Miracle Dog Unrecognizable After Surviving Horror Abuse That Killed Canine

A dog who was described as a "little skeleton" after suffering abuse, which saw him kept on a chain, has made an incredible transformation after finding his forever home.

Henry, a Chihuahua mix, was one of seven dogs found in Windsor, North Carolina, in appalling conditions by animal charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Footage released by the charity shows Henry's terrible living conditions, which led to the death of a black pitbull living with him named Minnie. Minnie's "skeletal remains" were found inside a doghouse in February, still chained up, with a necropsy revealing that she died of "starvation and extreme neglect," according to PETA.

Owner Cherelle M. Askew was charged with seven counts of cruelty to animals, PETA said in a news release issued last month.

Henry before and after being rescued.
Henry the Chihuahua mix was starved and kept on a chain in "deplorable" conditions, according to PETA. This is Henry before (L) and after (R) being rescued. PETA

The other dogs, Zeus, Duke, Sandy and Duchess, were removed by the Bertie County Sheriff's Office. The fate and whereabouts of another dog, Nala, are unknown.

PETA said the dogs were kept in "filthy, deplorable conditions," adding: "The seven dogs on that property were consistently malnourished and neglected, even though PETA's fieldworkers had provided them with free food, doghouses, spay/neuter services, and other essential care and informed their owner about their basic needs."

Buddy, later renamed Henry, was given to PETA last August, where he was soon adopted by Doreen Dykes, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

"Fortunately, Henry was spared: PETA got custody of him in August 2021, and he was only at PETA for two days before Doreen Dykes took him in," the group said.

Henry, thought to be around 8 years old, is now "safe and comfortable" and living his best life with Dykes, who adopted him after her husband, Jim, passed away.

Henry with new owner Doreen.
Henry has now settled into his new life in Virginia with his adoring owner, Doreen Dykes. Doreen adopted Henry after her husband died. PETA

She hadn't seen the conditions Henry was subjected to until recently, as PETA showed a clip, as she admitted: "So many people have asked me about his past, and all I've said is I just don't know."

At seeing her beloved Henry, she exclaimed: "Oh how awful. I had no idea it was as bad as this. So he was almost a little skeleton. How terrible."

Henry was treated for heartworms, described by the FDA as a "serious disease that results in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage."

The on-screen captions on the video said: "He was chained outside alongside five other dogs. They were often found with no food or water, and were being eaten alive by flies."

Dogs found by PETA.
Clockwise from top left: Duchess, Duke, Nala, Zeus, Sandy and Minnie were found by PETA in North Carolina, where they had been abused. Unfortunately, Minnie passed away. PETA

The PETA press release revealed Zeus' ears were permanently disfigured from years of flystrike. PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch said: "Minnie and her yard mates languished, chained up like old bicycles in a backyard, and countless other dogs are in danger of suffering a similar fate."

Nachminovitch added: "PETA rescued Henry in the nick of time, but countless other dogs like him are suffering out of sight, chained in backyards this burning-hot summer. PETA encourages everyone to keep their dogs indoors with the rest of the family, remind others to do the same, and always come to the aid of animals in need like Henry."

Luckily for Henry, he's adored by Dykes, who raved: "He has these beautiful dark eyes, and I described them as black treacle. They're the softest, brownest, most beautiful eyes I've ever looked into. I think we have a pretty nice life, the pair of us. There's a quietness about him, but there's also a great love of being alive, of playing, running around and jumping off things."