Lilou had the saddest look in her eyes when she was rescued. She was just 7 months old, and the small bulldog puppy was found wandering the streets of Southern California. She had such a bad case of mange that her entire body was covered in scabs.
Love Leo Rescue picked her up from the streets just in time because she was also suffering from a respiratory infection as well.
The rescue placed Lilou with an emergency foster as a “severe medical case.”
After a few weeks, Lilou was well enough to travel and she went to another foster through Northwest Dog Project, a rescue that regularly adopts out at-risk dogs from California.
They treated Lilou’s damaged skin with medicated baths and rubdowns with coconut oil. All her hair eventually fell out leaving her with bright pink skin that made her resemble a piglet.
She soon grew a fresh coat of fur and was finally well enough to be put up for adoption.
Cora Frazer, of Eugene, Oregon, followed Lilou’s story for two months, watching as she slowly grew back her fuzz. Frazer knew she had to meet her once she became available.
“We fell in love with her and her story,” Frazer said. “We kept teasing about adopting her, but then kept making up excuses for why she wouldn’t work for our lifestyle. Like ‘We love hiking, and bulldogs don’t hike!’”
Frazer and her partner, Carl Ernst, had no idea that Lilou actually loved to hike. They put in an application after meeting her and once she met their two dogs, it was the perfect match.
“We wanted to introduce her to our pack and we were unsure how it would go,” Frazer said. “They took to her right away, barreling through the backyard together and wrestling. We could tell Lilou really got her confidence and comfort from being with other dogs.”
Frazer and Ernst officially adopted Lilou in January 2016 and all of the dogs can be found hiking and playing or working at her parents’ vintage boutique. She may be the smallest member of the pack, but Lilou is no doubt the leader.
“When we first starting taking her hiking, she seemed a bit nervous and would trail behind the others,” Frazer said. “Now she just leaves the others in the dust and they’re always trying to catch up.”
Lilou can’t seem to get enough of cuddling. Even though her other dog siblings, Yogi and Birdie, aren’t very interested in it. Last year, she met the perfect snuggle partner when her family decided to foster an American Staffordshire terrier named Hope.
It wasn’t long before they officially added her to the family once Frazer and Ernst saw how quickly the girls’ bond developed.
“They are best friends,” Frazer said. “They really took to each other in a way that was so different than with our other dogs. Hope will cuddle with her all day if you let her.”
Lilou’s siblings are able to comfort her when she’s stressed or upset. Frazer thinks it’s likely she was born into a situation where she lived among a ton of other dogs with very little human contact.
“English bulldogs are especially expensive in the breeding world — but she doesn’t look like a full-bred English bulldog. She’s a lot smaller and has different ears,” Frazer explained. “She could have possibly been dumped by a breeder who noticed she came down with mange and looked different from the rest. In their eyes, she wouldn’t have been worth any money.”
Lilou is now celebrating her two-year anniversary of being adopted and is an entirely different dog from the balding, mange-ridden puppy rescuers first found.
She a full, healthy coat of fur and an adorable smile from ear to ear. It isn’t hard to tell how much she loves her family.
And the feelings are mutual.
“We feel so lucky — and are so thankful for her,” Frazer said. “She is really special.”
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