If I’m ever in need of a good cry and don’t have any onions nearby, photos of rescue dogs are the next best way to get the waterworks going. There’s something about the sweet faces of these loving animals that just goes straight to my heartstrings—anyone who remembers those brutal ASPCA ads featuring Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” knows exactly what I’m talking about.
But these tales of cruelty can have wonderfully happy endings. Bored Panda has collected more than 100 photos of abused and starving rescue dogs who have made miraculous recoveries, with the help of some loving humans. Here are 12 of the most amazing transformations.
Firefighter Bill Lindler saved Jake from a fire that left the 3-week-old pup with burns over more than 75 percent of his body, including his paw pads. Jake’s owners then abandoned him when they couldn’t afford to pay his vet bills.
Luckily, Lindler stepped in to give the lovable pit bull a home. With the love and care of the local fire department, Jake recovered and became an official member of the firefighting team. He now visits local schools to help teach kids about fire safety and what to do in emergency situations.
When a good Samaritan found Kelsey, she was starving and infected with parasites that ate away at her skin. He somehow convinced the scared dog to get in his car then took her straight to the emergency vet, where a medical team worked around the clock to help her recover.
After just a few short months, the happy, healthy pup is nearly unrecognizable under her shiny new coat.
Emaciated Alex was barely surviving by eating twigs and rocks when he arrived at the Southern Animal Foundation in New Orleans. By the time he was adopted, though, he was all smiles.
Sweet Coconut was close to starving to death when a generous human decided to give him a forever home. Imgur user Hippyandcarrots posted these photos showing Coconut’s transformation from skin and bones to happy sunbather in just three months.
When rescuers found Cedar near a golf course, he had lost all his hair from stress and had bones poking through his skin.
With plenty of TLC from the people at Paaws Antigua, he’s furry once again and has a brand new smile.
In 2013, a kind vet rescued Max, who was suffering from severe neglect, mange, a skin infection and multiple bite wounds.
Five months later, the beautiful shepherd was happy, healthy and adopted!
This 5-year-old stray living on the streets near Athens, Greece, was so sick from mange that she looked like she was made of stone. She was terrified of humans and ran away from rescuers every time they tried to approach her. Finally a local rescue organization managed to catch her and take her to get the treatment she desperately needed. They named her Petra, which means “stone” in Greek.
“I don’t think she had ever been touched by a human before. Not even approached actually,” said a staff member at the rescue organization Save a Greek Stray. After a few months, she learned to trust people enough to let them pet her—and even begged for belly rubs!
Imgur user Commielunchbox and his wife saw Mila in a Facebook post asking someone to save the tiny pup from the pound. The 3-month-old puppy was suffering from pneumonia, a skin infection and mange over most of her body. On her first night home, they spent six hours at the emergency vet, unsure she would survive the night.
Mila spent a month on antibiotics and lost most of her fur, but six months later, she’s the picture of health.
Augustus was found sick, scabby and covered in mange in May 2015.
Four months later, after treatment that included plenty of coconut oil rubs, and finding a loving home, the beautiful collie is enjoying his poolside views.
Chance is quite the international traveler. Once starving and forced to forage for scraps on the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal, he caught the eye of a compassionate volunteer who brought him to a sanctuary. A friend of the volunteer fell in love with Chance and brought him to his new home in West Virginia.
Maggie the Lab has come a long way. Once so skinny that her ribs were visible through her skin, she quickly gained weight and grew into a healthy girl. According to her new family, she still eats too fast, but at least she never has to worry about where her next meal is coming from.
Barilla arrived at the Albergue de Animales rescue center in Granada, Spain, so sick from starvation that her bones were sticking out of her skin and her organs were dangerously close to failure.
“I’ve never seen an animal in such a terrible state as Barilla,” rescue owner Eduardo Rodríguez told the Daily Mail. She was so weak that she couldn’t even stand up, but Rodríguez was determined to save her.
After seven weeks of treatment, Barilla looked like a different dog. Now, Rodríguez says, the two are “inseparable.”
[h/t: Bored Panda]