"It’s like, 'Bam! Different dog.'"
For months, a hairless dog named Gardenia wandered the streets of Houston, Texas, looking for help. Then, one night, she spotted a woman in a parking lot and decided to take a chance.
Gardenia approached the stranger, who handed her some food and slipped a leash over her neck.
In search of a foster home for the stray, the rescuer posted a video of Gardenia on Facebook, and Caitie Evers noticed it immediately. “I have become known as the sucker for mange cases,” Evers told The Dodo. “People will send me or tag me in any post about a dog who’s a stray with mange.”
Evers knew that Gardenia’s appearance might be frightening to some, but it most likely hid a sweet dog just wanting to be loved.
Evers picked up Gardenia and brought her home to rest. “When you pick them up off the street like that, all they want to do is is sleep,” Evers said. “So I got her comfortable and got her to the vet right away.”
The vets found that Gardenia was suffering from demodectic mange, a noncontagious form of the skin disease that can be treated easily with medication.
“She had tons of mange all over her, as well as secondary infections from the mange because it had clearly been like that for a while,” Evers said. “It was really bad, her whole back was raw.”
Gardenia was clearly uncomfortable and itchy as the mange healed, and that reflected in her personality. “She was very timid at first,” Evers said. “She would just kind of be there and hang out — she wouldn’t play, she wouldn’t snuggle.”
“The poor girl just looked miserable,” she added. “She looked like she hated life, and had given up.”
But with antibiotics and medicated baths, slowly Gardenia’s fur began to grow back.
As the weeks passed, Gardenia began to feel better and her bubbly personality started to shine through. “She turned into a goofball," Evers said. "She loves to pounce, loves to play and she fell in love with my German shepherd.”
"The first two weeks it’s hard to tell if there’s a change, and then it’s like, 'Bam! Different dog,'" Evers added. "And now she’s so fluffy and beautiful.”
Evers knew it was time to start thinking about finding Gardenia a forever home, and soon her friend Bri Tripaldi mentioned that she was interested in meeting the pup. Tripaldi and her fiancé had been following Gardenia’s story from the beginning, and knew she would make the perfect addition to their family.
“I watched as she came out of her shell and became the sweetest pup," Tripaldi told The Dodo. "We got to go meet her and we instantly fell in love.”
“On our way home from meeting her for the first time, I looked at Jayden and was like, 'She’s the one,'" Tripaldi said. "And boy was I right!”
Now, Gardenia not only looks and acts like a whole new dog — but her life has transformed for the better.