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Eight months ago, two Pit Bull puppies were rescued from a horrifying scene of backyard neglect.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey described it as “one of the most evil acts of animal cruelty he’s ever seen.” Both dogs – renamed Baloo and Mowgli after The Jungle Book – are now unrecognizable from the emaciated pups pulled from the brink of death last fall.

This is the story of what happens after the dramatic rescue as two dogs fight to survive and thrive.

Sometime around the end of September 2016, Daniel Compton Puranda and Catherine Oyuela packed up their Palm Bay, Florida home and moved away.

They left their two puppies in the cluttered yard with nothing but a bowl of water. Faithful and trusting, the dogs did not bark or try to break free.

Even when Hurricane Matthew came through and pounded them with rain, wind and flying debris; even when their water ran out and their bones began to protrude from starvation; they continued to wait for their owners to come home.

About a month after their abandonment, neighbors alerted the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office that they had not seen puppies Puranda and Oyuela in several weeks.

What officers found when they entered the fenced yard shocked and infuriated them. The dogs were nothing but skin and bone.

Mowgli was able to greet his rescuers, but Baloo was too weak to stand. On a scale of one to 10 – with 10 being perfectly healthy and zero being dead – veterinarians rated their condition at a one.

Thanks to the expert care they received from Brevard Animal Services, they were back on their paws after just two weeks!

Their physical transformations were nothing short of miraculous, but their emotional journies were a different story. While Mowgli’s psyche seemed to heal along with his body, Baloo was not so lucky. The betrayal by his previous owners had broken his spirit.

Mowgli found a wonderful adoptive home, but Baloo was not ready. Although rescuers had healed his body, reinforcements were needed to heal his wounded soul.

Opportunity Barks and Ambassador Bullies Dog Training helped Baloo rebuild his confidence and learn to trust again.

When his photos appeared in a post by Friends For Animals Sanctuary; Rick and Dagi Murray fell in love at first sight. They welcomed him into their family where he is now living happily ever after with the adoring couple and two rescue cat siblings!

“Baloo has opened our eyes and hearts to a whole new world,” said Rick. “His emotional and physical scars are still there, but that just makes Baloo, Baloo.”

The Murrays hope that Baloo’s story will help inspire others to take a chance on fostering and adopting pets from abusive situations.

They are continuing to bolster his confidence with training classes and he is currently working to obtain his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate.

While Mowgli and Baloo’s ordeal is finally over; their former owners’ is just beginning.

Puranda and Oyuela are facing up to five years in jail on animal abuse and neglect charges. Their trial is expected to occur in September.

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