Fabio, a 4-year-old white-haired Maltese, has received a second chance at a happy and normal life after his former owner cut off his two back legs.
Fabio was fitted with custom-made prosthetic "boots" soon after being adopted in January, allowing the pooch to run and play.
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"His legs were cut off by his ex-owner so he couldn't climb a chain link fence," Joani Ellis, of Florida Poodle Rescue, told ABC News
. "Fabio's bone is just covered with skin, so it hurts him when he stands or walks."
Ellis said the dog's previous owner was never prosecuted for the abuse but refused to discuss the matter further. Instead, she chose to focus on Fabio's recovery.
The animal rescuer told ABC that she took Fabio to New Orleans, where the pup underwent treatment at a doggy rehab center and met with specialists to resolve the issue with his hind legs.
"They're going to make impressions and make him some boots so he can walk without pain," Ellis said. "It's my hope that he will be able to run and play. He so wants to, like a normal dog."
Fabio will soon be able to try out his new prosthetic legs at the Marrero, La.-based canine rehab center "Dag's House," where specialists are experimenting with wheelchairs for at least 15 other dogs with missing or non-functioning limbs.
"We have everything under the sun in disabilities, ranging from birth defects, trauma, dogs that were hit by cars, shot by guns, run over by vehicles," Kim Dudek, founder of Dag's House, told ABC News. "We've done a lot of rehab and rehoming of dogs that have had traumatic incidents."
Dudek said that since Dag's house opened its doors in 2007, countless dogs have filtered through the facility, many of which were previously abused.
"You don't get an instruction book on a disabled dog. I created Dag's House for someone to ask and more importantly, [for] that emotional support," Dudek said. "A disability in a dog is not a death sentence anymore."
The facility is named after a pit bull named Dagnabit, which Dudek adopted and provided surgery for to repair the three ruptured disks he had in his back.
Ellis also rescued Fabio's companion, a Maltese named Lady, from the same abusive owner. Lady is blind.
After the prosthetic limbs are fitted and Fabio has adjusted to them, Ellis said she plans on finding a permanent loving home for two dogs.
"These little guys get mistreated and they have no choice. I want to make it up to them," she said. "They deserve so much better."
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