Bandy-legged Belle the 'spider dog' runs for the first time thanks to £3,000 operation

By Mail Online Reporter

Belle before her operation: A severe deformity of her front legs meant that she was unable to run and play like a normal dog

These striking pictures tell the story of a remarkable surgical procedure which has transformed the life of little Belle the greyhound cross.

Now a playful picture of health, before her operation she was afflicted with cruelly deformed legs which made her walk like a spider.

The gorgeous seven-month-old greyhound cross was born bow-legged and has been in constant pain while campaigners raised money to pay for the operations that would straighten her front legs.

Heartbreaking images of Belle before her expensive corrective surgery show her front limbs splaying out to the side but after two bouts of surgery she now looks like any normal pup and is searching for a new home.

Manager and founder of the Mayflower Sanctuary in Doncaster, Jennie Foxall-Lord, started fund raising three months ago on Facebook with dozens of caring dog-lovers helping to raise the £3,000 required.

She said: 'When she walked before it was like a little spider. Now she's so much more positive and happy, she plays with the other dogs, before she would only lay down by herself. She is a lovely natured dog and hopefully we can find her a loving home. Belle is an absolute delight, what a treasure.'

Irregular bone growth caused Belle's legs to bow but if the problem had been diagnosed earlier the painful operations - which involved breaking her legs, pinning them and adding growth plates so they healed straight - could have been avoided.

'She didn't have a life before these operations, she really didn't have a future,' said Jennie. 'She wouldn't have been able to walk.

Lucky break: Belle with her legs in casts after the operation

'Luckily the vet said there was a possibility of improvement. If they had said there wasn't any hope we may have had to put her to sleep.'

'But now things have completely turned around, what a happy dog she is. She is a big, happy puppy who hasn't been able to do all the puppy things yet.'

'She is so full of life and such a little fighter. If anyone was going to do it, it was Belle.' Belle had splints put in which were removed in May. The determined hound, who was left at the sanctuary by a member of the public, then took her first short walk last month and this month she was finally given the all clear.'

The pretty pooch, who is now looking for a new home, will require careful monitoring for the rest of her life, but thankfully won't need any more operations.

Jennie, whose sanctuary is housing around 40 dogs and a litter of pups at the moment, said Belle's vet hadn't seen anything like it before and added that she was no longer in any pain.

Belle the Greyhound Cross after the £3,000 operation that has saved her from being put to sleep

She said: 'We didn't even dare to think about a home for Belle until we knew how the operations would go'

'She is still a puppy, she will be very lively and needs somebody to watch her weight and give her plenty of exercise. Probably not a home with toddlers as she might knock them over.'

'If she needed another operation Mayflower would be responsible for paying for it, it is the same with any dog who leaves us with a question mark. '

'Thankfully, a lot of people have been very generous in helping with the cost so far She is a lovely dog, she's never stopped wagging her tail despite the fact she was in a lot of pain, and she was always pleased to see you even if she couldn't get up.'

'She's a tough little cookie and recently completed a lap of honour as the star attraction at our annual dog fun show. She's such a positive dog, she deserves a good home'.