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living it pup Poodle found rotting in Chinese slaughterhouse gets a second chance and a new wheelchair

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Henry with his new wheelchair

Henry with his new wheelchair

Henry with his new wheelchair

A disabled dog who was rescued from a Chinese slaughterhouse has been a daily dose of paw-sitivity during the pandemic.

Henry ‘Wee Wheels’ was found rotting alive at an animal shelter in Shanghai after a dog bite left him with a severed spine.

The toy poodle suffered horrific injuries and was close to death when he was transferred into the care of Harbin Slaughterhouse Survivors, a charity that helps to rescue animals from the meat trade and medical testing facilities.

Flown across China to receive urgent medical care, hope for Henry came when big-hearted Irish woman Sharon Warnock welcomed him into her Co Armagh home.

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The animal lover fell in love with the poodle instantly when she spotted him on the rescue centre’s Facebook page.

Contacting the group, the 55-year-old paid €700 to get him out of the country.

“I will never forget seeing Henry on Facebook. I think he was so helpless and I thought ‘I have time on my hands to work with him and give him what he needs’.

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“There was a connection, a huge emotional connection and I wanted him to have a family.

“He was really badly injured and he lay for three weeks paralysed with open wounds to his bones. The volunteers came under heavy criticism for not euthanising him because of the extent of his injuries.

“The flesh was rotting off him and he was unable to go to the bathroom so they had to scrape the excrement out of him but they knew he could be saved.”

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Hoping to raise awareness about the barbaric meat trade industry in China, Sharon said: “He was found in a government shelter among the dead bodies of other dogs, these shelters are just a bit of land where the dogs are dumped, there is no medical treatment.

“The group is run by three young teachers and they are doing such incredible work and need more support than ever — Henry wouldn’t be here without them.”

Fitted with a wheelchair and given a second chance at life, the pooch is wheely thriving.

“When he arrived he still had open wounds at that point and because of his injuries he is doubly incontinent.

“He was a broken wee dog but he showed quite a lot of spirit, even in those days. Now he is feisty, full of fun and just loves cuddles.

“He is like a baby with his nappy routine and we use incontinence pads too. He is in babygros because there is no fur on his pelvis, the nappy also pads out his wee bum and protects him.

“He has no feelings in his leg or backside, other than that it is like looking after any other dog. If he needs lifting or can’t reach something he will let you know, he is a cheeky fella.”

With over 5,000 Instagram followers and rising, the poodle is proving to be an Instagram sensation.

“We have made TV debuts and he loves the camera, he really does. He is a wee poser.

“If he sees the camera he will parade himself in front of it. People love him on social media, especially now — the comments from people are lovely.

“I had one message this morning from a person that said they had been off social media and were finding things tough and they just logged on to see how Henry is doing. He spreads happiness.”

Now working as a specialised therapy dog, Henry is making a huge difference in the lives of children across Ireland.

“We started to work with special needs children as a one-off and when I saw the way he interacted with children, even non-verbal children, I knew he had something special.

“Lately we have been doing a lot of specialised work with children with special needs over Zoom calls.

“If a child is feeling lonely or isolated I would say ‘Henry was in that situation, he was all by himself in China.’ The children really connect with him and talk to him, it’s like I’m not even there.

“Another child we are working with over Zoom has had extensive cancer treatment, while another child has lost both parents. The children will chat to Henry and relate to him.

“Henry has made a huge impact on my life. You adopt a dog that you have never met and you really do take a chance, but he is truly a little fighter and so loved by everyone who meets him.”

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