PICKLE the pup is hoping Strictly star Gemma Atkinson will help save his life.
The tiny Chihuahua/Jack Russell cross has a spinal condition which makes it difficult to walk.
His only hope for a normal future is a £7,000 op.
Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary is caring for Pickle and Gemma, who is president of the charity, has backed their fundraising campaign to pay for it.
This week pregnant Gemma, 34, and her Spanish partner Gorka Marquez, 28, spent the day getting to know Pickle.She told Paws & Claws: “I fell in love with Pickle.
“I hope once he has had his operation he will lead a healthy and happy life.
“Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary is a superb charity and Pickle is in the best hands.”
When the pup was sold by a breeder for £200 on Gumtree in February he was the size of a hairbrush and weighed just 400g.
Realising Pickle couldn’t walk the owner rushed him to their local animal sanctuary in Rossendale, Lancs, for help. Staff at Bleakholt (bleakholt.org) took Pickle straight to the vets.
Manager Karen Weed said: “Pickle was emaciated, his front legs were not working and he was struggling with his co-ordination. We didn’t know if he’d survive.”
He was given emergency medication and a member of the sanctuary staff took him home and fed him up until he gained another 250 grams.
He was so small no dog coat would fit him, so people donated tiny knitted jumpers and staff used cut-up socks as blankets to cover him.
A CT scan showed he has a condition which is causing his vertebrae to press on his spine. He desperately needs the £7,000 op.
Karen added: “Without surgery he will be unable to walk and it would be unfair to continue.
“Due to his size and complex condition it is a spinal specialist operation which requires equipment to be made especially for him, so the cost runs into thousands of pounds.
“Pickle is amazing — he continues wagging his tail in true fighting spirit.”
Star of the week
MEET Stan, the pizza loving cat.
While most cats would happily swipe a piece of unattended chicken, the 15-year-old prefers pizza. It’s down to an over-active thyroid making him hungry – all the time.
Owner Michelle Townley, from Swindon, told Paws & Claws: “Stan was hunting down heavy, carb-rich foods. If he found something, he would scoff the lot.
“But he was starting to lose weight. He didn’t want to cuddle any more and became quite insular, wanting to stay indoors all day.”
Michelle took him for a hyperthyroidism test, which came back positive. It can be treated with anti-thyroid medication and removal of the thyroid gland.
Michelle said: “Within two weeks of treatment he was his old self – and no longer scoffing everything in sight.”
Pharmaceuticals company MSD Animal Health is sharing Stan’s story to help other owners.
SEAN McCORMACK, head vet at tailored food company tails.com, is on a mission to help the nation’s pets.
JENINE MOODIE’S seven-year-old Shih Tzu Camilla Parker-Bowles doesn’t like other dogs and gets very shy. Even when other dogs are submissive to her, she still runs away.
Sean says: The most common reason for dogs to be shy, scared, nervous or even aggressive when other dogs come near is that they haven’t been around new dogs enough during the crucial early socialisation period up to 16-18 weeks of age.
That’s when a puppy learns what is to be feared and what’s normal. If Camilla missed out this could account for her being shy.
Do some positive association training by giving her lots of praise and treats when other dogs come near.
And make sure not to comfort or reward her when she is showing nervous or fearful behaviour.
This will confuse her into thinking she’s behaving the way you want her to.
WESTIE Albie, eight, has started eating his own poo. Owner Fiona Creedon from Hull hasn’t changed his diet and his vaccinations are up to date.
Sean says: Eating poo –known as coprophagia – can be a normal behaviour for puppies. But if an adult dog has suddenly started doing this, it could indicate something is wrong.
Start off by making sure Albie is on a high-quality, balanced and nutritionally complete dog food and his worming is up to date.
Other reasons for this behaviour can include stress, feeling like there is competition for food from another dog or changes in the household, digestive issues – and boredom, if left alone for long periods with no stimulation.
Once the habit becomes established, it can be difficult to tackle.
A great trick is to feed him pineapple chunks. These can alter the taste of his poo to one most dogs find unpleasant . . . even more so than plain poo.
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