A hairless, illness-stricken Rottweiler that escaped from the brink of death thanks to the attentive care of a British expatriate in Taiwan has recently been crowned the winner in the “Best Transformation” category of this year’s Ruffs, an annual award held by the UK’s leading animal welfare charity, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
The dog, nicknamed Tiny, was abandoned on the streets of Taiwan and left in a terribly emaciated state when Sean McCormack, the founder of a New Taipei City-based animal shelter called The Sanctuary, came to its rescue in August 2012, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
“At first, I thought he was a mastiff, because he was in such a bad state that it wasn’t clear to me what breed he really was,” McCormack was quoted as saying. “But my friend Jeff, who has two very lucky rescued Rottweilers, knew right away that Tiny was a Rottie.”
Tiny started making a smooth recovery under McCormack’s care and the medical care of the Yang Ming Veterinary Clinic in Taipei City’s Shilin District (士林).
Although Rottweilers are large dogs that are known for their aggression, volunteers at the sanctuary said Tiny was an “affable giant whose gentle disposition melted their hearts away.”
“We knew we could cure him, but were astounded at what a fantastic dog had been hidden beneath the disease and depression that riddled him when he first came in,” McCormack was quoted as saying.
Tiny’s miraculous recovery allowed him to win the Ruffs’ “Best Transformation” title with about 180,000 votes. His transformation was so startling that some netizens even questioned whether the before and after photographs of Tiny were fake.
McCormack founded the animal sanctuary after he moved to Taiwan about 15 years ago. However, the more than 200 rescued animals living in the sanctuary could become homeless again, as his landlord plans to sell the property.
“We are starting an IndieGoGo campaign and hoping to use Tiny’s story and Ruffs victory to help bring international attention to our plight,” he said.
Additional reporting by Chen Wei-tsung