was first discovered living in a shelter by one of the rescue workers at St. Bonnie’s
Sanctuary. At the time, more than 70 percent of the neglected
dog’s body was covered in mange. She was suffering from extreme hair and skin
loss, too. Employees took one look at Gemma when she
arrived at the sanctuary and their hearts broke. An adoption counselor named Jolene felt particularly
connected to her. Would the sanctuary ever be able to help Gemma
become the animal she once was? Jolene and her colleagues knew they needed
to show Gemma as much love as they could. It didn’t appear that the dog had been physically
abused, but her owners clearly didn’t know how to handle all the skin problems she had,
so they abandoned her. The workers discovered firsthand how painful
Gemma’s condition was when they first attempted to give her a bath. She was so sensitive that, when the water
from the faucet touched her skin, she recoiled in pain. In order for workers to bathe Gemma and remove
all the scabbing that had accumulated on her skin, they needed to sedate her so she wouldn’t
feel the excruciating pain. It was at this point they realized she had
demodectic mange, a treatable skin condition caused by mites. Gemma required 24-hour care after she arrived
at the sanctuary. Her condition was so severe that if it wasn’t
constantly monitored by rescue workers, it could begin to spread to other parts of her
body—and they weren’t willing to undo all their progress thus far. In order to ensure the mange stayed away,
Gemma required two or three baths a day. Jolene made sure that Gemma received anything
she needed. The woman was truly smitten with the pup,
and Gemma seemed to appreciate all of Jolene’s attention. Jolene was so infatuated with the German shepherd
that she asked her husband if they could take the dog in for awhile as she slowly recovered
from her injuries. Luckily, her husband agreed, and Gemma found
a temporary home with Jolene… Much to Jolene’s delight, Gemma seemed to
be much more relaxed at her home. She wasn’t scratching her skin as much,
and the tufts of missing fur appeared to be growing back little by little. It was truly a miracle… Gemma’s scabbing was starting to heal as
well, and she began putting on weight again. Jolene was thrilled at the transformation
that was happening right in front of her eyes, and the workers at the sanctuary were excited,
too! Jolene did notice something strange. A few weeks into her recovery, Gemma became
very lethargic. She would spend hours lying on her side, and
she was putting on a lot of weight in her belly area. Little did Jolene know, Gemma had a huge surprise
waiting for her… It turned out Gemma was pregnant! Jolene was shocked by the news, and she rushed
the dog to a veterinarian for an ultrasound. She discovered that Gemma could give birth
at any moment! Sure enough, shortly after the exam, she delivered
a healthy litter of pups—five in all! The puppies were absolutely adorable! Thankfully, they were all as healthy as could
be. Jolene knew she couldn’t take care of an
entire litter, so she put them up for adoption. Not surprisingly, they were all welcomed into
loving homes rather quickly! Jolene knew she would eventually have to find
a home for Gemma, but she wanted to make sure all of the mange was gone. She also wanted to be sure Gemma was completely
off her medication before joining a family who may not know how to properly tend to her
needs. Six months after Gemma entered St. Bonnie’s
Sanctuary, she was a completely different dog. Her beautiful white fur had returned in full
force, and she was always in a happy and playful mood. It was a stark contrast to the dog who was
suffering from mange and neglect. A woman named Janet was one of the first to
respond to Gemma’s adoption ad. After speaking on the phone with a St. Bonnie’s
employee, a meet-and-greet with the family was arranged so Gemma could interact with
her potential new owners. Would they be a good fit? Miraculously, it was a match made in heaven! The family loved Gemma, and the dog reciprocated
the feeling. Just a few days later, once the paperwork
went through, Gemma joined the family where she could begin her new life outside the sanctuary. Today, Gemma is still living with her adopted
family, and she completely dotes on Janet’s son. She loves running around the yard and living
out all of her canine fantasies in the comfort of a loving household. This is such a touching story! It’s people like Jolene and sanctuaries
like St. Bonnie’s that help make the world a better place for our four-legged friends. Watch the video below to learn more about
Gemma, and find out how she’s doing today!