It’s absolutely heartbreaking to think that anyone could abuse a helpless animal. The US reports nearly 1,500 cases of animal abuse every single year, but most cases are never even reported.
Across the globe, that number only continues to grow from there. One dog rescued from the Philippines knows this reality all too well.
Rescuers say 7-year-old Wacku spent five years in an animal shelter after suffering a horrific attack in 2012.
The pup was guarding his owner’s tricycle when a drunk man with a machete viciously cut off the majority of his snout.
But the resilient dog pulled through, waiting for the day that someone would open up their heart and adopt him.
After waiting those five years, American animal welfare group Road Dogs and Rescue heard Wacku’s story. Founder Nikki Carvey soon traveled 8,000 miles to bring him back to the US for adoption.
That’s when Oregon resident Liesl Wilhardt saw a video about him online and instantly fell in love.
“It wasn’t just how shocking his features are but he seems so intelligent and social and I just thought, ‘What a survivor,'” she explained.
As the director of the non-profit Luvable Dog Rescue, Liesl is no stranger to adopting pups others might shy away from based on their appearance.
Last year, the non-profit made headlines for their rescue of a 10-month-old pitbull-corgi mix named Picasso, who was born with a facial deformity that makes his snout fall to the left while his jaw goes to the right.
She knew Wacku would fit right in with Picasso and the eight other dogs that live on her 55-acre property.
“Picasso and Wacku are exceptionally calm, tolerant and social dogs and they don’t notice each other’s physical differences,” she explained. “The cool thing about dogs is that looks don’t matter. If it smells like a dog, it’s a dog.”
Wacku arrived at his forever home two weeks ago and is adjusting well to his new lease on life.
“When people see him they are literally stopped dead in their tracks. They stare and are kind of horrified,” Liesl said.
“He has lost half his face and it’s crazy at first, but he acts so normal and happy and once people get to know who he is on the inside they forget about it.
“He seems to recognise almost right away when people are good and is incredibly affectionate. He climbs into my lap and licks and kisses me, which is a really weird feeling when he has no upper face.”
Wacku’s extreme case pushed lawmakers in the Philippines to make changes to animal welfare law to include heavier fines and sentences for abusers.
“Thankfully Wacku still has his tongue after the attack,” Liesl said. “He is able to swallow and eat, it’s just very messy. And even though he’s missing his nose he sniffs and sniffs and sniffs, so maybe he can still smell. It doesn’t hold him back.”
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