A dog that was rescued in such a distressing condition that staff at her shelter initially mistook her for an altogether different breed has found a new forever home.

GlowUp was rescued from Petersburg Animal Control in Virginia and brought to Richmond Animal League, a partner of the Best Friends Animal Society in November 2023.

Best Friends Animal Society is a national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. It works collaboratively with a network of more than 4,400 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide.

From the moment she arrived, it was clear that GlowUp was in very bad shape. She was suffering from inflammation caused by a case of mange that was so severe, it was initially assumed that she was a Shar Pei rather than the pitbull mix she actually is.

GlowUp when she first arrived.
GlowUp when she first arrived at the shelter. Staff initially thought she was a Shar Pei.

Richmond Animal League/Best Friends Animal Society

Despite the difficult start, GlowUp was soon on the road to recovery thanks to a combination of medical treatment and TLC from the staff at the shelter.

A little love and affection can have a huge impact on a shelter dog. In fact, just 15 minutes of one-on-one petting has been shown to boost the well being of a rescue pup, according to a study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

GlowUp needed a little more help than that. Though the wounds on her coat eventually healed, it was later discovered that she also had a heart murmur. But she was one of the lucky ones, having ended up at a no-kill shelter.

No-kill essentially means efforts are made to save every dog or cat that can be saved. Things like community safety and good quality of life for pets serve as the guiding principles of the no-kill philosophy and those behind it believe it’s an attainable standard to set provided animal welfare professionals engage in best practices and protocols.

GlowUp is a prime example of the no-kill shelter approach paying off. In another shelter, she could easily have ended up not getting the treatment she so desperately needed, and she might even have been dead by now.

GlowUp is looking happier and healthier now.
GlowUp is a different dog now. Staff at her shelter have helped transform her fortunes.

Richmond Animal League/Best Friends Animal Society

Instead, she’s happy, healthy and looking forward to a bright future with her new owner. She’s joined a Richmond Animal League Running Club, where the other pups are more than happy to put her through her paces and she is settled and happy.

“GlowUp’s story shows that there are amazing pups in shelters all across the country that need help, from adoptions to supporting your local shelters’ medical funds to fostering these medical cases,” John Graves, strategist for the east region at the Best Friends Animal Society, told Newsweek.

“To me, Miss GlowUp is just one of a thousand dogs in shelters right now that demonstrate what a little love, a little attention, and a little medical care can do. These animals aren’t all broken, but we all need a little room to glow sometimes.”

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