A dog abandoned as a puppy with her leg “chewed off” has been celebrated for her recovery.

Maltese cross Sophia was about two to three weeks old when she was discovered on a canal path in Dudley, West Midlands, in the heat, covered in dirt, and with one of her hind legs ripped off.

An animal rescue charity took her to Vets4Pets in the town where it was feared she only had hours to live.

However, the puppy pulled through and was not only adopted by the vet nurse who cared for her but she has now been named the runner-up in Vets Now’s Pet of the Year Award.

“We didn’t think she’d make it. She was a tiny little thing, no bigger than the palm of your hand, and it looked like her back leg had been chewed off,” vet nurse Sarah Beardsmore said.

“Half of her bone was sticking out and all the flesh around it was rotten.

“The smell was horrendous. She obviously had this raging infection from the leg and she was semi-conscious.”

The 45-year-old believes Sophia was part of a first time mother’s litter who accidentally bit off her leg when chewing the cord.

“It does happen,” she said. “But obviously the correct vet treatment hadn’t been received and she was just thrown out.”

Ms Beardsmore nursed Sophia, who got stronger and stronger as the days passed, and the puppy had the rest of her leg amputated to get rid of the rotten flesh.

“She somehow made it through, and when she was strong enough a couple of weeks later the practice operated on the remaining bone in her leg,” she said.

“But she crashed and had to be resuscitated, which was really scary.”

Sophia’s health then improved “dramatically” and Ms Beardsmore, who had previously fostered for Ravens Rescue, the charity which brough the dog to the vets, was desperate to keep her.

“I couldn’t bear to be parted with her and my three sons had become so attached to her we had to keep her.”