Dog who survived mutilation makes it from
Mexico to the Valley
They'd seen bloodied dogs. Starving cats. Broken birds. A mangled monkey.
And unyielding bestial abuse.

But for animal rescuers at All the Same Wild and Tame, nothing came close
to the dog they've named Dahlia.

When a good Samaritan dropped off the golden-eyed mutt after a 400-mile
journey from Mexico last month, there wasn't a dry eye in the store.

"I went home and almost quit," said Rhea Redding, a groomer at the
nonprofit sanctuary and pet boutique in Sherman Oaks. "I couldn't take it. I
was mad and I was hurt.

"And I couldn't stand how forgiving she was."

The mutilated boxer mix licks everyone she meets - despite being lacking
from head to tail.

Dahlia had her nose gouged out. Her ears cut off. Her lips trimmed back.
Some toes removed. And her tail hacked away to a nub.

With just a pinhole for a nose, the 20-pound pooch no longer sniffs, but snorts.

"This thing with the dog, I can't believe that. I sure get choked up," said
Harry Stanford, 80, a neighbor who walked in off the street and met Dahlia.
"Cut the ears off, cut the nose off. Jeez."

How a ragamuffin dog from a fishing village on the Sea of Cortez wound up
at a sanctuary on Ventura Boulevard is testimony to the Internet,
international expatriates and a pipeline of caring souls.

Animal rescuer Steven Foreman first spotted her among an estimated
10,000 stray dogs running loose in San Felipe, Baja California.

She'd been abandoned near a radiator shop by a man who'd fled to Mexicali,
125 miles north. Her name, apparently, was Leona - Spanish for lioness.
"She was young and she would have come out in the road and got hit, which
is common down here," said Foreman, 63, who retired in Mexico after 20
years in Northern California. "I've never seen an animal this bad, that had
lived, that was so adorable, so trusting, so social, just a little doll."

Foreman, who sells used shoes on eBay to fund his spay-neuter group,
Zero Additional Pupulation Project (ZAPP), gave her to a British expat for care.

Then a San Fernando Valley woman saw Leona on Foreman's website,, and arranged to pick her up in San Diego.

"When I saw her picture, she broke my heart," said Lizzette Schley, of
Burbank. "But she is so proper and so nice. Every chance she got, she tried
to lick me.

"I just said, `Welcome to the USA."

At rest stops on the way back to the Valley, however, motorists
stared at her in horror.

And when Schley, who already had a house full of pets, tried to find a home
for the badly scarred dog, Leona was scorned for being just too ugly.

"Only future Jeffrey Dahmers would do something like that," Schley said.
"It's just not right. They're just sick in the head."

Fortunately, Schley had met someone from All Things Wild and Tame, which
specializes in saving injured animals.

The rescue, which began by taking in exotic animals in Las Vegas, may be
the only storefront sanctuary in Los Angeles.

"They're all the same. They're all babies. They all need love," said Mary K.
Miller, 36, a Las Vegas native who opened the Sherman Oaks shop in early
2007 to be near her mother. "I can't say no, I can't say no. I do love animals. I
have terrible asthma, so I think I relate to the disabled."

In Las Vegas, she and her boyfriend Larry McNary didn't say no to a
quadriplegic mountain lion, a monkey with a broken tail and bobcats with

And in Sherman Oaks, squeezed between a hoagie shop and a handicraft
shop a half-block west of Van Nuys Boulevard, she and her 14-year-old
home-schooled daughter, Allie, haven't said no to hundreds of animals - and
nearly $30,000 a year in veterinary bills, paid for by donations and family funds.

To help support the sanctuary, they also offer grooming services, pet
carriers, collars, clothes and doggie beds that Miller sews herself. Animals
are kept in foster care for adoptions that run $50 to $300 per pet.

"I specialize in medical cases, the disposable," said Miller. "We are

Cases like the four collie pups from South L.A. whose mother was hit by a car.

The starved tabby found locked in a car in a wrecking yard. The rabbits
being sold for the cookpot. The pigeon found shot with a .22. The
dehydrated duck found walking down Ventura Boulevard.

The mallard found by Redding blocking the fast lane of the Ventura Freeway.

They rescue dogs and cats "red-tagged" for euthanasia at public animal
shelters. Or the "ding-dong ditches" - boxes of abandoned dogs and cats
left on the doorstep.

"Hi, my name is Cooper," said a note accompanying an abandoned white cat.
"My owner got evicted, I'm a wonderful girl cat ... Please find me a home."

Then came the dog they would rename Dahlia.

"She's kind of like the Black Dahlia," said Miller, referring to the infamous
L.A. murder. "She was so strikingly beautiful, but nobody knows who she was.

"She has no ill intent on anybody. She loves every creature. This beautiful
baby needs to educate people" about the danger of abuse, she said.
"Whoever takes her will have to have a lot of money, because of the
medical issues.

"But in the meantime, she can always stay with us."
Seymour, TN

Whoever did that to Dahlia shoud be put in prison!!! I am glad
that she is with a loving family who loves animals. She is a
Beautiful dog!!!  
Mary K Miller and her daughter Allie have taken this abused dog named Dahlia into their
Ventura Blvd. animal sanctuary. The dog, who had its nose, ears and tail cut off by an
abusive owner, is being cared for at All the Same Wild and Tame, a rescue facility run by
Miller. Sherman Oaks, Ca 5/27/09.
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Giving someone all your
Love is never an assurance that they will Love you back

Do not expect Love in return
Just wait for it to grow in their Heart

But if it does not be content that it grew in yours
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Please note: If you choose the watch the video, it is very
graphic in nature
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

one who does crazy things to animal will do it to bigger
mammals someday. a serial killer in the making, police should
put more effort into profiling these types of crazed individuals  
Los Angeles, CA

OMG!!! how can there be people like that, they should be in a
cage themselves and treat them the same way they treath the
animals. I'm a animal lover and just reading about Dahlia makes
my my heart bleed and my tears are just flowing down my face.
God Bless that person who saved her. I get so mad when I
read cruelty against a defenless animals.  
Irvine, CA

I am glad Dahlia is with loving people now. I hope we never
see another dog in her condition again.  
stuck in the 3rd World
Los Angeles, CA

People such as Mary K Miller & Allie make one believe there is
still some hope for humanity. Dahlia has a beautiful soul and
so do they.  
Erin Ziliak Reply »

It sickens me that people could do this to such a beautiful
animal. I only wish I could afford to take her for a companion. I
pray that the person who does take her gives her as much
time and love as she deserves. She needs to know that all
humans aren't cruel .
Erin Ziliak  
Irene Cogley
Mexicali, Mexico

Amazing story with a happy end!
The world needs more people with such great heart!
God bless you all!  
San Diego, CA

I caught this story on KTLA 5 and the dog is absolutely a cutie!
His eyes are so sweet after everything he endured...he
deserves to live a good life! I sent a donation!  
just me
Covina, CA

I just sent a donation to Ms. Miller to help her continue helping
the abused animals.  
Thanks to you all, your more then welcome to come and meet her. She
truly is the love of our lives!!!
All The Same Wild And Tame Foundation...

All The Same Wild and Tame
Pahrump, NV