(ANIMAL VIDEO/WILDLIFE RESCUE) Tampa-based Big Cat Rescue discovered Mickey the cougar living in a nightmarish backyard zoo in Alabama that was operating without a license. When rescuers found him, he was emaciated, his teeth were rotting, and his legs were so debilitated that he could barely walk or even stand-up. After further veterinary examination,  it was determined the cougar’s knees were completely ravaged and without any remaining ligaments or cartilage. Determined to help give Mickey a chance at a happy life, vets tailored surgeries for him, using artificial ligaments to stabilize his knee. With the help of physical therapy, doctors helped him learn how to miraculously walk again.

“He’s never going to walk perfectly but he’s doing incredibly well, and he’s able to get around on his own,”Big Cat Rescue’s Susan Bass said. “We’re so happy to be able to give him a home for the rest of his life.”

See how Mickey is recovering in this touching video. — Global Animal