The Story of Hooch

Hooch is a French Mastiff who suffered unthinkable brutality; this is the story of his recovery.


Hooch is a French Mastiff who suffered unthinkable brutality; this is the uplifting story of his recovery.

Hooch was rescued from euthanasia at the shelter by the rescue group Marley’s Mutts of Bakersfield, California.  His ears had been cut off, but that was not the extent of the cruelty shown to him. At the vet, Hooch’s rescuers discovered he had been the victim of a terrible act of cruelty, and it was determined that he must have been used as a bait dog in a dog fighting operation. He also had pneumonia, which cleared up quickly after treatment.

He needed special care to help him compensate for his lack of a tongue, and for the tongue’s importance as a dog’s cooling mechanism.

With lots of tender loving care, a year later Hooch is happy and, as his rescuers say, he is now the dog he always should have been.

Hooch’s story received widespread coverage in the news in August of 2013, and we covered it here at Life With Dogs.  You may recall seeing photos of Hooch sitting up in a high chair to eat after his rescue. Today’s post features a new video made by Marley’s Mutts that celebrates Hooch’s recovery year.

Marely’s Mutts wrote about Hooch as he was at the time of his rescue in a post at Tumblr some time ago, saying:

“Hooch came to Marley’s Mutts from Kern County’s shelter, where he miraculously survived for nearly a month with no tongue. Because this is a “trait” that would never enter into any normal human being’s consciousness (since no one is looking for such a horrific thing as part of a dog’s physical being), no one noticed this was the case with Hooch. When a bowl of food or water was set in front of him, he would thrash it all over the place, earning him the reputation of being kind of food and water “crazed”. In reality, he wasn’t ingesting much of anything, unless completely by default.

“Amazingly, even though he had dropped to a shocking 52 pounds, when a normal weight for a French Mastiff is up around twice that – he survived. And then we plucked him from the shelter, and his life dramatically improved immediately as he began life anew in the care of Marley’s Mutts and the Mutt Militia! Once at San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital in the very capable hands of our girl Andrea Bertolucci and her team of techs, the gruesome truth was discovered: Hooch had had his ears butchered and his tongue sliced completely off at the base. The dog has NO TONGUE. No way of regulating his body temperature. No normal mechanism for eating – including the various parts of that whole process: pushing the food back toward the throat, chewing, swallowing. No way to hydrate.”

Hooch’s caregivers were able to help him to overcome his physical issues and limitations, and they have successfully healed his spirit.

Not only has Hooch healed, he now helps autistic children and others.. (You can see him at work in a brief segment of the video below.)

Marley’s Mutts celebrated Hooch’s recovery year at Facebook on September 24, posting the photo at the top of this post and writing: “Hooch is the definition of TRIUMPHANT! We rescued him just over a year ago after he’d had his tongue and ear cut off. He has gained double his weight, learned how to drink on his own and how to eat from our hands . Since pulling him from the shelter, he has gone on to serve as an eloquent ambassador; but he does his communicating with actions. He is a regular at the Valley Achievement Center for autistic youth, the Bakersfield Library Barks and Books program and countless other ventures to help people learn from his grace and will to overcome. He is an adapter, a lover, a liver and an example to all of us to keep going regardless of what our past is. He is, quite simply, a TRIUMPH! ”

We covered Hooch’s story in two posts in 2013. You can see them HERE.

Watch The Story of Hooch as a recovered survivor:


Hooch recently helped Marley’s Mutts founder Zack Skow with a slobbery drool bbcket version of the ice bucket challenge:



Hooch poses with his likeness, as done by his teenaged friend Grace Juanese.
Hooch poses with his likeness, as done by his teenaged friend Grace Juanese.


Hooch poses with some of his Marley's Mutts pals in a recent photo
Hooch poses with some of his Marley’s Mutts pals in a recent photo

110 thoughts on “The Story of Hooch

    1. totally agree. Hope someone gets hold of the person responsible for torturing this poor dog. I wish the very very worst of everything for this sicko.

  1. Jesus Ramirez, there is a brace that may be able to help Cabo, I know of someone who has used it on her dogs for the same reasons and it worked great, just takes time, may be worth a look…

  2. Makes you wonder what classes as pleasure for these sick people. Thankfully
    Hooch was found in time but how many more have to suffer at the hands of these mindless people who have no conscience? Glad hooch was the lucky one.

  3. I could live to be 100 and NEVER understand how anyone could be so cruel to an animal. Thanks God Hooch was found by such kind people.

  4. God I pray that the sadistic abuser of this poor animal suffer a hideously painful enduring end, God bless you Hooch and ur rescuers

  5. I believe in eternal Hell for those sick psychos..I also believe in eternal Heaven for his wonderful rescuers..Thank you

  6. Follow Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue!!!! You can see Hooch in action, see how he eats without a tongue! See all the amazing dogs they help!!!!

  7. Hooch is a brave animal who had overcome the worst kind of abuse. I pray for Hooch to continue his recovery. I also hope the abusers feel the same kind of pain at some point in their life.

  8. Firstly what a beautiful and brave boy you are, secondly I cannot imagine why any one would do this. I apologise for the human race. You deserve so much better than what has happened to you. Live a long and happy life. xx

  9. Hooch is a handsome boy with beautiful eyes. I hope someone catches the perpetrator of this disgusting treatment of an innocent dog, particularly when he’s alone one night – and metes out a VERY suitable punishment. May Hooch be loved, and have a beautiful and long life being thoroughly spoiled.

  10. a beautiful story but so sad in that .. how the hell can someone do this to an animal .. what is wrong with people!! To those who have helped Hooch … thank you is not enough. God bless you all. This gorgeous puppy deserved the chance to be happy .. and you gave him that xx

  11. People that commit these atrocities to animals should be killed, they’re no good to society. Absolutely no reason they should breathe our air.

  12. Who are these monsters…and if we can’t find they will continue to do this …this is not acceptable…

  13. Did you guys every find those bastards who did this???? I almost got a heart attack when I read that his tongue was cut out!!!!!!! WHO DOES THIS????? Humans are the worst of the worst……..

  14. oh my, you sweet, precious boy. I am so sorry for what was done to you, but, you have proven the spirit can overcome. I wish you love and warmth and happiness for all of your days. You are an inspiration!!! <3


  16. May these monsters that did this to this wonderful dog .. I was gonna say rot in Hell but actually Hell would be to good for them !!

  17. We have 2 pit bulls that were horribly abused and they are both sweet, loving, funny, beautiful dogs! Goes to show that animals are better than people. They have the heart to forgive, move forward and accept love. We should all take a lesson from these beautiful creatures! We send our loving thoughst to Hooch and all of those critters that suffer at the hands of humans! It makes me embarrassed to be part of the human race!

  18. I can’t fathom how anyone could even consider cruelty to an innocent animal, let alone to this level! I was going to say they need to be locked up but they’d probably be treated too well for what they deserve in jail 🙁

  19. Hooch looks like such a sweet heart!! They need to cut the tongue out of the piece of shit that did that to hooch and then leave him in a pit of rabid dogs.

  20. Awwwww breaks my heart to know there are absolute mongrels out there that would do this to such a beautiful boy

  21. How horrible. What’s the status of finding the perps? They need to be prosecuted then hung after being drawn and quartered! These people just move up the line from sweet dogs to Humans. Go check the prisons!! Horrible, Horrible!!

  22. Thank God Hooch is now well cared for and loved. I can’t even imagine how horrific and painful that was for the poor baby. WHO would do something like this ??? Horrible !!

  23. So sorry for what he has gone through but happy that he is now with someone who loves him and taking care of him.

  24. Hooch!! God bless you !! The people who did this too you God has a place for them!! Your so loved now! These stories sadden me so but with you wonderful rescuers !! Thank you!’

  25. How lovely and bless you for saving Hooch. Hope something is being done to catch these scum bags who get their kicks from watching dogs fight. Karima

  26. Thank God this baby had the will to live! I just don’t understand how people can be so cruel to an innocent animal! We are suppose to take care of and protect them, NOT hurt or harm them!

  27. Jennifer Victoria Wasserman Made me sob like a baby! I wish I could wave a magic wand and make all the madness stop.

  28. I am going to take life with dogs off my facebook because it just breaks my heart and makes me furious that any living creature could by treated like this.

  29. We have kept our story under the radar so as not to see other dogs go through this. History shows that there can be a snowball effect. I also rescued a purebred Staffordshire Bull Terrier that I named Trooper, from a shelter in the same area, with the same issue. I had discussed this with hooch’s rescuer at the time. I was shocked thinking that Trooper had rotten teeth and was a victim of neglect, when we discovered the third time going into his mouth that he had no tongue as well. One of his ears is halfway gone, he has scars around his face, again leading us to believe he was possibly a bait dog, he had a tie out embedded mark on one leg. Here he is, almost one year later, he eats & drinks on his own, plays with toys chews on nylabones, loves his housemates, and is the most loving, defenseless, and devoted creature I have ever met…Trooper is unstoppable.

  30. Love the name. Totally filled the Dogue de Bordeaux Breed in Turner and Hooch! He is beautiful!! Stay a fighter Hooch!!

  31. There are some sick, cruel people out in the world!!! I am so glad he has been rescued & is living his life surrounded with love now!

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