Ella the dog looks a little different to her peers.

The three-legged bull mastiff cross walks around with armour, in the form of a custom-made brace which the SPCA ordered from America to help her walk. When an Auckland SPCA inspector rescued Ella early last year she had a broken leg. The break was so bad, it needed to be amputated, and still had her stitches in months after an operation.

During her recovery, the SPCA noticed she was having trouble on her remaining three legs, so they began walking her using a sling, then started hydrotherapy - water therapy for animals that helps build the muscles.

They then gave her physio, massaging leg muscles that were working overtime to support the extra weight.


They then ordered Ella a custom-made orthotic brace from the US to give her existing front leg the support it needed.

The dog was cared for by a volunteer foster family for most of her year-long recovery. They took her to appointments, worked with the experts and helped her with socialising and exercise.

Almost a year after SPCA rescued her, Ella was ready for a "forever home" and was adopted by a family who live on a lifestyle block in Dairy Flat with four other dogs.

The foster family met the adopters just to make sure they were the best home for Ella.