This Disfigured Dog Is Getting Lots of Love as He Recovers After Being Rescued

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Mar. 4 2020, Updated 12:55 p.m. ET

Someone saw a dog with a severely disfigured face wandering the streets and posted his photo in a local Facebook group. It didn't take long for rescuers to swoop in and transform this stray pup's life forever. 

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Phoenix is a pit bull, but you might not know it from looking at him. He has very little fur on his face. His skin seems to have swelled on his snout, and his nose is all but nonexistent. The good people at Skiatook Paws and Claws Animal Rescue in Skiatook, OK, didn't hesitate to take Phoenix in, determined to help a dog who had clearly suffered a great deal.

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When Phoenix was first rescued in November, no one had any idea what this poor pup had been through. It looked like he'd possibly been burned or tortured in some way. In a post on the Skiatook Paws and Claws Facebook page, his rescuers explain that, after several visits to Kansas, where Phenix got the best care from some expert vets, there are a few more answers.

It doesn't seem Phoenix's disfigurement was the direct result of mistreatment from humans, which is good news. Although his rescuers have no idea what his background is or where he came from, his skin condition wasn't caused by bad people doing bad things.

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Doctors took biopsies of his skin, he's seen a special veterinary dermatologist, and he's starting to slowly heal thanks to their hard work. "He chases balls and plays tug-o-war. He even sleeps on his own dog couch," they write. Seems like, despite his health problems, Phoenix is a pretty happy dog!

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Doctors have concluded that Phoenix has a rare autoimmune disease called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). They explain, "This is disease that is diagnosed after all other diseases are ruled out. Because it is an autoimmune disease, his own body attacks itself, making treatment sometimes difficult and tricky."

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With the right treatment, though, SLE can be managed. So it's a good thing Phoenix got to these doctors when he did. The muscles on his head won't grow back, and UV light and sunshine will always be a concern and could cause flare-ups, they write, "so clothes and sunblock are a must." But his condition is manageable with the right treatment.

It's a good thing that a dog in clothes is basically the cutest thing in the world. Phoenix will have so many stylish outfits to choose from; I'm kind of excited for him and his dog clothes style adventure. 

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The rescuers at Skiatook Paws and Claws are doing all they can to make sure that Phoenix recovers beautifully, that his health is managed, and that he remains happy and comfortable. Phoenix is obviously a star, and as soon as his story was shared, it went completely viral. 

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He's now an Instagram sensation with over 180,000 followers, pulling in tens of thousands of likes with each post. There's a PayPal set up where you can donate to his care. Thanks to Skiatook Paws and Claws, Phoenix has a chance at a happy, healthy life. Every animal deserves that.

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