These Dogs Survived Some Of The Worst Things On Earth But Their Beautiful Faces Are Full Of Love

Take a close look at the faces of these dogs … this is what love looks like.

All of the dogs included in this article have seen the darkest of days, yet they are all similar in that underneath their scars, they are the gentlest, the most resilient and almost unbelievably, the most forgiving creatures on Earth.

They were rescued from dog fighting, puppy mills, backyard breeding; activities representing the dark underbelly of humans exploiting dogs for profit. These activities have left many, many victims in their wake. The dogs rescued from these circumstances bear the emotional and physical scars of abuse and neglect suffered at the hands of their so-called “caregivers”.

Although there are thousands of dogs that are victims of these enterprises throughout the world, there are many animal welfare groups and animal advocates working tirelessly to save these dogs and give them a chance at a better future.

As these 11 survivors show, dogs are incredibly resilient and forgiving when they’re given love and and a chance to heal.

This article originally appeared on and is republished on with permission.

Meet Sam (aka Bulletproof Sam)


Sam is an American Pit Bull Terrier who was fought in dog fighting for most of his life. Somehow he managed to survive. His face bears the scars of his hard-won survival. When Sam was rescued from an underground cage, he was missing most of his teeth and his face was badly torn up. Despite years of fighting, Sam’s rescuers were amazed at how gentle he was. He was nicknamed “Bulletproof Sam” because he had survived years of horror, yet only wanted to be loved.

He went to The Hello Bully Halfway House to recover and a year later he was adopted into a wonderful family where he is spoiled and loved. Read more about Sam here.

Meet Oogy


Oogy was used as a bait dog in dog fighting when he was just a puppy. He was found in a cage without food or water. The Dogo Argentino was missing an ear and had scars riddling his face. He had been left in the cage for at least a week before he was rescued by police. It was a miracle that he survived. Oogy found his forever family purely by chance. The Levin family were visiting the vet hospital where he was being cared for. When Oogy spotted one of the Levin children he bounded over to the child and smothered him with kisses. From that day forward Oogy had a family. Read more about Oogy here.

Meet Rosie


Rosie was saved from a backyard breeder and animal hoarder. The little Chihuahua had just about every congenital birth defect one dog could have – poor vision, compromised immune system, scoliosis, fused leg bones, malformed jaw and teeth, and more. She had never seen sunshine, received medical care or seen anything outside the dark, filthy, crowded home where she had survived for two years until she was finally rescued. But this extraordinary little dog loved her freedom. Once she got over her initial fear, she enjoyed each and every day in the loving care of Cinnamon Muhlbauer. Rosie passed away a little over a year after her rescue, but her legacy lives on. Her story will continue to help raise awareness about backyard breeding and animal hoarding. Read more about Rosie here.

Meet Jonny Justice

Jonny Justice

Jonny Justice is a survivor of the notorious Bad Newz Kennels, which was owned by Michael Vick. Jonny was one of several dogs Bad Rap Rescue took in who some said were “unredeemable”. When Jonny went into foster care with Cris Cohen he had never lived in a home. He was terrified of the outside world and had difficulty walking because he his paw pads were raw from living inside a concrete kennel. With much love and patience, Jonny gradually got better. Noticing that he lit up around kids, Cris began training Jonny to become a Reading Assistance Dog. He passed his certification with flying colors and he now encourages kids to read. He even inspired his own stuffed toy from Gund. Cris said that Jonny teaches “Forgiveness” and added, “It’s absolutely heartwarming to see that good won over ignorance.”

Meet Penny (and Nickel too)


Penny was thrown from a moving car and fell in front of an animal hospital close by. She was emaciated, covered with infected scars and had wounds all over her face. She also had congestive heart failure from untreated heartworms. Suspected of being used in dogfighting, she was taken in by Hearts of Gold Pit Rescue in Memphis, Tennessee. As luck would have it, a family in St. Louis saw her photo and wanted to adopt her right away. It was a big adjustment for Penny and a big one for her family too. But the biggest surprise came when she unexpectedly gave birth to a puppy. The baby girl was named Nickel. Sadly, Penny has since passed away from heart failure, but she knew love in her last months, and her puppy has a bright future ahead of her thanks to her rescue. Read more about Penny and Nickel here.

Meet Billy


Billy the Chihuahua grew up at a North Carolina puppy mill. He had been living in a cramped cage in terrible conditions for years when Adam Parascandola with the Humane Society of the United States caught sight of him. The tiny dog was emaciated and had many health problems, including missing part of his lower jaw as a result of untreated periodontal disease from not receiving any medical attention.

“All of the dogs that we get out of these rescues efforts, they want and need love and attention,” Adam said. “But when I got this little guy out, he laid his head on my shoulder, and at that moment I felt responsible for him. And I felt responsible for making sure he was never going to have to suffer like that again.” Adam adopted Billy and Billy knew love and human affection for a short time. Sadly, Billy passed away a few weeks later from health complications, but Adam hopes Billy’s legacy of bringing attention to the dogs still suffering in puppy mills lives on. Read more about Billy here.

Meet Marcus


Marcus is like many victims of dog fighting being saved daily by rescues all over the US. He was probably used as a bait dog in a street fight. He was badly bitten when he was rescued by Coastal German Shepherd Rescue.


But the young Pit Bull Terrier didn’t hold a grudge and has lots of love to give. He gets along with other dogs, adores people and is a smart, energetic, curious dog looking for a home! Read more about Marcus here.

Meet Otto


Sweet Otto wandered onto a property urgently needing medical attention. He had been tortured so badly that he would not have survived if he had not been rescued. His nose was completely gone, the inside of his mouth was mangled and his upper lip had been split and torn up multiple times from dog bites. He needed extensive surgeries to restore his face and mouth, but he needed even more extensive training and socialization to restore his well being. After several years under the loving care of Noah’s Ark Rescue, they have discovered what makes Otto happy. And it is very simple. A peaceful place to rest and relax outdoors where he can see what’s going on, no dogs, and a cozy bed inside at night. Otto is looking for the right family to come along. Learn more about Otto here.

Meet Mama Jade


Mama Jade wandered onto a porch with fresh bite marks on her muzzle and body and exposed pink and purple marks around her neck where rope had burned her skin. Her teeth had been pulled out and filed down so she couldn’t fight back when used as a bait dog. She had also been used to breed over and over again. The vet technician caring for her wrote an impassioned letter against her abusers. The broken soul loved getting attention from her rescuers and gave them slobbery kisses whenever she could. She was originally going to be humanely put down, but instead she was adopted by the very same vet tech who took care of her.

Mama Jade has come a long way since then, but was recently diagnosed with untreatable cancer. Mama Jade’s human wrote, “Her tail still wags, she runs around and soaks up love from all the kids in her neighborhood. When her time comes, she will go peacefully but it’s hard to say when that will be. Our sweet girl hasn’t been able to catch a break it seems, but then I remember the first night she walked into my life,” Christianna, Mama Jade’s guardian, wrote. “She’s come so far and because of her suffering, countless lives have been saved and I like to think the stigma placed on the Pit Bull breed has been lessened somewhat. This old girl has given me purpose and she’s given a voice to the voiceless. We will never stop fighting for her and others like her.” Read more about Mama Jade here.

Meet Phoenix


Most likely used in dog fighting, Phoenix had been wandering in a Chicago neighborhood for around a month before Recycled Pits was called and police picked him up. Missing an ear, with a ripped lip and a body covered with old and new scars, Phoenix’s body told a story of trauma and pain. He’s had months of rehabilitation and is responding well to the love and attention he’s getting. He’s great with people, kids and remarkably, with other dogs. “With love and structure, this guy will continue to blossom,” said Stana Emmerson of Recycled Pits. Read more about Phoenix here.

Meet Lucy


Lucy is an American Staffordshire Terrier who endured unimaginable hardship when she was found on the streets of Columbia several years ago. She appears to have been used as a bait dog and breeding dog for dog fighters. When she was found she was starving and had a badly broken jaw and nose. She eventually made her way to Stray from the Heart in the US. Lucy had a long process of physical and emotional recovery, but eventually her journey back to health lead her to a wonderful family. Read more about Lucy here.


These rescued dogs put a face to the many dogs still suffering as result of dog fighting, backyard breeding and hoarding. If you or someone you know sees signs that suggest any of these activities in your neighborhood, immediately report the property to animal control, local law enforcement, or to an animal rescue organization in your area. There are also animal welfare organizations that directly investigate these activities nationally and work with law enforcement agencies, such as the ASPCA, Animal Rescue Corps, and the Humane Society of the United States.

This article originally appeared on and is republished on with permission.

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