Paralysed in the tornado that devastated Missouri last month, Sugar - a cocker spaniel/chow chow mix - is regaining function and beginning to walk once more.
This comes at the same time as her family attempt to rebuild their lives.
Sugar was given emergency surgery by the University of Missouri veterinary program and with rehabilitation, is slowly starting to use her legs again.
Sugar, Sugar: the 10-year-old pooch was found in a drainage ditch after the Joplin tornado struck. Her back legs paralysed, she is now starting to walk again
'This has given us a bright spot in some traumatic and depressing times, and it’s given people around us a reason to smile,' Sugar's carer Daniel Leatherman said.
Inspiration: with owner and carer, university student Daniel Leatherman. The dog gives hope to her family
Paralysed by the tornado, Sugar escaped from her family's basement shelter where she was with owners Steven and Debbie Leatherman.
After the pooch was no where to be found.
The Leatherman's - along with son Daniel who had driven home from Columbia, Missouri - began searching through debris.
The family also searched using social network sites to find the dog Daniel described as 'feisty as a puppy, but just a big old cuddlebug now that she’s older.'
The following day, she was found in a drainage ditch but she had lost the use of her hind legs.
Needing treatment for their beloved pup, Daniel - a biochemistry student at at the University of Missouri - phoned the university's College of Veterinary Medicine:
'I called to make sure they could help, and they said to bring her right in,' he told TODAY.com.
Post-haste to the university, Fred Wininger, an assistant professor of neurology and neurosurgery found since Sugar still felt pain sensation.
Helping hand: Sugar, a cocker spaniel/chow chow mix, was given free surgery and treatment from the University of Missouri Veterinary Hospital
This meant that if she underwent emergency surgery, she may walk again.
Emergency surgery: veterinary neurosurgeon Fred Wininger operated on Sugar allowing her to walk again
Two weeks after surgery, Sugar began moving her hind legs.
The university treated her gratis with daily electrical stimulation to prevent muscle atrophy and underwater treadmill therapy.
Orscheln Farm and Home also donated food and toys, aiding Sugar’s care.
Now, recuperating with Daniel at the university in Columbia, the dog, who loves apples and hot popcorn, is starting to walk again.
He said: 'She’s improving every day.'
'If I get up to go to the kitchen, she’ll follow me until her bottom just sort of falls. She seems to know to push herself, but also knows her limits.'
Daniel, who is beginning a new research job and finishing his undergraduate study is helping Sugar's recovery as his parents rebuild their home in Joplin.
The pup wears a brace that helps her walk as Daniel takes her out for potty breaks and bathes her to allow her to move with bouyancy.
Owner and carer: biochemistry student Daniel Leatherman leads his dog, Sugar, as Dr Wininger uses a sling to help the brave dog bear weight on her hind legs
'It gives you perspective,” Daniel said. 'After this, I don’t have much to complain about.'
'Incredible journey': Mason crawled home on two broken legs three weeks after a tornado hit Alabama
This is not the only heart-warming dog story to come out of the recent tornadoes that have wrecked havoc on the American landscape.
Mason, a scrappy pup from North Smithfield, Alabama, crawled home on two broken legs weeks after the town was ravaged by an deadly tornado.
Hiding in a garage for three weeks, the dog completed an 'incredible journey' to get home.
Then, with the help of donations and the generosity of a nearby veterinary clinic, Mason underwent an operation to fix plates into his two front legs.
Phil Doster, who sheltered the pet during his convalesence said:
'For an animal to go through what he's gone through and not to be ugly, to be happy for any companionship is remarkable.'
'We're honoured to be part of his recovery.'
Read more: Dog paralysed in Joplin tornado starts to walk again | Mail Online