These heartwarming pictures show the incredible transformation of a skeletal stray dog to a ‘majestic gentle giant’.Cruel people used to beat Louie the stray because they thought he was a hairless ‘monster’ who was ‘spreading disease’ near their remote village in Macedonia. But Louie’s red and raw skin was simply the result of severe mange, a skin condition often found in stray dogs living outside. When Louie was rescued by Saving Macedonian Strays (SMS), his saviours didn’t think he would survive, let alone find a loving new family.
But Louie defied all odds and made a remarkable recovery as soon as he got the care and attention he desperately needed. The Macedonian charity contacted Elizabeth Bell who runs the Penny Jones Animal Hospice in Cumbria, just south of the Scottish border.
She went over to Macedonia and immediately offered to help find him a new family in the UK.She told Metro.co.uk: ‘When he was rescued I thought he would really struggle to find a home so I offered to give him a home whatever happened.
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‘He had no hair and looked terrible. Now he’s a bear of a dog.
‘He was very shy but he just changed instantly into a big playful puppy. A big gentle giant of a dog.’Elizabeth said she would play and walk with Louie but the best rehabilitation came from other dogs.
She added: ‘I’d just put him with other friendly dogs. Happy dogs help traumatised dogs more than we can help them.
‘He settled well and quite soon found a home.’Julie Matthews from Saving Macedonian Strays, said: ‘Every so often a dog comes into our lives and the images of what we find will haunt us. We rescued Louie with his friend Lenny in 2017. They were two of our saddest rescues.
‘They lived in a remote village in Macedonia where local people would beat them because they thought they were monsters and were spreading disease.
‘We were told not to get our hopes up because they were so very poorly and unlikely to survive but we did not give up hope.‘Sadly Lenny didn’t make it but Louie, who is now called Ben, against all odds, not only survived but flourished and found the most wonderful home in Scotland. ‘Our rescuer in Macedonia, Monika, was finally able to see him again and couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
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‘Louie now has the most beautiful coat and weighs 50kg. He is a truly majestic gentle giant.’