In Spanish, libre means free.
But when little Libre was surrendered to the Lancaster SPCA on Independence Day earlier this month, freedom was not something that he'd ever experienced. His horrific condition spoke volumes about the life he was forced to lead, and it was not a good one. Up to that point, he'd never been able to free himself from physical and emotional pain.
When volunteers from Speranza Animal Rescue found the little guy, their hearts broke when they saw the condition he was in. Although all hope seemed to be lost when they first laid eyes on Libre, the pup's current state paints a far more inspiring picture.
Warning: Libre's condition upon arriving at the shelter may be shocking to some readers.
This is Libre. When he arrived, rescuers really didn't know if he'd make it through the night.
He was weak and his skin smelled like it was literally rotting away.
He couldn't even stand on his own, and his entire body was essentially an open wound.
Janine Guido, the director of Speranza Animal Rescue, was absolutely disgusted that the pup was surrendered in such awful condition.
Worse still was the fact that a breeder gave him up, which means that many more dogs could've been living in constant pain on that woman's watch.
But all they could do at that point was make sure that the dog they were able to help received everything he needed.
The first vet who saw Libre told Guido to give up. She refused.
That's when the dedicated woman took him to Dillsburg Veterinary Center in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.
They vowed to do everything they could to make him feel comfortable and loved, which they hoped would get him on the road to recovery.
Much to everyone's surprise, the little dog kept fighting.
The further these veterinarians delved into Libre's case, the more horrific it became.
He needed an intense round of antibiotics, and there were maggots living in his skin.
Despite being abused and neglected, he gladly welcomed love and affection from staffers.
And they gave him plenty of it.
With some help from generous donors, like the little girl pictured here, they were able to give Libre everything he needed.
The little guy was spoiled rotten, just as he should have been all his life.
After days of rigorous care, the determined dog rose to his feet.
Although he experienced plenty of setbacks, he kept pushing forward.
A little bit of light came back to Libre's eyes, which were marred by corneal ulcers.
The nugget certainly wasn't starved for attention anymore!
Day after day, Libre continued to improve.
His recovery was slow, but steady.
Because he had so many wounds, it was very important to keep him in a sterile environment.
Heartbreakingly, the same woman surrendered Libre's mother. She was also in very poor condition.
While rescuers are so thrilled that Libre's on the mend, Guido is still horrified with how the case is being handled by the SPCA center to which he and his mother were given.
A representative from the Lancaster SPCA said that the organization will not be pressing charges against the breeder.
The rep explained to LancasterOnline that they cannot prove "beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual willingly and knowingly grossly neglected care for the animal intending to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm.”
But how is that even possible? Libre and his mother clearly suffered at the hands of an abuser.
How else would they have gotten so sick?
That's exactly what Guido wants to know. As she explained to the same site, "I don’t know how [Libre] could have been in worse condition."
Although it's unfair, she's just happy that her favorite little guy is healing.
She's even happier, however, that she will be the one taking him home. She promised him that if he healed, he'd have a forever home with her. She's not going back on that.
He's finally well enough to run and play!
Instead of heartbreak, Libre now has nothing but love, kisses, and plenty of sunshine on the horizon.