A tiny puppy weighing just four kilos has made an astonishing recovery after she was mauled by a large dog and left on the brink of death. Brave little fox terrier Matilda suffered horrific injuries including paralysed legs, broken ribs and a bite wound which pushed bone into her spinal cord.
The sudden attack happened while owner Diane Columbine was walking five-month-old Matilda in her local park in Urmston, Manchester. At first, the other dog was playing happily with miniscule pup Matilda – then without any warning, grabbed her by the throat and shook her frenziedly from side to side.
Diane and the other dog owner managed to rescue her in a matter of seconds – but because Matilda was so small and fragile, she was left unable to breathe or stand on her collapsed back legs.
Distraught Diane scooped Matilda up in her arms, then summoned help from her husband Steve.
They set off immediately for the Vets Now 24-hour pet hospital, with Diane doing her best to nurse Matilda in the back seat of their car.
According to Diane, “It took us half an hour to get there because of rush-hour traffic on the motorway and it felt like a lifetime, like everything was in slow motion.
“Poor Matilda was making a terrible noise of pain each time she tried to breathe – it was just off the scale of awful to see and hear.
“We handed her over at reception and I was totally convinced that was the last time I was going to see my dog – she was so tiny, so weak and so injured I thought they would just have to put her down.”
The poor pooch suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung
But against all the odds, medics managed to save the poor pooch’s life through the night.
In the process, Matilda was so weak she suffered a cardiac arrest but the veterinary team were able to restart her tiny heart by carrying out internal cardiac massage.
And now, quite astonishingly, she’s back to charging up and down the garden as though nothing had ever happened.
Surgeon Paul Aldridge said it was “some of the worst and most life-threatening injuries” he’s ever seen in such a small dog.
After five days of round-the-clock care, Matilda was well enough to go home with Diane and Steve, who were instructed to give her gentle physiotherapy every four hours for two weeks.
Slowly but surely, Matilda regained the strength to stand, then walk and then run, with no lasting after effects at all.
Diane said: “It’s nothing short of a miracle. Every time I see her run or jump I think to myself how blessed we’ve been to still have her.
“I slept downstairs for a fortnight next to her cage so that she wasn’t alone and so I could give her the physio which Paul and the team showed me how to do.
“Matilda was just so brave throughout it all – which is very apt as I discovered that the name Tilly comes from the German phrase for mighty in battle. Well, she’s certainly lived up to that hasn’t she?
“And she’s only here because of Paul and his amazing colleagues – I can’t thank them enough for their dedication and kindness. They never gave up on Matilda, not even when her heart stopped.”
The park attack happened so quickly that Diane never had a chance to establish the breed of the other dog – but it was roughly the height of a greyhound, meaning that it towered over Matilda.
Diane said: “It wasn’t the other owner’s fault – it was just one of those freak incidents and I think she was as shocked as I was that one minute her dog was playing nicely with Matilda and then next minute he had her in his teeth.
“But what matters is that Matilda is still with us – she’s just our mighty little miracle.”
Read The Mirror’s coverage of Matilda’s story here.