TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - A tiny Chihuahua arrived at SPCA Tampa Bay a few months ago - underweight and with two broken legs. He is small, but he is mighty, and ready for a new home.
Chico is a playful puppy at barely 10 months old. Martha Boden, the CEO of SPCA Tampa Bay, said although he faced some health issues, he is thriving again.
"His face alone is something that makes you just want to scrunch up. We call that 'humanamality,'" said Martha. "It's that funny feeling that you can't always put a word to, but you just look in those big brown eyes and that little face and you think, 'My goodness. That's my little guy.'"
There was nothing fun about the first few months of Chico's life. He came to SPCA Tampa Bay in January with two broken legs.
"He was owned by a family that got him as a puppy," Boden explained. "They didn't quite understand how fragile these little guys can be and he had some sort of an accident. They got him immediately to an emergency clinic, which was great, but the care that he needed to recover was more than the family could handle."
That's when the SPCA stepped in and began months of rehabilitation, orthopedic visits and physical therapy. They documented every step of Chico's journey along the way.
Thousands of people watched on Facebook as the big eyed-Chihuahua with bandages around his legs nervously shook while veterinarians did their daily check-ups. They watched as he graduated from splints to soft bandages and as he hobbled outside with little baggies around his paws so his fragile legs would stay dry. It's no wonder the world fell in love with Chico, including Martha, who's been fostering Chico from the start.
"Chico is funny and very joyful. When you think of all that he has been through… he's had broken legs half of his life," she said.
Chico's road to recovery isn't over yet. His muscles are still weak and his left leg is shorter than the right, but the SPCA hopes hydrotherapy will help. In the meantime, they'll continue to give him lots of love until he's ready for his forever home.
"There's a gratefulness to him," she explained. "Once he settles in your arms, he will literally cuddle up right next to you as if to say 'thank you for making me whole, thank you for making me ready to go.'"
Chico is ready for his forever home, and SPCA Tampa Bay is accepting applications as of Friday. If you are interested in adopting Chico, head over to the shelter's website.