In 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast. The storm destroyed homes, took lives, and left entire neighborhoods in shambles for months. Six-month-old Ava, a terrier mix, survived the storm, but the worst was yet to come for her.
Just one week after the hurricane passed through Houston, Ava was shot point-blank in her right eye. When her attacker saw that she was still alive, they tried to beat her to death with a hammer. Ava survived both attacks but was left to suffer without care for weeks. By the time someone finally turned Ava over to Houston BARC, her wounds had been left untreated for so long that they had already started to heal on their own.
At this time, Houston’s shelters and rescues had their hands full dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The city’s stray dogs needed shelter, as well as pets who had been separated from their families. The need was so great that temporary shelters had to be set up to accommodate them all. Still, when rescuers with Houston Pets Alive saw the poor little pup, they didn’t hesitate to pull her from the city shelter and get her the help she needed.
HPA was told that Ava would need multiple surgeries – 4 on the same day, totaling more than $6,000. Her injuries made it difficult for her to eat, hear, and see. Even with the city at its lowest point, with many people struggling to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Harvey, they managed to raise the money for Ava’s care.
Two days after she arrived at the rescue, she met her new foster mom and dad, Kilyn and Fransisco. They would open their home to Ava and show her all the love she had missed out on so far and make her as comfortable as possible until she could have her surgeries. Even after the abuse she had suffered, Ava was a sweet, happy girl, and her foster family soon found that the name “Bubbles” better suited her.
That November, after weeks of being left untreated, Bubbles finally underwent surgery. She spent three hours on the operating table. Doctors removed the bullet, which was still lodged under the skin behind her right ear. A section of her jawbone had to be removed so she could open and close her mouth and eat normally. Then, doctors removed a section of her right ear canal, which had been damaged by the bullet.
Kilyn and Fransisco waited on pins and needles to hear how her surgeries had gone. When they were finally able to see her after surgery, she walked right over to Fransisco and curled up in his lap. By that point, he and Kilyn were already sure that they wanted Bubbles to stay with them forever.
“She loves to cuddle and fall asleep in your lap. As soon as we knew that it was a good match, we applied for her adoption.”
The following summer, she was ready to be adopted, and Kilyn and Fransisco got to officially welcome her home. But even after becoming an official member of the family, Bubbles’s journey wasn’t over. They found that her teeth were boring holes into her mouth, and her eye still needed attention. Even so, her family stood by her side as she endured two more mouth surgeries and a procedure on her right eye.
Through it all, Bubbles stayed the same sweet, happy dog the family had fallen in love with. She fits into their home perfectly. Along with mom and dad, she now has five brothers and sisters, Tikka, Dora, Buster, Dash, and a human brother she absolutely adores! They spend their days playing and snuggling up together.
If Bubbles’s past wasn’t written all over her face, you might never know that she had ever been abused or neglected. She’s missing her right eye and her teeth peek out of her right lip, but she wears an adorable lopsided smile on that face. Her upbeat attitude inspires her thousands of Instagram followers, and she stands as proof that a little positivity can carry you a long way.
Bubbles has become an ambassador for dogs who have suffered abuse – and she does it with flair! She and mom appeared in 2020’s Pin-Ups for Pit Bulls Calendar, she brings awareness to other adoptable dogs, and she often makes appearances around the Houston area in support of local rescues.
It’s difficult to think that Bubbles’ life might have ended at only six-months-old. The world might have missed out on all the love, joy, and happiness she has given her family and followers since. Her attacker was never caught, but Bubbles doesn’t waste time wondering what if – she is too busy looking forward to a brighter, happier future with her new family.
Featured Photo: @khbubbles/IG