In December 2016, 78 dogs were rescued from an extreme hoarding situation that San Diego Humane Society called one of the worst they’d ever seen. The dogs had been living in filthy conditions and many were never allowed outside. They lacked social skills, and many were fearful from a lack of positive experiences.
Lucy, a 2-year-old Chihuahua and dachshund mix, was covered in scabs and fleas when she was rescued. Her skin was inflamed, and she was missing large patches of fur near her tail and eyes. She had given birth to possibly multiple litters.
As San Diego Humane Society staff began nursing the dogs back to health, they documented Lucy’s journey to recovery on sdhumane.org.
Melissa Deleon, who’d previously adopted a Labrador mix named Lily, had been following the story in the news and on social media. When she saw Lucy’s huge brown eyes and sweet face, it was love at first sight.
Deleon was overjoyed when she was chosen to adopt Lucy, but the first few weeks were difficult. Lucy was timid. She was frightened of the leash, and would run away when she saw it.
With the love and patience of her new family, Lucy has come out of her shell. Now she loves to go for walks around town. She’s playful, spunky and demanding, and gets along well with new big sister Lily.
Deleon hopes more people will choose to adopt rather than shop for pets. While rescue dogs may present a challenge at first, her message is this: Hang in there.
“These two rescue dogs have enriched my life immensely,” she says. “It’s just worth it—all the time, work, energy and money you put in—because the love comes back twofold.”
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