Maltese learns to walk after being left behind by owner

SAN DIEGO - A little Maltese was left behind by an owner who claimed the dog couldn't walk, but thanks to some love and therapy, the pup is now up and walking around.

Bella is a five-pound, 6-year-old Maltese who is swimming to build strength at The Total Dog in Oceanside.

"Truly, she probably has some deformity in her bones from being confined in such a small space," said Registered Veterinary Technician Natalie Lindberg.

"She was caged most of her life, so the woman who surrendered her said that she hadn't been walking for five years," said Bella's foster mom, Dawn Lierman of Maltese Rescue California.

Bella was picked up in Los Angeles at an animal shelter last October. The owner wanted her euthanized because she couldn't walk.

"We went and had her neurological exam and it was all based on sheer neglect and being left in a very, very small crate," said Lierman.

Bella is getting stronger and walking now.

"Good job, help her muscle get stronger, help her heart get stronger, help her lungs get stronger," said Lindberg.

Lindberg has donated her time to help Bella walk again. It all happens by putting Bella in a hydrotherapy pool for dogs.

Just 12 weeks ago, little Bella couldn't even walk, and now through the physical therapy she's able to walk and get around.

"Oh my gosh, she is so happy, she just sings and carries on until you pick her up and her little tail goes," said Lierman.

Now she's ready to walk into a new loving home.

"She's going to make someone a real nice little pet. They'll need to continue with therapy so she gets as strong as possible," said Lindberg.

For more information about Bella, visit http://www.malteserescuecalifornia.org.

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