If you had seen Violet at the time of her rescue in December of 2016, the first thing you’d probably have noticed would have been the MASSIVE chain she was tethered with. It was absolutely huge, and literally locked to her with a padlock. A woman driving by the property happened to notice Violet and five other dogs chained up on the property, too; the woman knew she had to help.
The land that Violet was on is in Miguel County, New Mexico where it’s actually illegal to chain up a dog without the owner being present. The woman called the Animal Welfare Coalition of Northeastern New Mexico and the county sheriff. Eventually, all of the dogs were removed from the property.
“They were able to get somebody to go out onto the property and explain the ordinances and what was wrong with the situation,” Angela Stell told The Dodo. Stell is the director of NMDOG, which is aimed at ending the chaining up of dogs. “When they did that, they found that the guardian of the dogs was in jail on unrelated charges, and he was not on the property able to provide daily care that these dogs needed.”
“I’m not sure if somebody else was staying on the property or coming to the property, but overall, these dogs were just kind of abandoned and forgotten,” Stell added.
NMDOG rescuers started caring for the dogs, Violet included, right after they were removed. They were first taken to a vet, and aside from the damage done by the chain, a really bad sunburn, and a condition called flystrike (being eaten by maggots), Violet was not at all in a condition medical staff would have called terminal.
While the physical side of Violet’s medical conditions were things that could be worked on, the hardest thing to work on was going to be her fear. As one might expect, this poor dog was afraid of everything and everyone.
“She was very, very afraid, and is still a little timid,” Stell said. “If you raise your hand to do something, or move your hand too fast, she kind of ducks and cowers, like you’re going to hit her. I can’t imagine what somebody did to make her do that. But she is coming around with nice words and good, positive interactions.”
Each day, Violet learns to trust people more and more. She’s doing very well medically, and doesn’t look at all as bad as she did at the time of her rescue.
“She’s very sweet, and she’s opening up to us and the staff at the clinic,” Stell said. “She really likes her stuffed animals, and she likes to curl up in her blanket. She likes to go for walks. She’s just learning about the world around her, and not being chained anymore.”
Stell believes that Violet never really was able to be a puppy. Well, with all of the love and care she’s received from her rescuers, she’s going to have a second chance. She even recently got to pick out her first toy, a squeaky raccoon.
“I’ve caught her a couple times playing with her squeaky raccoon toy,” Stell said. “She’ll bat it a bit, and then look around to see if anybody is watching her. So she’ll be very playful and carefree, and will be able to put this all behind her.”