Meet Khalessi, a young pit bull in Florida who's endured nightmarish abuse but lived to wag her tail.
Stephanie Paquin, the founder and director of the dog fostering group Passion 4 Pits, told BuzzFeed News she and her husband, Mike Fleury, rescued Khalessi from an Orlando shelter on Aug. 8.
The pair had been at the shelter to pick up another unwanted pit bull set to be euthanized, when the shelter manager asked if they'd be prepared to take in a very special dog.
The dog, who's believed to be under 2 years old, had been found dumped on the lawn of a senior citizen's house some three days before.
Paquin, a veterinary assistant, said she was warned before she met Khalessi that the dog had been physically deformed as a result of the abuse she had suffered, but she and her husband were still overcome with emotion when they laid eyes on her.
"We met her and I just immediately started to cry," Paquin said. "Her eyes are so happy and she's so joyful to get any attention. She's wriggling and her tail is wagging, but you can see the damage that has been done to her face."
"She was so happy, but I was trying so hard just to keep it together."
The Orlando vet told Paquin that Khalessi had been "systematically abused" over a long time, with the dog missing a nose and sinus cavity, as well as suffering a broken back, broken ribs, and hind legs that no longer work.
"Throughout her short life, someone has been abusing and torturing this girl on a daily basis," Paquin said.
The homeowner who first called animal services wasn't able to get a good look at the car that dumped Khalessi, giving police little to go off in their search.
Paquin said she hopes that news coverage of Khalessi's story will lead to someone recognizing the dog so that her abuser can be found.
"At some point, she was someone's dog early on in life, because she's house trained," Paquin said.
Paquin and her shelter are trying to fundraise to pay for several surgeries the dog will need, the most urgent of which will involve building her a new nasal cavity. She will also need medical treatment to reconstruct her hind legs.
Khalessi's new owner says the pup surprises people who stare at her with how "super friendly" she can be.