By Jess Grieveson-Smith
A puppy who narrowly avoided death after being hurled from a moving car has found his forever home.
River – a Saluki lurcher cross – was thrown from the car by his previous callous owners last August.
The disturbing moment was captured on camera by shocked witnesses and quickly went viral after it was shared thousands of times online.
His injuries were so severe as a pup, it seemed unlikely he would survive but Hope Rescue, in Pontyclun, Wales, refused to give up on the long legged pooch.
A Facebook group for River was set up and locals raised over £1500 to help get him the care he desperately needed.
River, now aged 14 months, suffered two broken legs, as well as suffering from severe muscle wastage in his hip, alongside worms, fleas and osteoarthritis – all signs of neglect.
Now after an extreme operation that removed part of his hip bone, River is finally beginning to live life as a normal dog.
River has since found his permanent home with Sibylle Kuonen, 40, after she fell in love with him while working at Hope Rescue.
She said: “I’d first heard of River in the news, his story was heartbreaking.
“When he stood up his leg looked like it was swinging and I knew he didn’t have a chance for recovery in the kennel.
“Having a normal routine has helped River – he does the same as the other dogs, and now he’s becoming happy, cheeky – living his puppyhood.
“It’s such a cruel act to blatantly dump a dog, especially into moving traffic.
“He still prefers dogs to people because of how much his prior owners hurt him but now, he lets me help with his leg therapy, and he’s bonded.
“He’s one of the family.”
River’s extensive injuries meant his road to recovery was always going to be long but Sibylle was determined to make his life easier.
Sibylle, who is a veterinary surgeon, added: “The most heartbreaking thing was that those that saw River when he was first abandoned is that they stated he tried to run after the car that had thrown him out.
“It seems most likely that he was being made to work either for dog racing or chasing prey, but after becoming injured, he was seen as useless
“At first he was disruptive and mistrustful but he’s getting there now.
“I have two other lurchers and a collie, all of whom were rescues.
“They had something in common and my eldest Lurcher, Maze really had a connection with him.
“River follows him everywhere, and since we took him in September, he’s begun to have a bond with both my dogs and me.
“When we did bring him home, he plonked down on the dog bed and it was clear – he wants to stay.”
River’s recovery isn’t over yet and he’s still trying to overcome the trauma from last year.
Sibylle added: “He’s had invasive surgery, removing his entire hip bone and we were hoping that eventually his hip muscle will move in place.
“But it had been an old injury with added trauma, and even now, there’s bone fragment in there – he had minimal movement and was clearly in a lot of pain.”