Is this Yarmouth pooch the country’s smallest dog?
09:07 10 October 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
Tiny terrier Belle is the same size as the family hamster and is so small she is fed through a syringe.
At six weeks old she is around eight times smaller than she should be and has only survived thanks to the care and diligence of her devoted owner, Karenza Cruse.
And the pocket-sized pooch - who Miss Cruse thinks could be Britain’s smallest dog - has become so asked-after in Great Yarmouth that she now has her own Facebook page - Belle’s Journey - with all the latest updates.
Benefiting from the kind of constant attention usually reserved for newborn babies the tiny puppy is hand fed sometimes every hour, day and night.
In a good sitting she will take 4ml and is just starting solid food and to take her first wobbly steps - a developmental milestone that is applauded and photographed for the family album.
Miss Cruse, 34, said she was amazed by her pet’s fighting spirit, shrugging off every gloomy prognosis to battle through to the next stage.
Belle - named after tiny Tinkerbelle the fairy - is the sole survivor of a litter of four with a tiny nose half the size of a little finger nail.
She was rejected by her mother Darcy and had to be resuscitated soon after she was delivered.
Initially Miss Cruse, who runs The Bromley guest house in Apsley Road, Great Yarmouth, was caring for both her and her brother but the boy sadly died.
Determined that she should have the best chance and inspired by her pluckiness the mother-of-two has kept constant watch over the miniature Yorkshire terrier, sleeping nearby on the sofa every night.
Thanks to her efforts the dog has doubled in size but is still vanishingly tiny and cooed over wherever she goes.
“I take her everywhere with me,” she said. “But once people see what is in my handbag they can’t get enough of her. She is quite a celebrity round her and even in the local pub. She amazes me. I still just smile at her even if it is 2am or 4am. She reminds me of a little clockwork toy. Everyone just assumes she is a newborn.”
Usually at seven to eight weeks a puppy would be fully weaned and ready to move on to a new home like Belle’s nephews who were born at around the same time.
But at just two inches tall and weighing 158g Belle still faces a long road to full health.
During one worrying time Miss Cruse feared the puppy was suffering from water on the brain and was given an urgent referral to a specialist vets in Newmarket.
Stunned staff there were reportedly open-mouthed at the diminutive dog declaring it the smallest they had ever seen - prompting Mrs Cruse to research the issue of size on-line where she found few challengers.
Friend Sarah Bramhall, 31, who has supported Mrs Cruse said: “For all the work she has put in she deserves some recognition and Belle is such a superstar.”
Do you have a record breaking pet? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.