A PUPPY abandoned with its umbilical cord still attached was taken into a rescue centre by a member of the public who mistook it for a newborn fox.

Staff at Dogs Trust were shocked when the one-day old animal was brought into its Basildon centre.

He weighed just 450g and could fit in the palm of a hand with staff soon identifying it as a tiny newborn crossbreed puppy.

The team, who named him Mr Fox, have since described him as one of the strongest and most resilient puppies they’ve ever encountered.

Mr Fox was given round the clock care at the centre which involved regular feeds throughout the night.

And the once pint-sized pooch is now on his way to full growth after tipping the scales at more than 11kg.

At six weeks old, once weaned, the German Shepherd cross went into foster care so he could begin to learn from, and interact with, a foster carer’s other dogs.

The fosterers immediately fell in love with him and have just adopted the nine-week old and renamed him Zorro, which is Spanish for fox.

Tarryn Peinke, the rehoming centre’s adoption advisor, said: “Looking after Mr Fox was really rewarding. He has such a strong character and fought so hard to survive as such a tiny puppy with the odds against him. As tiring as it could be to feed him every couple of hours his affectionate and feisty nature shone through from the start and made it a lot of fun as well.

“He ate more than any pup I’ve ever known and this certainly shows in how quickly he grew and how big he is now. In fact, he’s the only puppy I’ve met who weaned himself as soon as I presented him with some biscuits. He is a force of nature and has brought a lot of laughter and mischief.”