This pit bull was discovered on a sidewalk in Los Angeles, at the end of last summer.

Pit bull was just 26 pounds and infested with ticks and maggots. From her looks and condition, it seemed she’d been on that sidewalk for a long time.

“She was dying when she was found,” says Tami Baumann, president of Ghetto Rescue FFoundation, a rescue group run by Los Angeles police officers. “No one thought she would survive for 24 hours.”

The pit bull was given a name, Spirit Golden Heart, because of the heart-shaped marking on her coat, and because she seemed so determined to live.

“When you look at her, as emaciated as she is and how much she’s hurting and how hungry she is, she is still so sweet.

She looks up at you with those eyes and you know she wants to fight,” GRFF volunteer Alicia Featherstone told a local ABC affiliate at the time.

Spirit was in the hospital for weeks. She got better, bit by bit.