When Hartley the pit bull mix was adopted in March of 2015, it seemed like it would be a happy ending. Hartley had been pulled from a high kill shelter in L.A. County, California, so finding a home for her was a victory.

But this victory was short-lived.

Four months later, Hartley was discovered abandoned in a field — and suffering from a severe case of demodex mange.

In those four short months, the demodex mange had turned into a yeast and bacterial infection, and covered Hartley’s entire body.

Related: This Puppy Has Healed From Mange And Now Can’t Stop Snuggling His New Family

Though mange looks scary, it’s an easily treatable condition. The adopter who let Hartley get to this terrible state was prosecuted for animal neglect.

dog with mange at vet

Hartley going to the vet after rescue. Source: Orange County Pit Bull Rescue

Luckily, an organization called Orange County Pit Bull Rescue stepped in to bring Hartley to safety and begin her journey toward healing. Christine Bonner, the President of Orange County Pit Bull Rescue, told PupJournal,

“The day I rescued Hartley, she came out of her kennel at the shelter and said Let’s Go! Once outside the shelter walls, she stopped to give us so much love and affection. I was literally covered in her blood because her poor body was a bloody, crusty, puss filled mess but her heart was filled with appreciation.”

Though Hartley clearly suffered during those four months, incredibly, she kept her spirits up during her initial veterinary treatments. After treatment for the mange began, slowly Hartley’s skin started to improve.

Bonner told PupJournal, “She never battled the vet hospital or her fosters when she had to endure months of medicated baths and treatments to heal her skin. She enjoyed them as if she was having a spa day every single time.”

By now, Hartley has completely healed. Bonner told PupJournal, “Today her skin is healed and her fur has grown back, she is so smooth and soft so I call her the velveteen rabbit.”

“Healing” in the fullest sense of the word, though, has taken a village. Since Orange County Pit Bull Rescue is volunteer-based, a number of foster families have stepped up to help Hartley along the way. She even spent several months living with the rescue’s resident trainer, practicing her skills to become an excellent companion!

Related: 10, Maybe 11, Pit Bulls We’ve Absolutely Stinking Loved In 2016

Bonner, who is now fostering Hartley herself, says,

“She is so loving that we joke that she would live inside of you near your heart so she could be close to you all of the time. However she is as easy peasy inside your home as they come… She rarely makes a sound, loves her daily walks, now that her skin is healed she really enjoys soaking up the sun… As her foster mom and rescuer, one of my favorite things to do at the end of every day is have my Hartley snuggle time.”

Hartley hasn’t lost her trust in humans, which is truly remarkable. Not only has she fully healed from mange, but she has also served as an ambassador for Orange County Pit Bull Rescue — most recently by accepting a donation from a local chiropractic center to help other pit bulls, in honor of National Pit Bull Awareness Month!

Bonner explains,

“Hartley forgave humans for the severe neglect they put her through and reminds us to do the same every single day…she helps us be better humans.”

Now, the only thing that would make Hartley happier would be a forever home. Bonner told PupJournal,

“I look forward to the day that her forever family feels her love from the loving looks she gives with her beautiful eyes, her deep snuggles and sincere sense of peace she will have from knowing she is finally home.”

If you think Hartley might be the dog for you, please fill out an adoption application through Orange County Pit Bull Rescue. You can also email the rescue with specific questions about Hartley.


Header images via Orange County Pit Bull Rescue

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