PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) — Dogs are called man’s best friend for a reason. They are loyal, loving and they seem to read people in an uncanny, exceptional way. Put bluntly, they just get it. They feel it. They read people well, often picking up right away on someone’s demeanor or energy.
“Khalessi” is no different. The tiny, ebony-colored pit bull mix is highly social. Her big, beautiful, dark eyes are wide with both curiosity and kindness. She doesn’t just look at you, she looks through you. She wags her tail incessantly, in a non-stop state of bliss. Spend five minutes with her and you’ll see she is anxious to cuddle. She thrives on a gentle human hand scratching her back softly.
It is clear, this young pup doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. Her mission is bold and yet, basic. It is the need most living beings intensely crave — love. Khalessi wants to be cared for and comforted. She wants to feel secure and safe. And, most importantly, she asks for nothing in return. This compassionate creature is intensely selfless. She is aching to share her unconditional love.
But, keep this in mind. The innocent dog with the wide eyes and open heart has been to hell and back in the short year of her life. She has endured unthinkable abuse, filled with cruelty so shocking that when people hear Khaleesi’s story, they burst into tears. Her new human acquaintances, and the list grows longer by the day, are both stunned and saddened.
Who would do this? And why? This little dog would never do anything remotely deserving of even a brief swat on the backside, But, torture? Regular beatings? Chopping off the nose from a helpless, trusting, faithful companion? Evil certainly ran amuck in this angel’s hurtful existence. Again, the question is posed — Why would someone do this?
Your heart begins to ache instantly. What in the world did this sweet girl go through? How horrific was her excruciating physical pain and her brokenhearted agony? She, most certainly, was confused and terrified at the same time by her sadistic abuser’s actions. Why? Why are you doing this – a concept, a desperate question she must have conveyed within one glance. She would never get her answer.
Khaleesi suffered the worst kind of physical abuse, the most painful, the cruelest. Doctors call this one of the worst abuse cases they’ve ever seen. The body of this tiny dog is battered and broken. “She wasn’t born this way. Someone did this to her. That’s what is so haunting. Someone did this to her,” said Khalessi’s new mom, Stephanie Paquin, who saved the dog’s life.
The passionate animal-activist from St. Pete found her new spirited canine companion in Orlando at Orange County Animal Services when she and her husband were in the city for the weekend. She stopped by the shelter. She had no idea that one innocuous decision would change her life and impact countless others around the globe. “They asked for my help because I run a rescue group. They told me they had a dire case, and since they never say that, I knew it was serious,” Stephanie told News Channel 8. “When I walked in, she rushed into the bars of her kennel, she wanted so much to have love and attention. Then, when I saw her, I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe someone could do this. I knew I wanted to take her home and give her love.”
Indeed, appearances can be a bit jarring, and ultimately deceiving. First off, Khaleesi does not have a nose. It was savagely removed during the endless torture she suffered. She also has two large, prominent teeth that are somewhat tusk-like. On her tiny jaw, sitting high atop her slight frame, they jut uncomfortably out of her mouth, which creates a struggle for eating.
The next thing you’ll notice is heartbreaking. This pint-sized survivor crawls along the floor. She is forced to scoot her tiny, twisted frame, using her already thin front paws as leverage. She has no use of her back legs. They are small and frail, limbs that have atrophied into discomfort after heinous, habitual horror. Doctors believe it’s possible this gentle gal, who doesn’t have an ounce of aggression in her, was struck with a blunt-force object, such as a baseball bat.
But, she wasn’t just struck. She was beaten intensely, leaving her matchstick-thin spine broken and crushed in multiple places. Her ribs, already poking through her soft fur, were splintered and cracked from the repeated blows. And, her wobbly kneecaps were blown right out of socket.
The level of searing pain this pup must have gone though is simply beyond imagination, beyond reason, beyond understanding. As if that wasn’t bad enough, this baby girl, so anxious and eager-to-love her human counterparts, endured beatings, doctors surmise, while pregnant with puppies, nearly losing her life.
She was recently found starving in Orlando where, during her daily existence, food and water were used as a form of torture, trickery and torment. Her most basic need was often not met. She couldn’t lap up cool water when she so desperately craved it and needed it for nourishment and nursing.
Not one of her excruciating injuries healed properly, leaving her in permanent discomfort. She can no longer smell since her facial wound was left open to rot after her nose was ripped off of her eternally-trusting sweet face, leaving a lifelong reminder of a painful, vicious past. Scar tissue eventually formed and grew right over her nostrils, essentially sealing them shut, which means she struggles to breathe, often snorting and gasping for air. This also means, she lost her sense of taste, which breaks Stephanie’s heart. “I can put a French fry in front of her, and she’ll eat it. But, poor thing, she has no idea what it tastes like,” she said.
Khaleesi’s legs, spindly and underweight, also healed improperly. She tries to balance on them in repeated, noble attempts. It is impossible for her. She can not control motor function after significant damage to her patellas.
Did we mention most of this systematic abuse happened before she was even a year old? She was a puppy, scared to death and suffering.
But, here’s where the story turns. Khalessi’s past does not define her. It is truly remarkable just how much love Khaleesi has to give, her supply seemingly endless. When her eyes meet yours, and she ambles over to you in her own, endearing, disarming way, you are under her spell.
And then come the questions: What missing nose? What crooked spine? What disabled legs? It simply no longer exists. Her gentle gaze, fueled by inexplicable, instantaneous faith, becomes your reality in her presence. You don’t notice anything except her keen sense of trust. She just knows. She lays her head in your lap and your fingertips become intertwined in her fur. She loves to be touched.
No one will hurt her again. She is now in a comfort zone where her one of her favorite things to do is crawl on the floor and through your lap, while treasure-hunting for treats. Those who meet this kindhearted canine fall in love instantly, craving a cuddle, a moment of genuine connection with the kindest creature. Strangers become family to her. Khaleesi wins hearts.
After all, she’s named after a wildly popular, strong female character in the hit show “Game of Thrones.” Seems fitting that she is the epitome of a gentle warrior. She has certainly gone through battle. And, despite the wounds and scars, she came out on the other side, not just alive, but on a mission of mercy. Somehow this dog survived and doesn’t display a single shred of aggression. She simply wants to fit in – to play, to love, to fulfill her genetic predisposition in the role she was born to play – man’s best friend.