5 min read

Sick Puppies Were Dumped At Shelter After They Lost All Their Hair

They're SO handsome now.

In early March, Barbara Zuluaga went to a city shelter in Houston to rescue a dog named Freckles, who was set to be euthanized the next day. Before leaving with Freckles, Zuluaga took a quick walk through the kennel area — and that’s when she spotted two puppies who desperately needed her help.

“I saw these two tiny, crusty little puppies, and thought, ‘Oh man,’” Zuluaga, a board member of A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue, told The Dodo. “All I could see were their bright green-blue eyes, and they were just covered in horrible mange.”

Puppies with mange
Mango and Chilli shortly after they were rescued from the shelter | A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue

Mange is a contagious condition that’s caused by mites that burrow into a dog’s skin, and these two puppies had it pretty bad. In fact, their former owner had surrendered them at the shelter because of their mange.

Two puppies with mange on exam table
A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue

“Our shelter system here in Houston is very overcrowded, so a lot of dogs come to the shelters as owner surrenders,” Zuluaga said. “It’s a constant, nonstop … it’s very overwhelming here. People are always dumping their dogs.”

Puppies with mange
A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue

Zuluaga knew she couldn’t leave without these puppies, whom she named Mango and Chilli, so she arranged to take them home with her, deciding to foster them herself until they got better.

Person cuddling puppy with mange
A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue

“They had skin infections from the mange and they got upper respiratory infections,” Zuluaga said. “I had to isolate them for about two weeks with heavy antibiotics until their coughs went away. Then they had to wear onesies all the time because their skin was so sensitive from the mange.”

Dogs with mange in onesies
Zuluaga put the puppies into onesies as they recovered from mange. | A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue

Mango and Chilli were also suffering from malnutrition, which had weakened their bones, causing their legs to bow. But with proper medical care and lots of love from Zuluaga, the puppies got better and better. They made such a miraculous recovery that even the vet was shocked, Zuluaga explained.

Puppies recovering from mange
The puppies after five weeks of recovery | A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue

“In just five weeks, they more than doubled in size and all their hair grew back,” Zuluaga said. “They looked amazing. They’re really beautiful dogs.”

As the puppies got healthier, their individual personalities emerged.

Puppies standing on wooden bench together
A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue

“Mango is really laid-back and he’s super sweet,” Zuluaga said. “Chilli is the wild child. He’s very vocal and opinionated, and he likes to run around and chase things. So there’s two very different personalities in the puppies.”

Dogs standing on bench together
A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue

Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for Mango and Chilli to find forever homes. Mango, now named Moose, lives with Sara Weinrich, her other dog Roxie and cat Ziggy.

Cat and dog lying on couch together
Moose hanging out with his new cat sibling, Ziggy | Sara Weinrich

“He is a very cuddly boy and gets along well with my other animals,” Weinrich told The Dodo. “He loves to play tug-of-war with his new sister and chase her around.”

As for Chilli, he was a birthday present for James Wisniewski’s son, who absolutely adores him.

Dog sleeping in bed with boy
Chilli snuggling with his new human brother | James Wisniewski

“Chilli is an awesome dog, and to see everything that he’s been through … I think that’s really a testament to Barbara,” Wisniewski told The Dodo. “He’s a sweet, sweet dog.”

To help rescue more puppies like Mango and Chilli, you can make a donation to A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue.