Rilind, Jacksonville, FL

Hi! I’m Rilind. I was named Rilind because it means rebirth or reincarnation. I earned this name as I’ve begun the long road to recovery.

I was dumped like garbage over a fence of a local animal shelter in Clay County. The shelter workers saw me being tossed and when they took a look at me, I was very near death. I was severely emaciated and dying.

Shelter volunteers voiced their extreme concern for my life and their pleas finally made it to Jennifer Watson, founder of Pit Sisters, a rescue based in Jacksonville, FL. She had no idea the condition she would find me in was so severe. The pictures prepared no one for what they were about to see. I was literally at death’s doorstep.

That was the day after Christmas in 2011.

Through tears and prayers, I was rushed to the vet. I was covered in urine, feces and fleas. Every single bone of my skeleton was visible. It was all I could manage to lift my head and give Jen, my rescuer, one single, solitary kiss showing my appreciation.

The staff at Lakewood San Jose Animal Hospital had never seen such an extreme case of neglect and abuse. My temperature was so low it would not register. My gums were completely white and my red blood cell count frighteningly low. Dr. Morley advised that I immediately undergo a blood transfusion

Jen knew the perfect donor; one of Pit Sisters’ own rescue pups, Alta, who coincidentally was being boarded at the same vet awaiting her new home. Alta was eager to do her part to help me. I owe her my life.

The blood transfusion appears to have been successful although my red blood cell count is still less than half of what it should be. It was also discovered that I had a pretty severe case of heartworms. Due to my extreme condition, it is unknown whether my hair loss can be attributed to a skin ailment or if it’s due to malnutrition.

Even though my body was fragile, I have a very strong spirit. I’m a fighter. The love and attention I’ve received from strangers has helped. Some people came to take photos of me. They also brought along some cute costumes for me to try on.

I never have so many people pay attention to me. I just closed my eyes and enjoy the feeling of love that these people showered me with. There’s nothing like being loved.

After further tests by the doctors, I was diagnosed with EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency), a pancreatic disorder. It is a disease where the pancreas does not have the enzymes required to allow me to absorb food.

I now live with my foster family who love me very much. I also get weekly vet visits, and I have to eat special food with enzyme powder sprinkled on! I am now on special food and enzyme supplement that should help me start gaining weight.

Once I’ve completely stabilized, then the humans will be able to treat my heartworms.

Many people told me that I’ve been through so much and I’ve inspired people around the world through my Facebook page, Rilind Reborn. They call me the ultimate poster child for not judging based on appearances, especially because people assumed I was abused because of the condition I was found.

I even was voted Pit Bull of the Year by fans in Cesar Millan’s magazine, Cesar’s Way, and walked the red carpet for Beyond the Myth movie event! And I was dressed like a movie star! 🙂

But I’m just a dog who for the first time in my life know what love means. To have people care about me, to be healthy and happy, and to not be afraid anymore.

The best part of my days now is to just sit and face the sun. I can close my eyes and take in the sunlight. (Like when my humans took me to the beach!) And that feels great.

I’m definitely not a monster…although my humans like to dress me up in funny costumes. 🙂

Thank you for loving me!

p.s. Oh, and the special food with enzyme in it? It worked! I’m looking healthier and my funny clothes now fit me so much better!

Of course, the mounting cost of vet bills for me is crippling for the newly-formed Pit Sisters. They gave me a chance at life! You can donate via PayPal to help. Thank you!