A PUPPY who needs life-saving surgery has had a visit from DJ and former Hollyoaks actress, Gemma Atkinson.

Little Pickle’s story touched people across East Lancashire earlier this year when staff at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary told how the emaciated young puppy had been brought to them after being bought from website Gumtree, weighing just 400g.

It was hoped that Pickle, who is a Chihuahua cross Jack Russell, would have the life-saving surgery in March but he did not weigh enough, and now, with Gemma’s support, staff at the Edenfield Sanctuary are hoping to raise enough money to pay for a crucial £7,000 back operation.

Pregnant Gemma, who is president of Bleakholt, visited Pickle at the sanctuary's open day on Sunday, and was joined by her partner, Strictly Come Dancing star Gorka Marquez.

The Hits Radio presenter said: “I fell in love with Pickle and hope, once he has had his operation, he will lead a healthy and happy life. Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary is a superb charity and Pickle is in the best hands, like all the animals at Bleakholt are.”

Sanctuary manager Karen Weed said Pickle is on pain medication to help keep him comfortable,

She said: “He is snoozing quite a lot which is a good sign. He has a spinal condition which is causing his vertebrae to press on his spine.

“The good news is he can have surgery but the bad news is he does have a higher risk with anaesthetic.

“Should the operation be successful he should have a good quality of life without the need for further treatment. However, we still desperately need funds for his surgery.”

Due to Pickle’s tiny size and complex condition, a spinal operation is needed which requires equipment to be made specially for him.

Ms Weed added: “Any donations no matter how small to help cover the costs of this are hugely appreciated. He is under the care of a spinal specialist and we are doing everything possible to get Pickle the life he deserves.

“Thank you so much for your continued support, we are all so grateful.”

To donate, visit bleakholt.org/puppy-pickle/ or facebook.com/bleakholt/

Should the sanctuary be able to cover the cost of Pickle’s operation via donations, any donations over the amount will go towards other animals being cared for at Bleakholt.