When RSPCA animal collection officer Kate Wright lost one of her dogs, her other canine companion - Sapphire - struggled to cope.
Rescuing all sorts of animals every day, Kate knew it wouldn’t take long to find a new friend for her pooch.
When her colleague, inspector Lauren Bailey, was called to help a tiny puppy who had been abandoned in a pub in Leighton Buzzard, onMarch 5, Kate was keen to find out more about this little pooch.
Five-month-old chihuahua cross Yorkie was extremely emaciated and had serious issues with her legs which meant she could barely walk.
Kate took her home to Dunstable with her and began the lengthy process of trying to establish what had happened to the tiny puppy - and what her future looked like.
Kate said: “I cannot believe how happy and loving this little girl is when she has been so badly treated and let down by humans.
“She was so skinny and really weak when she arrived here. But she’s a little fighter and has a smashing little character.
“She’s really made herself at home and loves Saff and my other new foster, Ruby.”
Emerald - or Emmie for short - had x-rays which showed she is badly deformed and was born like this.
“She’s not able to straighten her front legs and her spine is twisted as a result but, considering that, she’s actually doing very well,” Kate said.
“She’s put on weight, is much stronger and her ear infection has completely cleared up.
“Vets have said there isn’t really anything that can be done to fix her but that she’s not in pain so I want to give her the best quality of life possible for as long as she has.
“She probably won’t live into old age but she will now have a very happy, healthy life with us for as long as possible.”
Despite her deformities she is happy little dog who enjoys playing with her owners and the other dogs, and loves going out on walks.
“Because of her legs she does struggle to walk for long distances but we never leave her behind,” Kate said. “We make sure she gets exercise and, when she gets tired, we scoop her up and carry her in a special little sling we use.
“That way she can still enjoy the fresh air and be with the whole family - we’d hate to think she was getting left out!”
Kate and her husband have decided to permanently adopt Emmie and give her the best life they can.
“She’ll never go hungry again and will also have a cosy sofa to curl up on in the evenings.”
Kate said. “She’s such a wonderful little dog and I’m so pleased we’re able to give her the life she deserves.”
Vets believe the tiny dog’s deformities stem from poor breeding and a bad start in life.
“Unfortunately, dogs are often bred with their looks in mind and not their health and welfare,” RSPCA dog welfare expert, Lisa Hens, said.
“In Emmie’s case, her deformities may well be a result of poor breeding. A current trend is for breeders to produce tiny puppies by choosing the smallest bitch and dog to breed from - also known as ‘teacup’ dogs.
“Although these tiny puppies are considered to be cute, deliberately breeding them to be so small can often lead to puppies having serious health problems including issues with their legs where the bones are so fragile and frail that they can easily break or genetic issues which may be the cause of deformities, like poor Emmie.
“Deformities can also be the result of bad nutrition and a poor start in life, with the mum and pups not getting what they needed during the most important first weeks and months of the pup’s life, leading to poor development.”
To help the RSPCA rescue more dogs in need like Emmie please donate by visiting www.rspca.org.uk/give.