Cute Florence has captured the hearts of the nation after her emotional tale of being saved from abuse was broadcast on national TV.

The poodle shih-tzu cross was so badly neglected that she could barely walk when she was handed into Brighton RSPCA.

When she was operated on vets untangled matted fur around her front paws, which fell off because the blood supply had been cut off for so long.

She was also suffering with ear and eye infections as well as gastroenteritis and her teeth were so rotten she had to have them all removed.

In November last year The Argus reported how Florence, then known as Cheeky, was saved by the RSPCA.

Derek Goldsmith, 64, of Albourne Close, Brighton, admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal when he appeared at the city’s magistrates’ court.

He was disqualified from keeping animals for five years and given a four month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Tony Woodley, the RSPCA inspector who found Florence in June last year, said: “It was one of the worst cases I had ever seen.”

Florence’s story captivated the students at Collyers College in Horsham and they created a harness on wheels to help her get around.

The Dog Rescuers programme aired on Tuesday on Channel 5 followed Florence’s story – and her loving, new home with new owner Karen Branagh, who works for the RSPCA.

Karen said: “Florence is a little darling.

“She can nowwalk on soft grass and carpet.

“We were in tears of joy the first time she managed to run on the grass.

“I cannot praise the inspectors who saved her and the vets who cared for her enough.”

The 45-year-old account manager at the RSPCA headquarters in Hove said she fell in love with Florence instantly.

Karen said: “She’s just wonderful. She’s really quite lively and spritely.”

At first Florence was nervous but now Karen takes her everywhere – including camping.

Florence even likes to curl up on the sofa with the family cat Archie.

“I carry her around in a sling and she comes with me across the country and to the RSPCA,” Karen added.

“I wanted to give her the best life I could. She is a part of our family and I would not be without her.

“Don’t rule any dog out just because it’s been neglected. They can bring so much to your life and so much happiness.”