When Jay, an American bulldog, was found abandoned near Battle Creek, Michigan, in September, rescuers say it was clear what abuse she had endured.
“She had a weighted chain around her neck that she had clearly broken off,” Hilary Spala, a volunteer with Kalamazoo Animal Rescue, told WOOD8. “Open sores all over her body some with larvae growing in them. Her ears were almost completely ripped off. She had bite marks on her face and duct tape residue around her muzzle.”
Because of that, Spala said Jay — initially named Ice — “had been used as a bait dog in a fighting ring in Kalamazoo,” WOOD8 reported.
That means she probably was tied down and attacked by other dogs for training before they went into the fighting ring, WWMT reported.
But despite what she endured in her past, the 3-year-old dog has found a way to help others.
Just ask Kristy Grimes, who was looking for a service dog for her 6-year-old son, William, who has anxiety, according to Fox17. She arranged a meeting with Jay through the Kalamazoo Animal Rescue after seeing a picture of the dog, she said, and the rest was history.
“Jay pretty much knocked (William) over and licked his face,” Grimes told Fox17. “My son’s like ‘Yup, I like her. We’ll take her’ and it was just her happiness.”
Jay was adopted earlier in November, now living with Grimes, her three children and her husband in Lansing, according to WWMT.
For Grimes, whose mother died in July, the dog couldn’t have come at a better time, Fox17 reported.
“Right now is kind of a stressful, tough time for us,” she told the TV station. “We knew we needed to do something because my son William ... wasn’t doing good and we wanted a dog that would be with him no matter what happened.”
Grimes said she hopes that William — who “doesn’t play with other kids on the playground because he is scared they are going to talk to him” — will find a reliable friend in Jay, according to WOOD8.
“He struggles a lot,” she told the TV station. “He has a sensory processing disorder, anxiety, ADHD and all of that just causes his anxiety levels to be super high.”
So far, she’s pretty optimistic that Jay will provide William with valuable life lessons.
“I want her to teach my son that even when stuff is scary, you can still live a full life,” she told Fox17. “That you can still be happy and loving and not tied down by your fears all the time.”
As Jay ventures into a new chapter of her life, Spala looked back on her stunning turnaround.
“From bait dog to service dog,” She told WWMT. “People let her down ... and she never give up on people.”