In nearly any exploitative industry or activity, it is the breeding females who often bear the heaviest burden of repeated abuse.
Similar cases can be found in the companion animal world where breeding dogs in puppy mills spend their entire lives suffering with infections in small, filthy wire cages.
Like these animals, pit bull terrier Bones suffered a comparable fate before she was brought by a young boy to Mdzananda Animal Clinic, a partner organization of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) located in Khayelitsha, near Cape Town, South Africa.
At just six years old, Bones – now known as Mathambo (“bones” in Xhosa) – was severely emaciated – “just a bag of bones with her teats virtually hanging on the ground,” Mdzanada’s Fundraising and Communications Manager, Marcelle van Zyl, tells OGP. It was clear by her condition that she had born and fed a number of puppy litters throughout her earliest years.
Staff also found her covered in scars, which tipped them off to her other former life – that of a fighting dog – and, as van Zyl tells us, her wrists “were so swollen that she could hardly walk.”
The young boy who brought her in expressed interest in breeding her again. However, Mdzanada staff quickly decided that they could not allow her to suffer any more abuse at the hands of greedy individuals. According to van Zyl, Bones became one of the few patients that the clinic refused to return to an owner.
With the staff’s decision, Bones joined the Mdzanada team as a permanent resident. Staff members set to work on getting her healthy again, offering her highly attentive care and nursing.
“Bones was happy at [the] clinic but initially struggled to walk because of her swollen wrists and pain in her joints,” van Zyl says.
It took Bones about four months to start responding positively to treatment and entering a more fruitful recovery period. Amazingly, she pulled through, thanks to her determined spirit and the deep love she felt all around her.
“Everyone just fell in love with Bones’s sweet nature from the beginning,” van Zyl tells us.
Bones is now doing extremely well and is happy to be free from the painful marks of her former life.
“She is the most loving dog ever and you will always find her in our office, stretched out on the couch with a wagging tail,” van Zyl reports.
She has become the clinic’s education dog and often visits children at churches and schools to teach them about proper pet care.
While the first six years of her life were undeniably tough and painful, Bones’ remaining years will certainly be filled with great joy and love. For a look at her amazing transformation, check out the short film below!
Lead image source: Mdzananda Animal Clinic