Ms Owczarkowski said: "The rescue charity that Joshua came from has a Facebook page that I follow and I saw an advertisement that Joshua needed a new home.

"I was commuting from Leeds at the time so wasn't sure if I was going to get him but he arrived a month later. Originally I was planning on fostering him for a few months while he recovered and then put him up for adoption and get another dog which needed a home. I took Joshua in thinking he would rehabilitate more quickly.

Joshua's spinal cord was severed

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"But I have become quite attached to him. He has had a lot of therapy. He had quite a curved spine and it is a lot straighter now. He took to my other dog fine and is okay now with other dogs. He is more puppy-like and loves to play.

"He is great with other dogs but is funny with other people, due to his past.

"He takes a while to build his trust up.

"He is not ready for go for adoption yet – we want to see if he will be able to walk again yet. However, I don't see myself giving him up anytime soon. I massively love him. He is a proper cheeky dog."

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Michelle Jones, from the K9 Rescue charity, said: "Joshua can feel and move his back legs and when Claire talks to him he wags his tail which is connected to the spinal cord.

"Joshua is the first dog in the world to recover from such a severe injury."

She added: "On average we save around 50 dogs a year, which might not sound like a lot, but we are dealing with the most seriously injured and sick dogs."

For more about the charity visit www.k9-rescue.org.uk

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