When Deru the Hungarian Vizsla was found by Hungarian charity Vizslamentes, he had been hung by a metal noose and left for dead.
He had a fractured skull and a spinal embolism – a sudden blockage of an artery in the spinal cord – which vets believe was caused by being hit over the head with a shovel.
That’s an awful start to a dog’s life – but this story has a happy ending.
Thanks to the charity’s help, Deru went through extensive physiotherapy to learn to walk again, and found the loving home he deserves with Chris and Lara Jessop from Skipton, North Yorkshire.
After rescuing the dog from Hungary and having him moved over to their home, the couple were dealt another devastating blow when Deru’s injuries came back to haunt him and he collapsed after being rescued.
But another two years later, the dog has completed treatment and physio for the injuries that destroyed his younger life. He’s now off pain medication and is happy, healthy, and loving life.
Lara said: ‘He was found with a metal noose tied around his neck so vets think that somebody had tried to hang him.
‘He was only six months old when they found him – it just doesn’t bear thinking about that somebody could do that to a puppy.
‘It’s a miracle but he’s got to where he is, he is the most resilient dog I’ve ever met.
‘Even when he collapsed two years later he didn’t really cry, you could see it in his face, he looked petrified, but he wasn’t crying or whimpering.
‘He’s just such a brave little champ. It’s a massive relief that he is not on the pain medication anymore’
The couple, who run their own construction compan,y live with their two other dogs, Alfie, seven, and Arthur, six – who they also rescued from Vizslamentes.
After nearly two years of physiotherapy, Deru was a different dog to the one who had arrived from Hungary emaciated and traumatised, and was even given the all-clear to complete a hike of the Yorkshire Three Peaks to raise funds for the charity that saved his life.
But when Deru collapsed in December 2018 MRI scans revealed that the membrane where he had suffered the embolism had started to swell and put pressure on his spine.
Rather than risk surgery, Lara and Chris decided to help ease Deru’s pain through pain relief, laser therapy and physiotherapy treatments, along with a balanced, natural diet.
‘He had such a rollercoaster journey from when they rescued him to when he came to us, he was really touch and go,’ said Lara.
‘We weren’t even sure he was going to make it to us at one stage.
‘I remember when we did the Yorkshire Three Peaks and we were heading to the car park at the end and I just burst into tears looking at him.
‘I was so proud of him, who would have thought that this dog that couldn’t even walk or stand up 18 months ago would be marching around the Three Peaks.
‘We always knew with his injuries and with them being so severe that his care would be lifelong or ongoing.
‘I still remember the day he collapsed like it was yesterday.
‘I went downstairs in the morning and called Deru’s name. Normally he would come running to me like an excited puppy but he wasn’t coming.
‘I found him in the kitchen in his bed and when he tried to stand up he just fell to the floor.
‘I screamed for Chris and we took him straight to the emergency vets.
‘We knew it was his old injuries that had come back to haunt him.’
Today, after unbearable struggles, Deru has come out the other side and is thriving.
He’s enjoying life without needing medication or any treatment.
Lara said: ‘It’s been a long journey and he’s not the same dog that did the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
‘On walks I have to carry him over some of the stiles and he can’t walk around and sniff the ground like other dogs can.
‘But all we ever wanted for him was to live a happy and healthy life and I think we have accomplished our mission.’