When a dog was found fighting for his life in the mountains in Puerto Rico, rescuers were determined to help.
It became clear he’d been traumatized by severe physical and mental abuse.
His body would need extensive rehabilitation, but rescuers also worried if the most broken part of him could ever heal – his heart.
Keep reading to follow the journey of one dog in search of a better life.
Bear was no ordinary pup. At just two years old, he’d already endured more pain than any little dog should ever have to experience.
Abandoned in the mountains of Puerto Rico, Bear was fighting for his life after surviving heartbreaking abuse.
Luckily, a woman named Thairy, a rescuer from Huellitas De La Montaña, scooped Bear up and brought him to the shelter.
“Bear had been hit by something blunt, a metal pipe most likely,” explained Stacey Bruce, a volunteer foster for Great Dog Rescue New England.
He’d endured unimaginable trauma. His jaw was smashed and he was sick.
It would be no easy feat for Thairy to nurse him back to health.
“He just wanted to live. He just had that determination and the will and the desire,” said Stacey.
Bear fought through the pain, emotionally and physically.
He had his lower jaw removed and spent months healing at the shelter – inside and out.
Months later, Bear was ready for the hardest part of his recovery – trusting another human.
Mending a Broken Heart
Huellitas De La Montaña posted pictures of Bear, hoping to find him a loving home.
“The second that I saw his picture, there was something in his eyes… he just spoke to me,” recalled Stacey.
Stacey didn’t know what it would be like to take care of Bear, she had never had a dog without a jaw.
But she did know one thing – he was meant to be with her.
With the help of OBRA, Thairy was able to arrange for Bear to be transferred into the care of Great Dog Rescue.
It wasn’t long before Bear boarded a plane to Boston; he was coming home to Stacey.
His tongue flopped out of his mouth in a persistent look of goofy excitement, despite his fear of the unknown ahead of him.
But, when Bear landed and he and Stacey locked eyes for the very first time, it was love at first woof.
“He’s a super, super loving dog. He was from the start,” shared Stacey.
Bear was easy to love, but Stacey would soon learn that he was still healing from the trauma of his past.
Love & Patience
Despite his dark past, Bear is still a sweet, lovable pup.
He especially loves his two new fur siblings, Momo and Mita.
“The other two dogs I have at home are also from Puerto Rico. I feel that dogs from Puerto Rico are different from most other dogs and they sense when there is another dog from Puerto Rico,” Stacey explained.
“They get where they’ve come from, they understand each other,” Stacey remarked.
With the help of his family, Bear overcomes more of his trauma each day.
Stacey and her family know it will be a slow process, therefore they’re committed to patiently being by Bear’s side every step of the way.
“If you raise your voice at all he goes on his back and covers his face with his paws as if he’s afraid you’re going to hit him,” shared Stacey.
Then Bear quickly remembers that he’s loved and no longer in danger.
He shakes off the memory and gets back to his favorite activity – zoomies with Momo!
Beautiful Inside & Out
Bear isn’t all that different from the other pups, despite his troubled past and adorably goofy smile.
He eats the same food as everyone else, scooping up pieces of kibble with his floppy tongue.
He loves to play and hike, just like his siblings, and craves days outdoors with his family.
“Don’t be afraid to adopt a special needs dog,” Stacey shared. “They are loving, they give you a different kind of love that you just can’t describe until you have one of your own.”
Bear’s special love makes everyone around him smile.
“Bear is funny. He likes to be a clown and get people to laugh,” said Stacey.
After a long day of zoomies and sprinting around the house with his siblings, Bear is exhausted!
Stacey fixes Bear a super special bed each night.
“He loves to sleep,” laughed Stacey. “We nest him in a blanket and put his nest all around him so that if anyone bumps into him, he doesn’t feel discomfort.”
Happily Ever After
Stacey might not be able to take away the pain Bear endured in his past, but she will do everything she can to make sure he never feels hurt again.
Bear has made the hardest recovery of his life – giving humans a second chance.
He’s a fighter, but more than that, he is a loving dog with a heart of gold.
We’d like to thank Stacey and all of the rescuers for supporting Bear in his journey toward a better life.
Follow Huellitas De La Montaña and Great Dog Rescue New England on Instagram to see more beautiful rescue dog success stories like Bear’s!