UPPER EAST SIDE — No one can keep Chuck Norris down — not even the canine version.
Chuck, a young pit bull named for the legendary action hero, was brought to the ASPCA in December with injuries so severe that he couldn't use his hind legs.
Six months later, the year-and-a-half-old grey-and-white pup has made a nearly full recovery and will soon be available for adoption.
Chuck was found tied to a fence near the Asphalt Green recreation center and brought to the nearby ASPCA center on East 92nd Street, the organization said. He was unable to walk normally and instead dragged himself around by his front legs.
An exam revealed that Chuck had severe joint disease in both hips due to previous fractures. As a result, he had lost almost all of the muscle mass in his hind legs.
In March, Chuck underwent surgery to remove the tops of his femurs, the large upper bones of the back legs. His doctors hoped the surgery would alleviate pain and help him regain at least partial use of his hind legs, although there were no guarantees.
“While we did not expect a completely normal hind-leg gait, we were hopeful that Chuck would be able to place weight on and use his hind legs at least 50 to 80 percent better than before,” ASPCA spokeswoman Mallory Kerley said.
A few days after surgery, the pup began months of daily physical therapy to learn to walk again. His recovery included workouts on a treadmill and hydrotherapy sessions at specialty pet hospital the Animal Medical Center. The expensive treatment was covered by a special donor fund, according to the ASPCA.
Now, a little more than three months later, Chuck is walking and running again. He also knows how to sit and back up, tricks he learned during his physical therapy.
The ASPCA staff described Chuck as a happy, energetic dog who loves to play and meet people.
The organization is now looking to find Chuck a permanent home, preferably one with some experience owning a dog. He will be made available for adoption sometime in the next few days.
But he won't soon be forgotten.
“Chuck is a very special dog and a staff favorite here at the ASPCA,” said Dr. Julie Horton, medical director at the ASPCA Adoption Center.
“He captures the hearts of everyone he meets and, once we saw his amazing spirit, we knew that we had to help him overcome his physical limitations.”
To find out more about adopting Chuck or another pet from the ASPCA, visit the ASPCA Adoption Center site.