A puppy has taken her first steps after spending most of her life being locked in a crate so small she was unable to stand.
Gracie Lacey, a black and tan German Shepherd, was trapped in a tiny crate in filthy conditions that left her with permanent injuries and unable to walk.
However, after a major surgery, she is expected to be running and playing by Christmas.
She was rescued by a dog charity after being imported from Hungary earlier this year at just five months old.
German Shepherd Rescue started a special regime to build Gracie Lacey’s muscles back up – which had wasted away during her confinement – and arranged for her to be fostered by a dog trainer named Celia Felstead.
‘When she first arrived, Gracie had never been walked so found the outside world scary and people frightening – but she has grown into a wonderful girl,’ said Celia, who went on to adopt the pup.
A few weeks after she moved in with Celia, Gracie began limping and was diagnosed with a cruciate ligament injury and cartilage damage in one of her back legs.
Vet surgeon Dr David Kydd from Medivet Wimbledon, south west London, treated the puppy.
‘Gracie is a young dog and the cruelty she suffered during her first few months, trapped in a crate, is terrible to think about,’ said Dr Kydd.
‘Some of the damage she suffered is permanent, but the important thing is that she can walk, run and play and lead a normal life in every way.
‘This good outcome is really down to great teamwork and communication, involving rescue, foster care, surgery, nursing and rehabilitation.’
Celia is delighted at the recovery Gracie has made four months after surgery.
She said: ‘We are both eternally grateful to David Kydd and Medivet for their advice, knowledge and compassion.
‘Gracie and I are now looking forward to enjoying long walks with my other three dogs.’