A badly injured pit bull, saved from the horrors of fighting, experiences the warmth of a bath for the first time.

They used him up and then they dumped him, leaving him for dead. But Rambo wasn’t going to let his story end this way. He survived and now he’s continuing to fight for the happy ending he deserves.

Rambo was found by the Every Life Matters Animal Rescue in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on March 23. Casey Lawrence, one of the rescue’s board members and a real estate agent, stumbled upon Rambo after getting lost while showing a property.

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The dog was found in the woods, surrounded by animal carcasses. He was cold and his body was going into shock, but thankfully Lawrence arrived just when he needed someone who cared to save him.

Had it not been for Lawrence’s own mistake, Rambo more than likely wouldn’t have found the help he desperately needed.

From there, Rambo was taken to the Baxter Veterinary Clinic, where his wounds were gently cleaned out.

Doctors worked to get him stabilized and, by his second day in their hands, Rambo was already sitting up and wagging his tail.

He also showed interest in eating …

… and seemed generally at ease in his new surroundings.

However, Rambo wasn’t out of the woods just yet.

“His injuries suggest that he’s probably a bait dog,” Dr. James Doyle at Baxter told local news outlet WCCB.

Bait dogs are cruelly used as practice targets for fight dogs in training – the bait dogs typically get tied to a tree or pole with their mouths taped shut or teeth filed down so they aren’t able to fight back when attacked. As a result, bait dogs tend to be very submissive, and that’s exactly how Rambo’s been described.

“They’re not aggressive dogs and that’s why they’re used as bait dogs,” Doyle said, “because they’re not any good at fighting.”

Eventually, Rambo was transferred from the Baxter Veterinary Clinic to Charlotte Animal Referral & Emergency (CARE) for further treatment.

“Both hindlimbs have suffered trauma likely due to ties around his ankles,” CARE wrote in a Facebook update on Rambo’s condition. “He is a trooper and will wag his tail and give kisses despite the abuse he has endured.”

Currently, Rambo is in recovery from the first of several operations to come.

But there appears to be hope for a good prognosis. In the meantime, Rambo seems more than content to soak up all the love he gets.

Not to mention cuddle with his favorite stuffed animal.

South Carolina officials are currently investigating Rambo’s case and believe the site where he was found in the woods could be an animal dump site, possibly for other bait dogs.

Rambo’s certainly living up to his namesake as a tough guy. Despite all that he’s been through, he’s still keeping his head up, with plenty of kisses to spare. He won’t give the people who did this to him the satisfaction of going out with a whimper.
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