Wacku the rescue dog is showing what is possible with a forgiving heart and a strong spirit.

By Phillip Mlynar

The canine spent the first two years of his life as a guard dog for a taxi stand owner in the Philippines. In 2012, while on duty, he was senselessly attacked by a drunk man with a machete, who cut off the dog’s snout.

Courtesy Liesl Wilhardt/Luvable Dog Rescue

Following the incident, Wacku’s owner rushed the dog to a veterinary teaching hospital at the University of Eastern Philippines. Wacku survived his injuries, even though he lost a lot of blood before arriving at the school.

(Picture Credit: Instagram)

Still in need of special care, Wacku was later taken to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). The act of cruelty the dog endured got the attention of PAWS’ executive director, Anna Cabrera, who saw the friendly dog as the ideal mascot for PAWS’ work to amend the Philippine Animal Welfare Act of 1998.

Cabrera took Wacku directly to the politicians who had the power to make a difference and a hearing at the House of Representatives.

Wacku’s mutilated face and his heartbreaking story got the reaction PAWS hoped for. The Philippine government amended the country’s Animal Welfare Act in October of 2013, increasing fines and jail time for animal abusers.

Wacku spent five years with PAWS, helping the Philippines’ neglected and abused animals get justice, but unable to find a forever home for himself.

Courtesy Liesl Wilhardt/Luvable Dog Rescue

Eventually, Liesl Wilhardt, the founder and executive director of Luvable Dog Rescue in Eugene, Oregon, learned about Wacku and his struggles, both with his injuries and finding an adoptive family, through SPCA International, which shared Wacku’s story throughout the U.S.

Since she had experience caring for abused and neglected dogs with physical differences and challenges at her rescue.

She felt confident she could provide Wacku with a great forever home, and PAWS agreed.

The gentle and tolerant dog, who endured an early life checkered with abuse, was easily accepted by Wilhardt’s other dogs and quickly adored by his new owner and her human friends.

What amazed Wilhardt most about Wacku’s transition was the dog’s ability to adjust to his injuries and rapidly learn to love again.

Courtesy Liesl Wilhardt/Luvable Dog Rescue

“I love Wacku so much! I admire his courage and resilience. Despite what happened to him, he loves and trusts people and has found joy in living. I am amazed at his ability to forgive. He’s a true survivor,” Wilhardt said.

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