MIRACLE dog Cain may now be living on borrowed time, but his courage and determination is giving new hope to owners and their pets.

Five years ago the Rhodesian Ridgeback cross was diagnosed with bone cancer in a front paw and underwent major surgery to remove the leg.

Vets warned his concerned owner, Wendy Davidson from Hereford, that Cain was unlikely to live more than 12 months beyond his operation and chemotherapy treatment.

Though the gentle giant is now an elderly 16 years old, he has defied the odds having survived a remarkable five years.

Says Wendy: “I know he hasn’t got long, but his story should encourage owners not to give up hope.

“He was given a year to live but next month he will have survived five years.”

The rescue dog’s story has brought tears to the eyes of fellow dog walkers. Wendy explains: “People have heard his story on walks and cried, it encourages them not to give up hope.”

“Fortunately Cain’s cancer was caught early – he came back from a walk with a lump on his paw. I took him straight to the vet and a biopsy showed the cancer was aggressive.”

She was first introduced to Cain over 10 years ago.

“My mother had died in 2007, she couldn’t have coped with two dogs as I already had my dog, Sam,” she explains. At the RSPCA kennels she heard about a dog suffering from anxiety that had been in care for five months. “It was love at first sight,” says Wendy. “He was five years old. He has turned out to be the best natured dog I have ever had – good with other dogs and children. I can trust him in every situation.”

Cain was an instant reminder of the stray dog she had found as a child living in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

“I was cycling home from school and found a stray ‘bush’ dog,” she explains. She took the Rhodesian Ridgeback cross back home, and when Wendy’s father’s work brought the family back to the UK, her mother sold their car to pay for Kim the dog to travel back too.

“We came back on the old Union Castle ship, while Kim travelled on a brand new VC10 jet airliner!”

Back to the present, Wendy is facing a difficult time. “Now as Cain approaches the end, I need wisdom to know how long to keep him going.” He still enjoys his food and short walks. “I’ve spoken to the vet and he says we’ll wait for Cain to let us know when he’s had enough.”

Wendy praises Holmer Church curate, the Rev Rob Oram for giving Cain a blessing, and she pays tribute to veterinary staff for their support.

“Cain is a God-given miracle,” she says. “He really is a bit of an enigma.”