Every animal deserves a good home. And after what these loveable creatures have been through, they need it more than anyone. These tales of rescue animals finally getting to live life to the fullest will not only give you ALL the feels, but may even restore your faith in humanity a little too.
You may recognise 15-month-old Staffordshire bull terrier mix Caitlyn, since she’s been all over the news lately. Her former owner – 41 year old William Leonard Dodson from South Carolina – taped her mouth so tightly shut that she needed surgery to remove it.
When Caitlyn was bought into the vets by a neighbour 48 hours later not only was her snout swollen, but her tongue was bruised, discoloured and oozing blood. At the time Aldwin Roman, an investigator for the Charleston Animal Society (CAS), said it was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty he’d ever seen: “Her life is not going to be easy, even if she completely recovers.”
But fast forward 2 months and Caitlyn has defied doctors expectations and is on the road to recovery. Initially it was thought she would need the majority of her tongue removed, but thanks to hyperbaric and cold laser treatment in her mouth she only had an 8th taken out. However, she still needs reconstructive surgery on the left side of her face and will be permanantly scarred from the ordeal.
This hasn’t prevented her from launching a modelling career though. The adorable pooch had the lucky opportunity to star in a charity calender with some of South Carolina’s hottest firefighters. And once her recovery is complete she will hopefully be placed in a new forever home.
What about her former owner? Dodson claimed he’d used the electrical tape because Caitlyn would “not stop barking” and laughed about the incident. Fortunately he’s been charged with animal cruelty, and forced to give up another dog at his home. He could now face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5000.
2) Lil Trucker
After hearing meowing coming from the hood of a pickup truck in a Texas gas station, indie rockers the Dreamers came across this little guy.
When they opened up the hood a tiny kitten was sitting on top the engine: “The kitten was brand new, couldn’t have been more than 2 weeks old, and was making terrified spitting hisses and clawing at my hand with weak harmless claws as if fighting for its life” said lead singer Nick Wold (below), “we stuffed it in a cardboard box and took it on the road.”
The Brooklyn-based band named her Lil Trucker after their first encounter, and she now goes everywhere with the band, even on tour.
Even though they’ve had a blast with their new mascot, they’re homing to find her a more permanent home one day soon.
Poor Peanut. Not only was he abused as a puppy by his former owners, but as an adult he’s also been dubbed the Worlds Ugliest Dog. Even winning the title at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, California, in 2014.
Peanut’s current owner Holly Chandler says the 2-year-old mutt was also injured in a fire, and no longer has eye lids or lips: “he can’t close his eyes, so therefore his eyes water. The tears drain into his nose and so he has nice little snot bubbles because of it. So it’s great, that adds to his character.”
But despite all of his problems, Chandler wouldn’t change him for the world: “He’s my baby. I I don’t see him as being that ugly. But I guess the judges thought so.”
As a sort of reward, American comedian Jimmy Kimmel gave Peanut a TV makeover. Stylists painted his nails, dressed him a blonde wig, diamanté vest and trainers, as well as trying out a gentlemanly suit.
Although both dog and owner are clearly having fun with Peanut’s new title, Chandler hopes her dog’s story will raise awareness of animal cruelty in the future.
Raju the Asian elephant spent 50 years of his life in captivity. Enslaved by a drug addicted owner in India who used him to beg for money, Raju was shackled with spikes around his legs and survived by eating plastic and paper.
Fortunately, a kind soul alerted the Wildlife SOS, who initially went through legal means to get Raju’s owner to relinquish him. When he wouldn’t hand him over despite a court order, the animal activists launched a two day surveillance and rescue mission to get him out.
Joined by 20 Forestry Commission officers and six police officers, Wildlife SOS held a clandestine raid on the home of Raju’s abuser, who had done everything possible to prevent the elephant from being taken away including blocking the road and adding more chains.
Under the cover of darkness to protect the animal from the sun, they took Raju in a truck to the Elephant Conservation and Care Center (ECCC) in Mathura. When his legs were finally unshackled, team members witnessed the elephant crying tears of joy.
A year on, Raju is now enjoying his freedom. After five decades of abuse, it took a while for experts at the shelter to earn his trust and heal his wounds, but he now lives happily with the other elephants at the conservation centre. His former owner has since attempted to regain custody of Raju, but thanks to an online petition this never happened, and the elephant is now free to live the rest of his life in peace.
Look how happy he is!
5 and 6) Penny and Roo
A fluffy chicken and a two-legged chihuahua are not your typical best friends, but Penny (left) and Roo (right) are inseparable. The adorable duo not only play together, but they even share nap-time, and are consistently lavished with attention by those around them.
Penny the chicken was rescued at nine weeks old by the pair’s owner Alicia Williams – an animal science student – who saved her from a laboratory. Penny was an experimental chicken in a program that had run its course. “That was it for her,” Williams said. “I happened to be there, so I asked if I could have her instead. I brought her home.”
Roo’s story is a tad-more dramatic. Found shivering in a park in February 2013, the seven week old puppy was believed to have been abandoned by breeders. ‘It was probably a backyard breeder, breeding a bunch of puppies and he ended up deformed,’ Williams said. Roo was born without fully formed front legs, and now gets around on a custom-made cart.
The buddies share an animal carrier to work everyday with Ms Williams, who works at an animal shelter. The pair entertain both guests and the staff, and their adorable antics have even garnered them a strong social media following. Although they share a unique bond, William’s admits that excitable Roo sometimes accidently runs Penny over with his cart.
Still, as well as finding a happy new forever home, the cuddly critters have also found their a new best friend in each other.
Despite his unfortunate nickname of “vampire cat”, Lazarus isn’t even a little bit scary. Born with a cleft palate, no top lip and only part of his nose, his bottom teeth protrude upwards like a little set of fangs.
Found at ten weeks old by student Cindy Chambers from East Tennessee State University, poor Lazarus had a nasty infection in his mouth. But Chambers nursed him back to health, and Lazarus now fits in nicely with the other rescue animals that share her home including dogs, more cats and a horse.
As well as being “king of the cat tree” according to his owner, Lazarus’s unique appearance and personality have won him 7500 followers on Vine as well as his own tumblr account. Anyone who might be initially put off by his ferocious appearance will soften as soon as they witness his silly adventures online.
All this cuteness is enough to make you want to get one of your own rescue pets!