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Disabled puppy makes miraculous recovery after huge wolf-like dog ‘adopts’ her

A fragile puppy born with a disability is on the road to recovery after many busy weeks of bottle-feeding and the love of a "surrogate mother" dog who dwarfs her in size.

Epsom Canine Rescue took in little Hope when it became clear she had a slim chance of survival without expert intervention and they are now fundraising for surgery on her legs.

Footage shows Hope, just days old, struggling to move and being fed milk out of a bottle.

Laura McAuliffe, an accredited dog behaviouralist with 15 years of experience who is fostering Hope, has a Northern Inuit pooch called Sylvi who is filmed gently licking the puppy while she feeds.

Hope is so tiny she fits in the palm of Laura's hand while she suckles on the bottle.

Laura, who runs Dog Communication, told Daily Star that she's had Sylvi for five years since she was a puppy herself and the pooch is "devoted" to any new pups that arrive.

"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.

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

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"She rushes into the room if Hope cries."

The adorable video made waves on Facebook and one viewer described Sylvi as a "surrogate mum".

"Oh look at Sylvi – makes my heart melt," gushed one.

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

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

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Sylvi the Inuit is a massive 46kg but Laura says she "loves tiny puppies" and is always very sweet with them.

When she first arrived, Hope was eight days old and weighed just 200g and Laura recalls she was "unable to stand or walk due to the deformity to her back legs".

Hope was put in splints and needed bottle feeding 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."

Miraculously, a more recent video from February 27 shows Hope running around and playing with "auntie" Sylvi who is still very much a gentle giant.

Despite the breakthrough, Hope's legs are still not fixed and she will probably need surgical intervention to save her pain in the future.

Laura told Daily Star: "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."

She continued: "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."

Epsom Canine Rescue are fundraising £1,500 for Hope's ongoing care, if you want to donate, click here.

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