Former ‘bait’ dog, left earless, finally finds a loving family who cares for her.

A police officer in Phoenix, Arizona, noticed an injured female pit bull walking the streets four years ago. The dog was in such horrible state that it was amazing she was still alive.

“She was emaciated and covered in ticks,” Jeannette, the woman who eventually adopted the dog, told The Dodo. “I asked for her last name to stay anonymous.” “She was so dirty, he thought that she was brown, and she was so swollen and scarred, he thought that she was also blind.”

Worst of all, the dog’s ears had been chewed off, implying that she’d been used in dogfighting, probably as a bait dog.

“She’d had multiple bite wounds to her ear,” Jeannette explained. “One of her ear flaps was completely severed; the other one was rotten and decayed and not preservable.”

The officer apprehended the dog and took her to a nearby shelter. Mayday Pit Bull Rescue volunteers then stepped in. While the rescue group was unable to accept the dog, they contacted Jeannette and her husband and asked if they could foster her.

“For some reason, we just agreed, and so my husband went and picked her up from the shelter, and immediately took her to the ER vet,” she added.

The vet team did everything they could, but they didn’t think she’d make it.

“She ended up having multiple tick-borne diseases, and she was anaemic,” she claimed. “The rescuers said she was the worst they’d ever seen.” She literally smelt like death – it was horrifying.”

Despite this, the dog managed to live.

“You could tell that she was terrified, but there was this hope in her eyes, even though she had every reason in the world to be angry,” she said. “We were furious and so upset that someone could have done this to her, and yet she was so forgiving.”

The dog would have to stay at the vet for quite some time, but Jeannette and her husband decided to name her before leaving her there.

“When you rescue a dog, you always want to give them a name, especially if they’re going to stay that night, so if they die, they die with a name,” said Jeannette. “We named her Calista, which means ‘most beautiful.’”

Calista astonished everyone by making it through the night. Then she survived another, and another, and another.

Jeannette and her husband paid Calista daily visits.

“We really wanted to form that bond with her, and let her know that there was consistency in her life,” she said. “People from the rescue also came and visited her, so she just had a lot of interaction with people.”

Calista recovered thanks to intense treatment and multiple reconstructive procedures. She was able to return home with Jeannette and her husband after approximately a week.

They were only committed to fostering Calista at the time because they already had another dog, Zazu, and neither of them thought they were ready to adopt another.

Jeannette swiftly changed her mind after Calista was placed for adoption a few months later.

“Everyone else joked and said they knew she was staying, but we said, ‘No, no, she’s just a foster,’” said Jeannette. “And then as soon as she was available for adoption, I said ‘No, she’s not going anywhere.’”

“Now I can’t imagine her being anywhere but with us,” she said. “I think we needed to emotionally accept that we were ready to bring her in.”

Zazu developed a strong attachment to Calista.

“He was very helpful to her by teaching her how to be a dog,” stated Jeannette. “She didn’t know how to play, and she was afraid of everything, and seeing him do things was very helpful to her.”

Calista still has some health issues and is being treated for mast cell cancer. Calista, on the other hand, is overjoyed.

“She loves life,” Jeannette explained. “She loves food.” She is a people person who loves other people. Other animals are something she loves. She’s just an incredible soul. Fear arises from her experiences from time to time, but she has mostly overcome it.”

“She’s well-known for her tail drumming,” Jeannette explained. “She’s always wagging her tail, and our floors are made of wood, so it sounds like she’s drumming.” “She is the happiest dog I have ever known.”

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