One Dog’s Journey from Abuse

This story sounds like something you might read in a novel, but unfortunately the events really happened to this innocent little dog.  Maybe if we call attention to the problem, animal abuse will finally stop.

When a small terrier puppy was rushed to Project Hope’s sanctuary in Mississippi last year, her rescuer thought she had been attacked by a wild animal. The little dog was barely alive as the man picked her up from a ditch on the side of a country road. She was taken directly to the organization’s veterinarian and what he discovered was horrifying.

After shaving back her fur, he saw that she hadn’t been attacked by a wild animal, but had been tortured by a human being instead.

Project Hope’s recent report stated, “Someone had poured boiling water on her head that had dripped and swirled around her ears, down her back and onto her sides, severely burning her skin as it flowed.”

The little puppy amazingly survived this act of extreme cruelty and because of her remarkable will to live, Doll Stanley who is the director of Project Hope named her, Phoenix.

It became Doll Stanley’s main objective to keep Phoenix alive. During her first night, Phoenix moaned in pain. But over the next few days the staff saw signs of a spirited little puppy emerging.

That was a year ago and during that time Phoenix has blossomed into a smart and sweet natured healthy dog. She was loved so much by the staff that they put off placing her for adoption.

Project Hope is one In Defense of Animals’ sanctuaries. Their mission is to “bring justice and compassion to rural America.” The conception of a sanctuary in the Deep South was the brainchild of Doll Stanley who saw the need to help abused and neglected animals in the area. She’s been their director for the past 15 years.

In addition to rescuing the worst of the abused pets in the South, Project Hope carries out raids on puppy mills, animal hoarders and dealers. They also tackle dog fighting rings and work to strengthen Mississippi’s animal cruelty laws. To date, Project Hope has saved the lives of thousands of animals.

Finally the staff couldn’t put off the need for Phoenix to be adopted into a home of her own. She was chosen to be put on a van and taken to one of the IDA partner organizations that place homeless pets with new families as part of the Homeward Bound program.

However somewhere along the long journey to Salem, NH, Phoenix decided to choose the person who she wanted to become her new guardian.

Glen Bidwell was the transporter who shuttled Phoenix and several other dogs on the last leg of their trip. Here is what he had to say:

“I first met Phoenix at 1:30 in the morning in Winchester, VA, by that time she had already been in a crate for over 13 hours. I took her for a short walk and a small drink of water and Evan, the driver who had gotten her from Mississippi to Virginia, mentioned that she had been pretty badly abused. She was going to my last stop in Salem, NH, so she was one of the first loaded onto my van. She ended up behind my passenger seat on top of the other crates, so I could turn around just a little and see her and also stick my fingers in her crate. Whenever I used my cell phone or 2-way radio she would sit up and look at me. It wasn’t long before I snapped a picture of her with my phone and sent it home. I was smitten.”

And apparently Phoenix felt the same way because when they arrived in Salem, she refused to leave the van. Phoenix went home with Glen that day.

Glen reports that family life has agreed with Phoenix. She shares her new home with Glen’s wife and son, a dog named Seamus and several cats. And every day she hops into the same van where she met Glen, for a ride that she knows will take her back home at the end of the day.

Project Hope


CR C8 years ago

I thank HOPE for the work they do and Glen and family are also amazing. I hope the pigs that hurt this dog are court they need to be stopped and don't deserve another animal they deserve to suffer. Our pets are like family and are the special something that brighten our day. All the best little Phoenix and Glen your a survior.

Cathy Greer
Cathy G8 years ago

I hate people who prentend to be human!!!What this non human did to this dog is beyond being sick!!!! My prayers are with you PHOENIX.I know you are with a real human now!!!!You deserve the life you now have

Gail Holladay
Gail Holladay8 years ago

Amen Elena G!

Elena Glikina
Elena Glikina8 years ago

There are two armies in the world: the army of cruelity (these are sick people) and the army of love and kindness. We are to win!

charlotte b.
charlotte b8 years ago

this story brought tears to my eyes!

Gail Holladay
Gail Holladay8 years ago

Bonnie, thank you for your kind words. I agree with you-its a phone call! Grow up, huh! I still cant believe MY DOG'S previous owner thought that was ok! But I am so glad that we were the ones to find Sharletta again because she is just the sweetest thing. I have a question I hope you or someone can help me with. Her Previous owner still has another dog, small beautiful pit bull mix. She stated her uncle may take him in. I have some serious concerns because look at what she did to sharletta. Neighbors, although it is rumored, have since stated that care is not given appropriately to either animal, though I have not personally witnessed abuse should I make a report? And what do I disclose? Please let me know. I dont want that dog to be let loose too a he is mixed with pit and he could either be abused on street or en up biting someone because they hurt him and te be put down. Its not fair!

Bonnie H.
Bonnie H8 years ago

this in reference to Gail's are a wonderful person..what I cannot understand is how this person cannot call the Humane Society to come and get the dog, yet she feels alright throwing the dog into the streets to fend for itself, or maybe even be hit by a car and left for dead somewhere...some people make me so sick to my stomach and so angry at the cruelity these poor creatures are dealt by the people they love and trust to take care of them. Like i said common sense is what matters here and none of those animal hurting lizards have any common sense or any brains.

Lori Childers
Lori Childers8 years ago

These ruthless idiots should be put to death!! I know that whoever did it can't be found,and has probably just moved on with their lives as if nothing happened!! Yes I think stories should be told about these kind of things everyday,several times a day,even if gets only one persons attention that day,thats better than 0!! I haven't been doing this very long,and in the beginning I was leary,and cried alot,and almost decided not to do it anymore,but now it is the most rewarding part of my day!! If I can help one animal or 1000,I will not stop,its worth every second of my time,I just wish ALOT of other people felt the same way!! And,Yes,PLEASE keep telling your stories,and lets all work together in our cities to put a STOP to this kind of thing!! God Bless

Gail Holladay
Gail Holladay8 years ago

PatPrest, I couldnt agree with you more! I just took in another poor dog last night tha the owner threw to the streets. This is the second time she's done this and the 2nd time I took the dog. I went to the home and told her I was keeping the dog this time. She acted "grateful"! Rumor has it she or her husband abuse the dog and you can tell! I need to go get her licensed(name is sharletta) now. I will never understand how people can just dispose so callously of their pets! She stated "I just cant call the humane society to get her, will you? Heck no I wont! But I will keep her this time and love her and feed her and give her the compassion she needs! And my other dog Fran who is twice her size(a hound mixed with lab)whom I adopted from the pound months ago adores her!

Pat Prest
Pat Prest8 years ago

Anyone who would torture a helpless animal hasn't a hope in hell that they wouldnt do it again......NoTHING, but nothing would stop a monster like the one I have just read.
They are inhuman themselves, otherwise how on earth could they do such a discusting and horrible thing to a helpless animal.
I could not read the whole thing, I thought I would be, I hope they got who ever did this and string him up!