In the fall of 2015, NYC’s Second Chance Rescue got a disturbing call about a 7-week-old puppy whose back legs had been severed. Without hesitation, they took him under their wing — and with the help of groups such as Merrick Pet Care and Water4Dogs, the transformation has been incredible.

Baby Joey, as he is now known, was found on the side of the road in North Carolina by a trucker. When the man got up close, he could see the damage was grim — Joey’s back legs had been cleanly severed. While it is unknown if Baby Joey suffered his trauma at the hands of humans or through an accident, one thing was certain — he was in anguish.

Joey (a Nova Scotia Dog Tolling Retriever mix) was fostered by a kind Samaritan until he was 12 weeks old, and then made the trip to New York, where he would recover as a resident of Second Chance Rescue’s Camp SCR.

Through it all, he has remained an affectionate and playful boy who loves to snuggle up with every human he meets and romp with his fellow doggie campers.

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Source: Camp SCR

Regina Mendoza, director of Camp SCR, spoke with PupJournal about Joey’s rehabilitation. “It has been a very long process, and we’re still getting there. But he’s such a love.”

Related: This Brave Puppy Is Fighting To Walk (And Winning)
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Camp SCR Director Regina Mendoza with Baby Joey. Source: Second Chance Rescue

Second Chance Rescue began by taking Joey to renowned veterinary surgeon Dr. Tomas Infernuso. Fortunately, it was deemed that Joey wouldn’t need further surgeries or amputation. Dr. Infernuso recommended that he begin treatment at the Water4Dogs Rehabilitation Center.

Since then, Water4Dogs has been working diligently with dry and water therapy. Dry therapies include cold laser and massage to promote deep healing, while controlled swim water therapy relaxes muscle tension and releases endorphins.

Then began the arduous task of fitting Joey for prosthetic devices. Water4Dogs’ Dr. Block and Orthopets have been working together with Joey’s team to create prostheses for easier mobility. Though Joey has adapted well and learned to get around without prosthetics, these devices help prevent secondary problems — like back issues — from the hunching and pelvic tucking positions he has to assume while walking without them.

Mendoza reflected,

“It’s not easy. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back. He can’t always tell us what’s wrong. It’s not like he can say, ‘It’s a little snug on this side’ or ‘Ooh, that hurts.’”

Orthopets is located in Colorado, so after measurements were taken and the prostheses created, they had to be shipped to New York for Joey to try out. When something doesn’t fit quite right, the devices have to be sent back to Orthopets to be adjusted and then shipped to New York to start the process all over again.

Related: Puppy Who Couldn’t Walk Found His Strength — And A Forever Home

And sometimes Joey just isn’t in the mood to wear his prosthetics, according to Mendoza. She has spent countless hours working with Joey to get him adjusted, but the results shown in Merrick’s video are clear. Baby Joey is loving his new legs.

Merrick Pet Care has played an integral role in Baby Joey’s recovery since almost the beginning. They have paid Water4Dogs therapy bills, supplied food and treats, and provided anything they possibly could to make him the happy boy he is today. It hasn’t been a low-cost journey by any means — but it’s been worth every penny to see the joy and gratitude in his eyes.

“Giving Baby Joey Merrick food with all of the added nutrients (such as glucosamine) has definitely improved his health and recovery,” Mendoza stated. “He loves his Merrick food so much, he’s a member of the ‘Clean Plate Club!’”

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Joey loves to eat his food, and wear it too! Source: Second Chance Rescue

And the best news of all: Baby Joey is adopted! He has waited nearly a year for his forever family (even having a potential adoption fall through), but his new guardians couldn’t be more excited for the day he officially becomes theirs. “They’re very anxious to take him home, but they understand our need to fine tune his prosthetic devices first.”

From a tiny puppy with injuries that likely wouldn’t have made it through the shelter system, to the handsome and loving pup he is today, Baby Joey is preparing to have his best day ever — adoption day!

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From left to right: Opie, Jodi, Eddie Milo, Treasure, Lemmy, and Baby Joey. Source: Camp SCR

If you haven’t seen his adorable posts on Facebook (“Hey Everybody, it’s me – Baby Joey!”), you should hop on over and follow Camp SCR’s page immediately. They have so many special dogs in need of help (such as Eddie Milo in his wheelchair and Treasure, who was shot in the leg and needs surgery to heal), and your tax deductible donations allow Second Chance Rescue to continue saving lives.

Please visit their website to check out other amazing animals up for adoption, and to apply to foster, adopt, or volunteer.

Header images via Second Chance Rescue