“Sick as a dog” was not a phrase Supervet Professor Noel Fitzpatrick planned on taking so literally until he found himself recovering alongside one of his patients.
The TV vet shares a particular empathy with cocker spaniel Cookie as he recuperates from foot surgery at the same time as Cookie discovers a new lease of life after being given two bionic feet.
Owners Fay and Ellie were faced with the option of euthanasia when they discovered that the 18-month-old puppy, who had been partially paralysed from birth, would also need a double hip replacement to treat hip dysplasia and severe arthritis.
But Fitzpatrick was able to save Cookie – and find inspiration himself – with a ground-breaking prosthesis operation.
He said: “Her journey began with a cyst on her spine causing paralysis which required spinal surgery, then replacing both of her back feet, which had no feeling, with prosthetics so that she could walk without tearing her feet constantly with repeated infections, and then finally a double hip replacement for bad arthritis secondary to hip dysplasia. What an expedition!
“Cookie wanted to run around long before she was allowed to do so, and I share her frustrations on my crutches.
“I think my own surgery is nature’s way of bringing me closer to not only what my patients go through physically but also mentally. I’m raring to get back in the surgical saddle – and Cookie gives me hope – because now she finally is running around the field.
“(She’s) one small hairy fluffy bundle of hope with two bionic feet, two bionic hips, and a boisterously bionic attitude to life.”
Cookie’s life-changing surgery can be seen on The Supervet on Channel 4 at 8.00pm.