Blackpool dog who was rescued from tiny cage that stunted her growth will get life-changing vet surgery to help her to walk again

A Blackpool dog that was rescued from a tiny cage five years ago is about to have life-changing surgery that will allow her to walk again – thanks to an anonymous donor.
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Poppy has always suffered from cramps and joint issues, – as her growth was stunted by being locked in the cage as a puppy.

But the eight year old labrador’s condition became much worse after she tore her cruciate ligament in February 2023 – an injury that will not heal without surgery.

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Owner, Vanessa Ashby, said: “Poppy was happily playing on the beach with her friends when she suddenly stopped and wouldn’t move. She was unable to put any weight on her back leg no matter how much I rubbed it. She was lame!”

Poppy the labrador is having surgery so she can walk againPoppy the labrador is having surgery so she can walk again
Poppy the labrador is having surgery so she can walk again

‘I can't begin to think about my life without her’

Concerned, Vanessa rushed her dog to the vet who found she had ‘totally ruptured the cruciate ligament in her stifle (knee)’.

Vanessa, from Bispham, says she was ‘heartbroken’ to see her best friend in pain. She said: “My whole world revolves around Poppy. I can't begin to think about my life without her. She walks from the kitchen to the living room and she’s absolutely puffed out. You can tell when her pain medication is wearing off because she gets agitated and can’t get comfortable.”

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‘She was in that cage for 23 hours a day. It stumped her growth’

The chocolate labrador is able to get out in a pram – but she misses playing with her friends and being active. The mature psychology & counselling student said that she knew that Poppy would develop difficulties throughout her life, but was not prepared for this.

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“She’d been kept in a tiny cage, and it stumped her growth. The cage was designed to fit under the stairs and it was way, way too small for her. She was in that cage for 23 hours a day, only allowed out for one hour to have her tea and a wee. Due to her pre-existing conditions I couldn’t afford to insure Poppy as the premiums were extremely high, so I put a little by to cover her medication, but not £4000.”

A long road to recovery

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An anonymous donor has helped to cover the cost of Poppy’s operation, but she has a long road of recovery ahead to help her to get better.

Her treatment is likely to cost around £4,000 – including a major operation to put a metal plate in her leg, followed by months of physiotherapy at £40 a week, and hydrotherapy, to help the eight year old pooch to heal.

Vanessa added: “Poppy is eight years old now and has been my faithful companion and best friend, being by my side day and night ever since the day I brought her home. I just want to ease her suffering and let her enjoy a normal life. She had such an awful start in life, and she doesn’t deserve this.”

To donate to Poppy’s gofundme appeal, visit

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