Violet was found by rescuers last February. The poor dog had lost nearly all her hair and was covered from head to toe in mange. Her frail body was weak and skinny from barely being fed, and she could not stop scratching her itchy skin. She scratched it to the point that it was always cracking and bleeding.
Violet was living outside under a makeshift tent on an abandoned property in Louisiana for a very long time. She was the only dog out of 10 to survive. Rescuers said Violet and the other dogs were tied up and left there with a tarp as their only shelter. The remains of the other dogs were found nearby.
“She had lived outside like that for a while, so we went into the rescue assuming that she would be feral,” Laura Koivula, deputy manager of animal crime for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which helped save Violet. “But she turned out to be really sweet.”
The Louisiana SPCA took 8-year-old Violet and began medical treatment right away. She had progressive dental disease and heartworm, in addition to her skin condition.
After a few months, her skin began to clear, up, and she gained weight. Her fur started growing back, and she started showing her curious personality.
“She didn’t know what a leash was, didn’t know what it was to be a dog,” Koivula said. “She had just been left to fend for herself.”
Violet was timid at first, but interested to learn about all the new things out there in the world. After only five months of medical care, she found the perfect person to show her love.
A New Orleans local Danielle Hanisee had worked at the shelter for six years before Violet’s arrival. She returned to visit the shelter this summer after her beloved pit bull mix passed away.
“I had recently lost him, and just felt like if I ever got another dog, I would get one who really needed me,” Hanisee said. “So I did.”
Hanisee immediately connected with Violet and offered to foster her for a week. Violet was scared of all the new things at first, like cars and wood floors, but Hanisee continued to work with her to build her confidence.
By July, Violet had found her new home. It may have taken her awhile to get used to her new life, but Violet looked to her mom for confidence when trying new things, and settled in well with her cat sibling, too.
“It took me about three weeks to get a tail wag from her,” Hanisee said. “But when I took her to the dog park for the first time, I saw a whole other dog. You can tell that she lived with dogs her whole life and that was her comfort.”
Violet has a ton of toys at home, though she doesn’t happy taking in all the new sights and sounds of life.
“She’s very curious, so she loves to just sit on the front porch like a little old lady and be nosy,” Hanisee said. “And when we’re walking on the trails, she wants to follow every dog she sees. They’re her main thing.”
“It was a really heartbreaking story,” Koivula said. “She’s made an amazing recovery and it’s such a testament to the resilience of animals. It’s a case I’ll never forget.”
Watch a video of Violet’s rescue and recovery below:
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