Every day is a gift for Louis, the Pit Bull who went through the worst imaginable.
(Warning: extremely graphic images below)
Back in 2007 in Montgomery, Alabama, Louis was the innocent victim of an unspeakable act of cruelty: his owner's son savagely beat him and then set him on fire, reports The Dodo.
He was rescued at the very last minute, hovering somewhere between life and death for days on end. Vets thought it probably best to euthanise him, thinking that he'd never survive his extreme injuries. Nearly 70% of his body was severely burnt.
But Louis clung to life, in spite of his truly critical condition and the intense pain that his injuries must have put him in. He was so close to death yet to the shock of his doctors, he continued to wag his tail and even give kisses to his rescuers. They decided they would do all they could to keep him alive. But it wouldn't be easy: the poor dog faced a total of 33 operations.
Louis quickly became the darling of the medical team, who fell head over heels for the gorgeous ball of fluff who was so full of energy and lust for life. His vets did extra hours every day just so they could stay with him for longer.
A local animal-lover named Dee Hartley was deeply moved when she heard about Louis's story. She just couldn't forget the dog, and told her husband William that she knew she had to adopt him. She tells The Dodo:
I told him, 'I really want to meet that dog'. There's something about him that's really tugging at my heart.
Though William tried telling her their house was already packed with other rescue dogs, Dee was determined. Without telling her husband, she went to the hospital where Louis was recovering. She felt a connection with the dog straight away, spending more than an hour by his side. She had fallen in love, and couldn't help but tell her husband what she'd seen.
And that's when William told her something that took her completely by surprise: he had also secretly gone to visit Louis! Both of them were absolutely enchanted by the adorable Pit Bull. The besotted couple began regularly visiting him regularly, pampering him with treats and helping him open the gifts from his many fans all over the US.
So it came as no surprise that the Hartleys adopted Louis after his abusive owner's trial was over. In January 2009, Juan Daniels was sentenced to nine years in prison for the sickening way he treated the dog, a record penalty for this kind of crime.
Finally, this tragic story has a happy ending. Louis will always carry both the physical and the psychological trauma of this terrible crime, but he has now found the happiest of homes and serves as an incredible example of resilience.