A pup who had half her face torn off after being “used as bait” in dog fighting has been given a new lease of life after finding her loving forever home.
Haddie, who is known as ‘Pirate dog’ on social media, was constantly attacked by dangerous fighting dogs in an illegal operation.
She was severely injured, with her skin left ‘rotting’ and falling off her face, much of it needed to be removed and leaving her with one eye.
Her unusual appearance won over the heart of Erin Williams, 36, with the pair now living a safe and happy life together in Washington DC
The brave pooch has also overcome her fear of other dogs and now loves running about with her canine friends in the local park, the Mirror reports.
“She’s become a real dog’s dog, which warms my heart,” Erin told The Mirror.
Erin found Haddie on an online pet website, petfinder.com, in August 2020 – and couldn’t stop thinking about her.
Haddie was rescued from a dog fighting operation by a good Samaritan and taken to Mutt Scouts in South California.
The two-year-old pup has injuries all over her body, but the worst of it was on her face.
A doctor pinned her injuries and temperament down to her being used as a “bait dog.”
“We don’t know much about her exact experience in that world, but it would likely have involved the dog fighters forcing their ‘fighting dogs’ to attack her slowly to ‘train’,” Erin explained.
“All the dogs in these situations are victims.”
After Mutt Scouts matched Erin and Haddie together, the pair became inseparable and transformed each other’s lives.
Erin didn’t know Haddie’s original birth date, so she decided to make up her own – and chose Dolly Parton’s birthday on January 19.
Erin described Haddie as “sweet and goofy” at the start, but said she was utterly terrified of other dogs.
Hearing a dog’s bark or spotting another canine was enough to make her body uncontrollably shake.
To help Haddie overcome her deep-rooted fears, Erin enlisted a dog trainer.
“We would feed her hot dogs and introduce her to a dog across the park, then get a little closer and closer, until finally she associated dogs with safety and treats,” she explained.
“I think her personality made it possible in the end. She is incredibly smart and resilient, which I know helped the process.”
Haddie now loves running around with other dogs in her local park, and does a “funny little hop” when she’s excited to go outside.
“She is a social butterfly. She loves people and expects everyone to give her ear scratches,” Erin said.
Whenever Haddie leaves the house, she has to wear medicated sunscreen on her snout and scars – but aside from that, she’s just like any other dog, albeit a little different looking.
Naturally, the unique pup gets some stars and questions from strangers, but luckily Erin says comments aren’t as bad as she initially worried.
“Most people react very kindly and friendly. Her joy for life is so obvious that it would be hard not to be,” Erin explained.
“We get the occasional rude comment or uneasy look, but they’re thankfully few and far between.
“And those people don’t get to know her, so it’s their loss.”
The one-of-a-kind dog has also transformed Erin’s life and helped her cope with depression.
“Haddie is always there to remind me it’s time to get out of the house for a walk, and she’s always up for a free afternoon of napping,” Erin said.
Erin has created Instagram and TikTok accounts for Haddie, and says her followers have shown her just how “unbelievably kind the world can be.”
“The people I connect with there are supportive and thoughtful, and I’m so grateful,” Erin said.
Haddie reminds her owner to enjoy the little things in life, like a nap, a treat and a comfy place to sit in the sun.
“Just being safe and loved is enough to be happy,” Erin explained.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.