NATIONAL: Video shows mistreated dog given chance to walk with set of wheels

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A dog left unable to walk after it was stamped on as a puppy is now on the move - thanks to its own set of wheels.

Malachi the German Shepherd was born with a rare brain condition which affects the part of the brain that controls coordination and motor learning.

Malachi

Malachi

When he was just a few weeks old and the size of a dinner plate he was stamped on by a previous owner and the top of his spine and hip were crushed.

Malachi was left unable to walk but his luck change when he was adopted by Debby Blackwell - a former show jumper.

While he recovered Debby, 50, moved tiny Malachi around in a child's pushchair.

But now the bionic mutt has been fitted with prosthetic 'legs' - wheels attached to a supportive frame.

"He's very cheeky," said Debby. "He's doing all the things now he should have done as a puppy. ''

Debby, who lives with husband Anthony in Malvern, Worcestershire, added: "Socialising was very hard for him because he would fall all over the place.

"He loved other dogs and likes to be in the centre of everything but that's difficult when he couldn't hold himself properly.

"The ultimate aim, the real goal of what we're doing, is for Malachi to run free without his wheels. That's the positive plan."

Debby visited Noel Fitzpatrick, Neurological Specialist and star of Channel 4's The Super Vet, who told her that with the right care Malachi could live to 13.

In an effort to raise the £3,000 needed for Malachi's ongoing appointments Debby began fundraising.

She made a fan page - and one anonymous donor paid for Malachi's wheels which she says have "completely opened new doors and given him his independence".

Debby owns four other German Shepherds - Tiesha, Berney, Bulay and Aneenah - and describes Malachi as 'the baby' of her pack.

But now Malachi's primary caregiver is also at risk. Debbie was diagnosed with cancer in September and came out of hospital just last week.

"We sort of bumble along. The dogs give me a reason to get up in the morning," she said.

And Malachi needs more extensive - and expensive - surgery.

The poor pooch needs a stent inserted into the base of his brain to drain fluid that builds up there, putting pressure on sensitive neurological areas.

Debby worked as a showjumper for 25 but was forced to retire in 2001 after she suffered a serious stroke.

Her husband Anthony, 57, was critically disabled after he plunged 21 feet from scaffolding while working as as builder nearly 25 years ago.

Together they run Special Needs German Shepherd Dog Rescue which re-homes dogs from across the country and even sometimes abroad.

"We are working very hard to get Malachi as stable as possible. Then he will be able to have the operation he needs but because it's a serious procedure so he needs to be strong.

She added: "As long as he has the will to live I will stand by him."

"We started fundraising in May. We raised £3,000 for his initial scans and consultation. We held car boots sales, raffles, anything and everything possible. The cost is immense. He's uninsurable.

"He's just got such a zest for life. I can't have children and dogs are my life. He's a very special boy. He's defeated so many obstacles

"If anyone else had had him he would have been put to sleep but there was something about him. He wanted to live."

Becky Neal from Wheels4Dogs, the Worcester-based company which supplied Malachi's frame, said: "I just want the spread the word to let people know that there is an alternative way to help dogs and other pets with mobility problems, rather than just having an otherwise healthy animal put to sleep."

"They can help with a wide range of conditions from an elderly dog just needing a bit of extra support to a dog being paralysed from a stroke, and of course, sadly all too common spinal diseases like Degenerative Myelopathy."