Meet Mona Lisa, one of the most determined and courageous dogs you will ever see.
Mona the Pit Bull was found in Philadelphia as a stray. A volunteer sent a heartbreaking photo to Speranza Animal Rescue, who acted immediately to go and rescue the pup from the streets.
Melanie, a member of the team, went to collect Mona from the shelter, expecting to be confronted with a sad, shy, nervous dog. But she found the opposite! She writes in LifeWithDogs:
When she walked towards me I fell to my knees and just broke down. However instead of meeting a scared dog – she had the biggest smile on her face – a beautiful smile – I knew right then that her name would be Mona Lisa.
It's unfortunately clear that Mona was used as a bait dog, suffering tragic disfigurement to the face and scarring on her body.
She stayed at a veterinary clinic getting surgery before she finally arrived at Speranza Animal Rescue.
Her happy smile continues to brighten up her face, proof of her resilience and determination against the odds. Despite an obviously painful past, she has been able to put this behind her and live happily with humans once more.
Today, Mona Lisa is a unique ambassador for Pit Bulls everywhere. She regularly visits nursing homes and attends events with Speranza Animal Rescue, helping to bring more recognition to the tragic reality of fighting dogs.
There's no doubt about it: Mona is a very special pup with a wonderful new life ahead of her, far away from the cruelty and suffering of her past.
If you're interested, you can help dogs like Mona Lisa by donating to Speranza Rescue.