Homeless dog fights ticks: A touching story of hope and resilience.
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Homeless dog fights ticks: A touching story of hope and resilience.

This is Belle. Back in September, animal-rescue workers in Johannesburg, South Africa, spotted her walking the streets in a terrible state.

You can see that little white lumps cover her ears and eyes. That are all ticks. It would take a heart of stone not to feel for this unfortunate critter, who is fully carpeted in the blood-sucking insects.

There are so many that she almost appears to have mange or another skin ailment, but the “rash” is merely a thick coating of swollen ticks.

They cluster around her ears and eyelids, where the skin is thin and blood vessels are numerous. The ticks had drained Belle of so much blood that she was practically anemic, barely able to walk.

These photographs are really hard to look at, especially for dog lovers, but they accomplish the vital work of exposing what dogs truly go through when they are left on their own.

CLAW, the organization that found Belle, couldn’t even remove most of the ticks immediately away because of the blood loss She would incur from getting them all out at once. Instead, they had to merely treat her and wait for the ticks to fall off.

But despite the sorrow of seeing Belle in so much pain, the treatment succeeded. All of the ticks came off, and Belle finally began to heal.

She’ll probably always have some scars, though she doesn’t seem to mind one bit. Now she’s a gorgeous, joyful girl with a lustrous coat of fur.

The patches she lost to the ticks and the scarring are filling back in, and more significantly, she’s so much more content.

Best of all, happy Belle has even found a forever home with her gorgeous human, Hannah.

According to the CLAW Facebook page: “Belle quite literally grabbed Hannah’s heart within seconds of them meeting, and it has been a match made in heaven. Belle landed her bum in the butter and hasn’t looked back, improving daily!”

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