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South Wootton dog's life transformed by roller skates

A dog on roller skates is usually the stuff of funny videos - but the wheels have transformed the life of one South Wootton cockapoo.

Eight-year-old Zippy became paralysed after slipping a disc while jumping off the sofa in August 2019.

And the effect on his health was so devastating that owners Terry and Jean Stork were advised to have him put to sleep

Jean and Terry Stork with Zippy. Pictures: Paul Marsh
Jean and Terry Stork with Zippy. Pictures: Paul Marsh

However, with the help of a canine wheelchair, roller skates and hydrotherapy, Zippy has learned to be mobile once more.

And thanks to the loving support of his owners, he’s even managing to briefly walk unaided.

Jean said: “He can now take about ten steps.

“For him to go from that to this in a year, we’re thrilled.

“We don’t think he will ever walk in the woods again, he’ll always need his wheels. But if we can get him to be able to walk in the garden again that will be enough for us.”

Calm and laid-back Zippy was a therapy dog and a regular visitor to care homes, special needs schools and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

His freak injury occurred just a day after Terry and Jean’s spaniel died after developing a tumour.

Cockapoo Zippy who has a Wheelchair and rollerskates to help him walk. Pictures: Paul Marsh
Cockapoo Zippy who has a Wheelchair and rollerskates to help him walk. Pictures: Paul Marsh

“Zippy jumped off the sofa, began to limp and within the space of two hours, we could see he was in real pain and unable to stand.

“When we went to lift him to take him to the emergency vet he bit us, which was so out of character. He must have been in so much pain,” said Jean, 64, a part-time lecturer at College of West Anglia.

An operation eased the discomfort, but he still couldn’t walk and was double incontinent. However, the Storks were determined not to have him put down.

Jean said: “We thought we’ve got this far, we’re going to work with him.”

After hydrotherapy and laser treatment, the couple then sourced the wheelchair from Suffolk-based charity Winstons Wheels, enabling Zippy to become mobile again.

“We then noticed a bit of movement in his hips. It wasn’t natural to have his legs up behind him so I got these roller skates from the USA,” said Jean, pointing to Zippy’s rehabilitation being a great team effort with 75-year-old Terry, who works two days a week and was his primary walker.

“The only way you could do this is to work together,” she added.

Now Zippy is enjoying the company of another cockapoo, two-year-old Stanley.

And his courage and strength could yet be recognised with an award.

He has reached the final four of the Hero Pet category in global hearing aid specialist Amplifon’s search for The Best of British.

The virtual awards presentation on Tuesday, October 13, will be hosted by Radio 5 Live presenter Rachel Burden.

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