“Skeleton” Dog Is Unrecognizable After Surviving A Lifetime Of Intentional Starvation

An adorable, resilient Chihuahua mix named Henry has made national headlines after surviving a lifetime of abuse and neglect. His story has inspired many who might never have believed that this five-pound “little skeleton” could be such a fighter.

Henry was one of seven dogs found enslaved by heavy metal chains in the yard of a Windsor, North Carolina, woman’s home. Before the rescue, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) had visited this particular home several times.

Despite being given free food and supplies, the previous owner of these sweet dogs intentionally and purposefully deprived them of their essential needs and rights, including food, water, proper shelter, and medical care. The condition that Henry and his co-habitants were found in at the time of their rescue was nothing short of horrific.


“When PETA’s team first saw him, Henry weighed less than 5 pounds and was trapped on a chain, surrounded by six much larger dogs chained nearby,” said PETA. “The tiny, malnourished dog had been forced to live on a chain that likely weighed more than he did… 24/7 in all weather extremes, deprived of everything that dogs need and deserve to be happy and healthy.”

In addition to the seven living dogs, PETA workers also found the skeletal remains of a black Pitbull named Minnie inside a shanty doghouse. She was still attached to a heavy chain. PETA’s medical staff performed a necropsy, proving that Minnie had died from starvation and extreme neglect. There was no doubt in the minds of Henry’s rescuers that, without their intervention, he would have suffered a similar fate.

Fortunately, PETA was granted ownership of Henry, while the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office removed the remaining dogs from the home. And in a rom-com-style twist of fate, Henry was adopted by a sweet, older woman named Doreen Dykes on the very day of his rescue (following medical care and evaluation, of course).

“Doreen just happened to be visiting on the day that PETA rescued Henry from a squalid property in North Carolina,” said PETA officials. “Henry now enjoys daily walks with Doreen, ample affection and space to lounge in their backyard flower garden, and lots of room to play safely indoors.”

Following his adoption, Henry was treated for heartworm disease, a nasty condition spread by mosquitoes in which an infestation of worms quite literally inhabits the heart. He has also nearly doubled in weight since his rescue and is now spoiled rotten by his loving new mom.


PETA officials are using Henry’s survival story to inspire other pet owners who may not understand the potential morbidities of keeping their pets in such conditions. They are also in the process of petitioning Bertie County Officials to change the laws regarding ownership of outdoor pets:

“PETA is urging Bertie County officials to ban 24/7 tethering of dogs, which is the best way to help ensure that no other animals suffer as these dogs did,” said PETA’s Senior VP Daphna Nachminovitch.

While the whereabouts of the other rescues are currently unknown, we can only hope that they are thriving in the same manner as sweet Henry. The woman responsible for this outrageous story of neglect has since been arrested and charged with seven counts of animal cruelty.