Hercules was taken in by the Sacramento SPCA when his owner gave him up

By Amy Jamieson
Updated November 22, 2016 03:55 PM

His name totally makes sense — since getting Hercules to walk again has indeed been a Herculean effort.

When the 2-year-old came to the Sacramento SPCA as an “owner surrender,” Hercules had a spinal compression which left him completely paralyzed in his back end.

He could have been euthanized — like 2.7 million animals are each year — but Hercules got a hero’s welcome by the Sacramento SPCA.

Although he could not move his back end at all and was not able to go to the bathroom on his own, the SPCA made it a mission to get him walking again.

It took medication, lots of therapy — in water and out— and here Hercules is, thankful for another Thanksgiving.

In October, he took those all-important baby steps. Now he’s walking on all four legs, although still a little wobbly, and he’s doing better with his bathroom habits, too (he wears a ‘belly band’ to help keep him from having accidents while he moves).

Hercules is also quite the strong man at foster mom Sarah Varanini’s house, where he’s been recovering alongside the three dogs and three cats who also reside there.

“The other dogs have been helpful in getting him up and going,” Varanini tells PEOPLE, “as he likes to be in the same room as everyone else and will follow them around and try to steal their bones away.”

Varanini says that the SPCA hopes to have him up for adoption before Christmas. If for some reason his progress plateaus, they may look for a special needs-friendly home that doesn’t mind that he has some limitations.

To learn more about the animals the Sacramento SPCA helps, click here.