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Disabled puppy cared for by feline companion

 Sylvi and Hope
Sylvi and Hope Image credit:

A disabled puppy is being pampered by another dog whilst her owner tries to raise money for a life-changing trip to the vet.

For the past 15 years Laura McAuliffe has been working as a professional dog behaviourist, being an avid canine lover it will come as no surprise when you hear she runs her own rescue centre in Epsom.

She took in Hope just days after dog was born, the puppy had severe difficulty trying to make any movement and could only be fed out of a bottle.

During her feeding time another dog at the centre, a Northern Inuit pooch called Sylvi couldn’t stop licking Hope whist she was being bottle-fed.

Laura told the Daily Star ever since she had Sylvi five years ago the dog loves any new additions to the family at Epsom Canine Rescue centre.

"She has been foster mum to nice puppies for ECR now and she loves to lick them, she teaches them how to play and she lets them sleep cuddled up with her," she said.

"Sylvi slept next to the cardboard box Hope slept in from the moment she arrived.

"She rushes into the room if Hope cries."

Laura filmed the two dogs bonding and posted the clip on Facebook, as you can imagine there were quite a few replies.

One said: "What a wonderful surrogate mum Sylvi is! You are all doing such a great job."

Another wrote: "Sylvi is just so gentle. Hope is thriving on the care you and Sylvi are giving her."

There’s quite a difference in the size between the two dogs, Hope weighs in at just 200g, whilst Sylvi clocks in at huge 46kg.

Because she is so small Hope can fit in the palm of Laura’s hand when she is being fed.

When she first arrived at the centre Hope was put in splints and fed every hour.

Laura said: "I had been told at the initial vet visit to try not to get attached to her as the chance of such a young puppy, with a disability, surviving being hand-reared was not great even if we gave her the best care possible.

"The hardest bit was keeping her warm (she lived inside my hoodie most of the time to keep her warm) and also feeding her every hour day and night for the first 2 weeks.

"After that, she could go a couple of hours between feeds.

"It was totally exhausting but we were the only chance she had and she was worth it."

Hope can now run around, but as Laura explained it’s likely the pup will still need surgical intervention to stop her suffering any more pain.

She said: "She is now walking but she is likely to need surgery as her upper leg bones are deformed and curved and it’s likely to cause her hips to displace as she gets bigger.

"Surgery will mean she has a future without pain and that she can live life to the full.

"She runs and plays now but you can see she tires quickly and her back legs start to hurt.

"She has a huge character and deserves to live life unrestricted."

Laura McAuliffe is trying to raise £1,500 for Hope’s care to make a donation go to her JustGiving page.