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(Please note: There are a couple of upsetting images to follow.)

Just 12 days ago, on Dec. 14, 2013, a street dog known as Tony arrived at Animal Aid Unlimited in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India barely holding onto life, with a huge gash on his face and one leg severed to the bone.

To many, he would have been considered a “hopeless case,” Claire Abrams of Animal Aid Unlimited tells OGP, but “we knew better,” she said.

“Tony needed a chance, and he needed love. Animals are incredible survivors and have stores of strength not to be underestimated,” Abrams continued.

Once Tony was picked up from the streets by an Animal Aid ambulance, he was rushed back to the animal hospital and shelter and went straight into a two-hour surgery to sew up his face and take care of his leg. The hospital ended up having to do an immediate amputation as without it, “the infection would [have] spread and it would [have been] too late to save him,” Abrams reports.

Animal Aid Unlimited

When Tony was first brought in, he was frightened and a bit aggressive, yet as he entered his recovery, something amazing started to happen.

He initially spent the day of his surgery and the following one at rest, sleeping in the sun, and barely eating except for the few bites he took from staff that tried to hand-feed him.

And then, as Abrams says, “It was the day after that when we knew he was going to survive.”

His once painful expression turned bright and he began to sit up and watch “all the activity around him.” His appetite came back, and it turned out that he wasn’t aggressive at all!

“In fact he not only wanted to be pet, he even wanted a belly rub! Tony was a gentle and loving boy who had become aggressive out of intense pain and fear. Now that he was healing he wanted to love and be loved,” Abrams said.

Animal Aid Unlimited

Tony is still in his recovery period, but according to Abrams, he has been “on the up-and-up,” getting out of his kennel, making friends, and hopping around well on his three legs.

Many have asked what caused Tony’s injuries, but that story still remains unknown. The theory is that he was run over by some sort of vehicle and then perhaps dragged with it for a while, but there is no way to confirm this.

What’s important now, however, is Tony’s recovery, and Animal Aid is doing what they can to get him healthy enough to return to his home environment.

If Tony still needs continued treatment, he will remain at Animals Aid and become a shelter dog, but if he is able to make a full recovery and those who called in his condition agree to watch out for him, he will be returned to where he was discovered in the city.

To the great surprise of many of us used to seeing strays rescued and then put up for adoption, this latter course of action is actually quite common at street animal care facilities.

While some animals stay with Animal Aid forever, such as those who are unable to survive on the streets for one reason or another, others are returned to their familiar street environments since adoptions in the city is not a viable option. This is because most homes are not large enough to care for dogs and often, as a result, they can end up tied up outside on a chain  – a life fit for no animal.

“When one sees the condition of the animals we rescue it can seem like street dogs live in the worst place on earth. But it isn’t the case at all. The injured animals we rescue are a small fraction of the population, the rest are healthy and happy and live great lives,” Abrams tells us.

And so, a life back on the street is usually much better for these animals, since locals often care for them, offering food on a daily basis and warm bedding for the winter. What’s more, Animal Aid is typically called if an animal is found sick or injured – something an increasing number of locals are doing thanks to Animals Aid outreach and educational initiatives.

Time will tell where sweet Tony will ultimately go, but in the interim, we can celebrate his rescue and wish him all the best.

To watch his recovery and see him happy again, hit “play” on the video below. But, please note: you will again see the horrendous condition Tony was found in, so viewer discretion is advised at the very beginning of the video.

If you would like to help care for Tony during his stay at Animal Aid Unlimited, you may send in a monetary gift and specify that it’s “for Tony.” Click here to learn about donation options.

Lead image source: Animals Aid Unlimited