**Not for the faint of heart: graphic images in video and story below.**
Sometimes, dogs make mistakes. Oftentimes, puppies make mistakes. They simply don’t understand that what they’re doing is wrong, but they usually get to learn from it. For the tiny mouse of a puppy now called Tuffy, there was no such thing as a second chance.
When Tuffy’s owner caught him chewing on a cell phone, he received scalding burns from the pot of boiling water dumped on his body. Evidently, Tuffy’s owner no longer wanted to keep him, because he or she then threw him off a fourth floor balcony to the concrete below.
He lay there for some time in agonizing pain with burns covering 60% of his body. People passed by and pretended not to see. But when a woman named Yan Ying Ying spotted the naked, blistered puppy, she knew exactly what to do.
Yan scooped him up and brought him to a local vet every single day for two weeks. She paid all of Tuffy’s medical bills, though after a while it was clear he wasn’t improving. She then made the hour journey out to Chengdu, China, to the hospital at Animals Asia (an organization known for their amazing work rescuing bears from the bear bile trade).
Founder of Animals Asia Jill Robinson had this to say upon seeing Tuffy for the first time:
When a vet tells you to prepare yourself, you know you’re going to be in for a shock. But nothing prepared me for this pathetic little form shivering on his towel in the recovery cage, after being brought to our hospital in Chengdu. A tiny naked pup, with a red raw body that looked like a huge blister, looking out at the world with the misery of an animal who couldn’t understand why he had been punished with pain.
It was a sight even these humans—who are used to witnessing horrific animal abuse—could not handle. Tuffy is something else, though. People at the sanctuary refer to his unspoken “language,” something he communicated with whimpers when someone walked in a room, or showed with the slightest desire to play with a toy. It was his will to live, and it’s the reason he’s learning to be a puppy again.
For months, Tuffy wore brightly-colored bandages into which his caretakers sometimes cut out hearts or patterns—like playing dress-up each day. Even though the little guy knew being lifted onto the exam table meant an uncomfortable bandage change, he still showed affection toward the people who helped him.
Before they knew it Tuffy was exploding with puppy energy; his skin graft was healing nicely, he was eating, and his hair was growing back, though not everywhere. It gives him character, no?
Mandala Hunter-Ishikawa, a vet at Animals Asia, spoke very highly of the woman who rescued him:
In the beginning of Tuffy’s time with us, his head was the only place you could touch him without causing pain. Ms Yan would cradle his small face in her hand and coo ‘guai guai’ (an affectionate term for good), and he would wag his bald little tail and close his eyes. Those visits lifted not only Tuffy’s spirit, but our team’s spirit as well. As we dealt with the aftermath of such cruelty, this woman gave us our hope back, hope that there are good people willing to do anything for a living being.
And thank goodness for people like Yan—without her we might not ever have known Tuffy’s story. Today, she spoils him with fuzzy coats since he’s still bald in some places, and the look of elation on his face as he plays and cuddles is nothing short of amazing.