Six months after he was found nearly crippled and tied to a fence in Manhattan, a pit bull named Chuck has made a remarkable recovery but needs just one more thing: a new home.
When two New Yorkers found Chuck abandoned on the Upper East Side, he could only drag himself by his front legs because of past fractures in the rear legs that had not healed properly.
"He could have been hit by a car, it could have been abuse, we have no idea," said ASPCA medical director Dr. Julie Horton, who helped care for Chuck after he was brought in.
The injuries caused severe joint disease in the dog's hips, so doctors at the ASPCA removed the ball in the ball-and-socket joints to encourage his muscles to take over.
While it was unclear whether he would ever walk normally again, doctors knew Chuck would feel less pain. After the surgery, he started an extensive round of therapy sessions that included treadmill trotting, floor exercises and obstacle courses.
"In the beginning it was a lot more localized PT, because he couldn't even walk, he couldn't get up the stairs," said Blair DeJong of the ASPCA, who helped train Chuck, named after the martial arts actor Chuck Norris. "And then eventually he was able to get up the stairs and get his legs under him so I could teach him to sit."
There were also hydrotherapy sessions at the Animal Medical Center twice a week, and it was clear that Chuck loved the water and was getting stronger by the day.
"I think at this point, we've got him as good as he's going to get. He's probably about 80 percent at this point, but what we want to prevent is deterioration in that muscle," said Horton.
Chuck is now available for adoption, and staffers at the ASPCA who helped rehabilitate Chuck would like to see him in a new loving home where he will have plenty of exercise so that his legs stay in good shape.