A BRAVE dog who defied the odds and came through a life-saving operation after being left for dead under a rubbish heap has received a warm welcome home.
Fionn the hound was near death when discovered by a passer-by under a rubbish tip in a wooded area of Douglas, Co Cork, a week before Christmas.
He was severely underweight, covered in sores and cuts, and had received a blow to the head.
"He was barely alive. The woman who found him rang us. She was quite distressed. We brought him to the nearest vet," said spokeswoman for the Cork Dog Action Welfare Group, Vicky Hurley.
"The vet said it would be doubtful he would survive the night," she said.
The following day, an X-ray revealed the dog had a fractured skull, consistent with a blow from an object, and swelling to the brain.
It was not expected that Fionn would pull through, but he soldiered on and was well enough to be sent to a foster home in Co Cork a few days before Christmas.
"Three days after Christmas Day, however, his condition deteriorated.
He lost his balance, mobility and eyesight and had to be rushed back to the vet. An MRI scan at a Dublin facility revealed he needed life-saving surgery.
"We were given two choices . . . to put him to sleep or to have surgery," said Vicky.
"The surgery was carried out last Monday. He survived the operation and has done very well since."
Fionn's foster carer travelled to Dublin on Friday to collect him and bring him home and he has spent the weekend recuperating in his foster home.
"We're delighted he's home. It's been a surprise to the vet that he has pulled through so well -- especially after the relapse," said Vicky.
She paid tribute to everyone who donated money to an appeal for Fionn.
"We were surprised and overwhelmed by the response. It's thanks to the public we were able to pay for the surgery and the MRI," she said.