A neglected dog whose skin condition led locals in Macedonia to believe he was "spreading disease" has since transformed into a healthy, majestic canine.
Louie, a former stray, was skeletal and hairless, with red and raw skin due to a skin condition known as mange, which is fairly common in stray dogs living outside. The animal was badly mistreated because of his appearance, the Metro reports. He was even beaten by some residents of the remote North Macedonian village.
Fortunately, Louie was rescued by Saving Macedonian Strays (SMS), although at the time, the organisation didn’t think he would survive long enough to find a new family. Despite the odds, the neglected pooch made a significant recovery under the care of SMS.
The North Macedonian charity then contacted Elizabeth Bell, head of the Penny Jones Animal Hospice in Cumbria, England.
Bell travelled to Macedonia immediately, and offered to help find the dog a new family in the UK.Meet the dedicated dog owner who refuses to give up his pet after it nearly killed him:
"When he was rescued I thought he would really struggle to find a home so I offered to give him a home whatever happened," she told Metro.co.uk. "He had no hair and looked terrible. Now he’s a bear of a dog. He was very shy but he just changed instantly into a big playful puppy. A big gentle giant of a dog."
Bell praises the other dogs at the hospice for their role in Louie's rehabilitation. "I’d just put him with other friendly dogs. Happy dogs help traumatised dogs more than we can help them," she said. "He settled well and quite soon found a home."
"Every so often a dog comes into our lives and the images of what we find will haunt us. We rescued Louie with his friend Lenny in 2017," added Julie Matthews from SMS. "They were two of our saddest rescues. They lived in a remote village in Macedonia where local people would beat them because they thought they were monsters and were spreading disease."This is the horrific moment a woman finds a terrified dog after an attempted drowning by a cruel abuser:
"We were told not to get our hopes up because they were so very poorly and unlikely to survive but we did not give up hope. Sadly Lenny didn’t make it but Louie, who is now called Ben, against all odds, not only survived but flourished and found the most wonderful home in Scotland. Our rescuer in Macedonia, Monika, was finally able to see him again and couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Louie now has the most beautiful coat and weighs 50kg. He is a truly majestic gentle giant."