It was a story that started out as a heartbreaking and sickening case of animal abuse. While it still is all of those things, it is also becoming a heartwarming story of compassion and hope.

Thousands of people have followed the story of Sammy the cocker spaniel, who is being cared for on his road to recovery by the wonderful staff of the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital.

The story has hit a nerve with me too, not only because of the shocking cruelty, but because his face reminds me so much of my dog, Sydney, and they're around the same age (vets at RBVH estimate that Sammy is around 13 years old). Every day I'm grateful for my dog's health and I'm constantly pleasantly surprised by her vitality as a "senior" dog. Sammy clearly has the same strength of heart and character, as evidenced by this video that RBVH just posted of him taking his first steps since being admitted to the hospital:


Keep at it, Sammy, we're all rooting for you!