A starving dog found abandoned and on the brink of death was rescued just hours before it was too late and is now hoping to have a new home by Christmas.

Dogue de Bordeaux Elsa was found shivering and heavily malnourished by a passer-by at a Birmingham nature reserve on Saturday.

She weighed less than half of the average body weight for her breed and looked desperately thin with her bones visible through her fur.

After being taken to a vets where she was put on a drip she is slowly on the road to recovery.

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Elsa was lucky that a passerby spotted her in the park before it was too late. Photo / Animal House Rescue
Elsa was lucky that a passerby spotted her in the park before it was too late. Photo / Animal House Rescue
Elsa rated a 0.5 on the body condition scale for dogs. Photo / Animal House Rescue
Elsa rated a 0.5 on the body condition scale for dogs. Photo / Animal House Rescue

But animal rescuer Lin Reeves of The Animal House Rescue was shocked at her neglect, branding it "the worst she'd seen in 30 years".

Reeves said: "Elsa wouldn't have survived a couple more hours if she hadn't been found.

"I went to collect her in my van and I wasn't sure we were going to get there in time before she passed.

"She couldn't stand, she couldn't lift her head, she was in an appalling state.

"If she had been out there all night, she wouldn't be here now."

On a scale of five to zero, with zero meaning death, Elsa would have scored 0.5, Reeves added.

She is believed to be 4-years-old and was found in Corngreaves Nature Reserve, in Cradley Heath, Birmingham at around 9am.

Reeves added: "It is horrific, you can't believe that someone could let an animal get into that condition.

"It is like a death sentence - I think whoever dumped her just thought it would finish her off.

"It looks like sheer neglect."

As she has no owner to pay for them, generous animal lovers have donated £4000 ($7700) towards her vet bills, with tests being carried out to determine why she was so malnourished.

Third day in care and Elsa is able to stand on her own. Photo / Animal House Rescue
Third day in care and Elsa is able to stand on her own. Photo / Animal House Rescue

Reeves has also been inundated with requests to give her a new home, but is unsure whether she will be well enough to be re-homed for the festive season.

She said: "We've had donations from as far away as Australia.

"I've never seen anything like it.

"Elsa is wearing a little jumper now, we need anything to keep her warm."