13 Shelter Dog Transformations That Will Make You Believe in Miracles

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

February 12, 2015

As Bark & Co’s Social Good manager, The Trio Animal Foundation made its way across my desk when they applied for a $1k BarkFund. After a few clicks, my eyes were welling with tears, my heart hurt from being so rushed with gratitude.

The work they do hits extra close to home for me. You see, I adopted a dog about a year ago – he was fourteen pounds, and based on his health, the city shelter listed him as a year-and-a-half-old. It was love at first sight. He was also small enough to take to work everyday – he could fit into a bag and travel with me on the subway.
Shelter Dog Transformation #1: Eugene

Four months and forty pounds later, it seems that this scrawny malnourished guy was *actually* only six months old when I got him. He now looks like a different being all together. Eugene has too much energy, he has neighborhood friends, he stands upright (something I was told would never happen). He’s too big for the subway, and still growing!

Trio Animal Foundation is a charitable organization that assists shelters, rescues and individuals by paying the medical bills of homeless pets. Pups like Eugene that need someone to take a chance on them – and with some expert care and TLC, the transformations are extraordinary. And it all started with one little pup named Trio:

2. Trio the Tripod
When Trio was only four weeks old, she had her back leg bit off when she was used for bait in a dogfight. She was tiny enough to fit in a shoebox and was given a 10% chance of survival.

Destined to be the inspiration for overcoming the impawsible, Trio miraculously recovered and was taken in by Sue, the founder of the Trio Animal Foundation. For the next ten years Trio went on to care for sick and injured foster dogs that came into Sue’s home until Trio’s passing in November 2011.

3. From Hippo to Healthy
This is the pup that got me going. This is the only time crying at work is acceptable. Ha!


Hippo was about 12 weeks old in these just-out-of-the-shelter pics. She had a horrible case of mange, her ears had  been cut and she had a respiratory infection. “She is absolutely miserable.”, Sue from Trio Animal Foundation commented.


And here is Hippo now, a stocky, furry, 6 month old brickhouse! Her fosters can barely keep up with this antler-chewin’, Kong-lovin’, trouble makin’ Tom-girl of a pup!

4. Hudson, the Heroic, now Handsome Pittie
Hudson was found covered in blood walking down a sidewalk in the crime-ridden Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. When Sue went to assess his dire situation at the shelter, he was heavily sedated but still sat up to greet her and even through all the pain, she could hear a faint whimpering and the gentle swoosh of his tail hitting the back of the cage.



This is not an easy photo to look at, however, I couldn’t even bring myself to show you the first intake photos of Hudson. This is a photo from mid-recovery.

With a lot of care from Hudson’s vets, nurses, Trio Animal Foundation and his foster parents (seen above), he started to blossom and doing puppy things like a puppy should.

Hudson’s foster family fell in love with this special boy, they “put a leash on it” and became Hudson’s official new parents! Now Hudson is like any other young pup, full of life, loved to pieces and his new parents report his is a true “wigglebutt”.

5. Eleanor the Dumpster Survivor– Not Diver
One day when a man was throwing out his trash in a closed garbage can in Chicago, he found Eleanor inside. Somebody had to have dropped her in there because there is no way that she could have made it into such a high and sturdy trash bin on her own.

To make things worse, this little lady was underweight, dehydrated, and had recently given birth to puppies because her milk ducts were engorged and infected. While at the vet, Eleanor took a turn for the worse and had to go in for emergency surgery. After surgery with the help of IV pain meds, fluids, and antibiotics, Eleanor made a full recovery.

Today, thanks to TAF, Eleanor is in the perfect forever home with a loving mum who cherishes her.
6. Mocha’s Healing Scars
When Mocha first came to TAF’s attention, she was tied to a fence with a note pinned to her collar that simply said, “Mocha = can’t afford.” She had fresh + infected + scarred wounds running down her back so she was hospitalized while she recovered from it all. After TAF gained Mocha’s trust, she flourished and was adopted by a family that loves her unconditionally. While the scars on her back will never go away, her emotional scars have disappeared and love fills this furry lady’s heart.

7. Squish’s Squishy New Life
This lady pittie came to the attention of TAF when they noticed her sitting in the corner of her shelter cage with a ghost-like appearance and blank, haunting gaze. As the weeks went on in the shelter, this lady became thinner and thinner and by week 10, her life was coming to a close. This 1.5-year-old green-eyed baby girl was about to slip through the cracks and become just another horrible statistic. But then Project Rescue Chicago stepped in with TAF Animal Foundation and worked to get this pup the medical attention she needed to save her life. It was at this time that Tag #293 earned the name “Squish” because of her soft squishy muzzle and face.

While recovering, Squish grew out of the shell-shocked pup that she was– sleeping for 6 days straight. One day when Squish was being walked on the sidewalk, her future dad happened to be riding his bike down the street. After some questions and conversations, the rest is history. Squish’s new dad recently commented, “I feel like I hit the dog lottery.”


8. Gramps the ElderPup
This once matted and dirty senior had little to no chance of leaving the shelter due to his age and a knee injury that required surgery. But TAF + Project Rescue Chicago couldn’t get this pup out of their minds and worked together to raise the funds and spread the word about this little fella. Today he’s in an amazing home with a ruving family. <3

9. Mistletoe the Kissable
This abused puppy came into TAF’s care after she was brought into an open-access shelter suffering from severe eye trauma and infection. Little Mistletoe had pus dripping from her eye socket when her twisted necrotic eye would pop in and out of place. Once out of surgery, Mistletoe went into a wonderful foster home that cared for her until she was ready to be spayed, vaccinated, microchipped, and have her face staples removed. While recovering from this second surgery, a friend of Mistletoe’s foster family fell in love with her and it was decided that this was a wonderful match and would be the perfect forever home.

10. Puggy the Irresistable
This pup’s survival story is nothing short of a miracle. When Puggy first came to TAF’s attention, was a physical and medical mess. His skin had sunk in between his ribs, some of his teeth were worn down to the gums, his fur was stained yellow from urine, he was lethargic, had severe green discharge from his nose and it was thought that he could possibly have both female and male reproductive organs since his nipples were the size of grapes.

As the vets began to help him recover with surgeries, x-rays, and the whole shebang– they realized that Puggy had heartworms and maybe even a cancerous tumor. But despite all of this, one family came forward to adopt this pup-in-need and were willing to take this fella in if it meant they could give him a few extra months to live. In the end, Puggy’s tumor turned out to be benign and the vets were able to get rid of his heartworms. <3
11. Birdie Beats the Odds
When TAF first found Birdie, she had one of the worst cases of mange the organization had ever seen. She was swollen from the tips of her toes to the lids of her eyes. The parts of her body, that were once covered by fur, were now lined with hard callouses that she was desperately trying to chew off. The infestation of mites had ravaged her skin so badly that with every movement her flesh would crack and bleed.

After a month of daily treatments, Birdie was healthy enough to be spayed and vaccinated. This playful puppy found a forever home and now you can barely tell that she ever had anything wrong with her. <3
12. Filly’s Fight
Filly’s story begins when she was spotted on the side of a road by a police officer. When people arrived to rescue her, she was hiding in a discarded car tire. Consumed by fear, Filly made one last-ditch effort to escape and hid under the car of one of her rescuers. When TAF met this pup, they couldn’t help but notice how much she looked like a newborn foal. Her long lanky legs could barely support her weight as she wobbled when she attempted to move. Because of this and the upcoming Kentucky Derby, they decided to name her Filly.

After 2.5 months of rehabilitation, sweet Filly found a home with a mom who adores her.
13. BlueBelle the Beloved
When Trio the dog died in November 2011, Sue, the founder of the TAF organization, wanted to save another injured female pit bull in TAF’s memory. When Sue walked through the medical ward of a shelter, she came across an emaciated female pit bull with extensive damage to her back leg. There was pus and necrotic tissue on the leg– and if Bluebelle hadn’t been so emaciated, she would have had her leg amputated to prevent the further spread of gangrene and infection.

For the weeks to follow, Bluebelle was hospitalized on IV fluids, hardcore antibiotics and painkillers. During this time, the dead skin and necrotic tissue in and around her wound was cut away and the wound was flushed out. With top-notch medical care, many prayers, and good thoughts from Bluebelle’s followers, this beautiful girl made a miraculous recovery and was able to keep her leg. Today she has a wonderful forever home and is helping to preserve the memory of a special three-legged dog that was the inspiration for the Trio Animal Foundation.


Want to find a way to support this incredible foundation? Donate here or use + spread this code that will get you $5 off a BarkBox subscription and we’ll donate $15 to TAF each time it’s used.


Code: TRI10BBX1

And be sure to check out their website and follow the Trio Animal Foundation Facebook page! <3

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

February 12, 2015

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