By Harriet Whitehead
A dog who had two of her legs chopped off with a MACHETE and was shot 36 times is now thriving – after striking up an adorable bond with another paralysed pooch.
Border collie cross Flo is unable to walk far and has to rely on a buggy to get around after her front right leg and back left leg were brutally hacked off in her native Romania.
It was initially thought the six-year-old hound had been hit by a train but owners Shena and Ian Fairless, who run Pudz Animal Sanctuary in South Killingholme, North Lincs, later discovered her body was peppered by 36 gunshot pellets and believe she suffered both sets of abuse at the hands of a cruel former owner.
But now Flo lives a happy life having bonded with another rescue dog, five-year-old Jerry the Jack Russell cross who had his back legs amputated when he was a year old after being hit by a car.
And despite having only four legs between them, the playful pair don’t let that get in the way of them having a good time.
Real life Doctor Dolittle Shena, 50, who looks after 136 animals in total, said: “When they first met they’d just used to play all the time. I think animals can sense disability and it’s like they have an affinity with each other.
“When we first adopted Flo, Jerry used to walk by her pushchair with his wheels on.
“When Flo would run around he would be by her side. He definitely helped her out.
“They sleep in the same room and I’ll often see them snuggling up with each other.
“They love play fighting and playing with balls together.”
Shena said Flo was being cared for by another sanctuary when they offered to give her a forever home about four years ago.
Having already adopted Jerry when he was six months old, Shena thought she’d be in a good position to care for both.
Jerry was born paralysed and would drag his back legs around before Shena and partner Ian managed to raise £5,000 to have them amputated and get Jerry a set of wheels.
Remarkably, Flo is able to hop on two legs for short distances but has a pet buggy the couple push her in when she gets tired.
The couple originally planned to fundraise for £25,000 prosthetics but found out vets were unable to help her because there was not enough skin covering the bone to allow for the prosthetics.
Shena said: “When we learned the true extent of Flo’s injuries we couldn’t actually believe it.
“We took her to the vets in September 2016 and that’s when we were told the injury was consistent with a machete or something similar because the bones were jagged.
“But not only that she was also riddled with gun pellets.
“I just gasped and burst into tears when I saw the MRI scan. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected that to have happened to her.
“The pellets were lit up like stars on the scan. I remember being stunned at how many there were. It’s so hard to describe what it was like.
“They’re still in her body now as it’s too dangerous to remove them.
“The thing that strikes you most is what a lovely dog she is. We can’t believe how trusting she is with humans considering what she’s been through.
“Jerry came to us when he was six months after I saw a video of him on Facebook. He had legs but he just dragged them behind him.
“We raised money for his amputation and to get the wheels. He was a bit reluctant to try them out at first but now there’s no stopping him and he goes really fast.
“It was hard at first knowing we can’t do anything else for her. Now she has a good quality of life.
“She loves being out in the garden and out on a walk but it’s sad because she can’t do all the things that other dogs can do.
“We love her so much, she’s part of the family and has a forever home with us.”
The couple knew Flo had come from Romania because the charity carried out rescues there and expect she was hurt while they were trying to round dogs up.
Shena added: “I wouldn’t be able to repeat what I think of the people who did this to her. Animal cruelty sickens me but that takes it to another level.”
Shena and tanker driver Ian, 53, set up the sanctuary in 2013 and now have around 136 animals including cats, ducks, chickens, chinchillas, rabbits, guinea pigs and a blind dog Maltese Griffin cross Zola.
The sanctuary is funded by donations and from money that Shena makes running Vegan Festivals.
The pair, who currently look after the animals at home, are hoping to raise £50,000 to buy a plot of land and expand the sanctuary.