Blooming Violet :: Petals Emerging

This series of posts entitled “Blooming Violet” will take us through the journey of Violet transforming from a tragically abused dog into the mighty dog deep inside her.   If you don’t know Violet’s story, she was a neglected Boerboel Mastiff that was starved, confined and dumped on the side of the road in Clinton, MD.  She was so emaciated, she only weighed 56 lbs when she was rescued by Mutts Matters Rescue. Boerboel Mastiff females usually weigh between 150-200 pounds.  Violet is currently in care of her amazing foster mom, Debbie Gertz, who specializes in caring for dogs in extreme cases like this.  Donations toward Violet’s care and recovery can be made at the Mutts Matter Rescue website and regular updates on Violet can be found on the Saving Violet Facebook page. There is a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest of her abusers.


Like Spring emerging; so is Violet’s personality as it comes out with the sunshine.  She’s no longer the scared, shy, broken dog we were first was introduced to.  Her confidence is unbelievably stronger, she’s adventuring to play and show her true dog traits,  and the beautiful statuesque dog we all knew was hiding is making her debut.  She is bonding  and connecting with people she meets and has become close with her brother Ace.  Shortly after taking these photographs, Violet weighed in at 104 pounds!

I have sat retyping over and over what I should say…How do I explain the latest stages I have witnessed in Violet?  All that  kept popping in my head is the old cliche….”A picture is worth a thousand words.”  I give up…Because for me, this saying was created for the following series of  pictures you will see.  Simply said and with no need for much more in words…

This is happiness.

This is joy.

This is love.

This is a dog’s heart and bond.

This is what caring creates.

This is making a difference.

This is the face of rescue.

This is why mutts matter.

happiness is

violet chasing ace


violet playing in yarddog-rolling-in-grass

violet posing

shelley-castle-dog-rolling-in-grassthis is loveshelley-castle-mastiff-struttingdog-getting-petted

blooming violet

The next blog post promises to be a very special one!   Stay tuned and thank you again for being such an important part of Violet’s journey!

April 7, 2016 - 11:10 am

Dorian R. Petkovich - Majestic beauty precious life❤️

April 7, 2016 - 11:27 am

Jim St Gelais - Thank you for this .. Nice to see such good news and a “happy” ending nowadays !!!!

April 7, 2016 - 11:37 am

Donna Norris - I have major tears of joy. She is a beautiful creature and each time you post I am truly amazed at her recovery. Violet is my Grandmas name whom I truly miss and like your Violet she was strong and persevering.
I am a Mastiff lover/owner they are truly amazing companions. I look forward to the next update! Way to go!!!!

April 7, 2016 - 12:11 pm

Dee Dee Henzler Eberle - Shelley Castle Erickson, I am in love with this precious girl. I am in love with the people who have dedicated their time and effort and care to bringing her back to life. I am in love with each and every picture you have posted. Truly, each worth a thousand words. :o)

April 7, 2016 - 12:26 pm

Debbie Gretz - So wonderful Shelley! Those pictures just speak volumes. I don’t know that words could do them justice. Pure happiness to see her having so much fun!

April 7, 2016 - 3:14 pm

Nikki Toledo - Pure joy. This was such a wonderful post. Your pictures fill my heart.

April 7, 2016 - 3:16 pm

Melanie Samet - Tears of joy. Great blog . I’m so excited for her to enter the stage of her journey

April 7, 2016 - 3:28 pm

Tiffany Ann Poole - So blessed for all of you that have given Violet a second chance!!!

April 7, 2016 - 3:30 pm

Kimberly Kunka Garr - Tears of joy! I look forward to each and every new posting of this beautiful girl. A true reflection of love.

April 7, 2016 - 3:30 pm

Cindy See - What a beauty. Thank you more than words can express for your tender care and endless love.

April 7, 2016 - 3:33 pm

Terry Kuehner - What a beauty! <3

April 7, 2016 - 3:35 pm

Kristin Tellekamp-Reph - We have 2 beautiful mastiffs Sampson and Delilah and are so happy to see Violet doing so well she is beautiful.we love the gentle giants

April 7, 2016 - 3:35 pm

Alexa Carnibella - YOU are an angel!

April 7, 2016 - 3:36 pm

Martha Gray - These are wonderful – she gets to finally enjoy life and be a dog! Thank you!

April 7, 2016 - 3:38 pm

Bobbi Combs - Miracles do come true! Violets care givers are true Angels.

April 7, 2016 - 3:40 pm

Stacie Denniston - Never in my life has there been a beautiful dog ( including my own which I love immensely!)I will see a violet and smile the rest of my life thinking of her.

April 7, 2016 - 3:44 pm

Susanne Mårtensson - There are tears of happiness in my eyes. Beautiful, beautiful Violet❤️❤️❤️❤️

April 7, 2016 - 3:44 pm

Mary Marshall - OMG she’s gorgeous!!! Just look at her sweet face <3

April 7, 2016 - 3:48 pm

Maggie Tzamalis Savage - You are wonderful & She is beautiful :)

April 7, 2016 - 3:49 pm

Holly Galbraith Werner - <3

April 7, 2016 - 3:53 pm

Sari Donaldson - It’s great seeing how far Violet has come in a few months. Love seeing her finally enjoying life and being a happy dog.

April 7, 2016 - 3:54 pm

Kim Kamin - <3 <3 <3!!!

April 7, 2016 - 3:55 pm

Kim Kamin - <3 <3 <3 !!!!!!!!!

April 7, 2016 - 3:55 pm

Jeannie Demetrio - Absolutely beautiful! <3

April 7, 2016 - 3:55 pm

Sharon Chaffee - I love her story, I love Violet (mwah), and love what you do! All dogs deserve love. Thank you for giving her the true meaning of love.

April 7, 2016 - 3:59 pm

Tina Norman - Beautiful girl and beautiful story. Thank you and all the rescuers and rehabilitators out there who work so hard to help the helpless. God bless.

April 7, 2016 - 4:01 pm

Lindsay DuRoss - Beautiful photos! Oustanding job!

April 7, 2016 - 4:06 pm

Kathryn Eleanore - Such incredibly lovely pictures. You are a wonderful photographer, Violet is a precious pup, and Debbie is an angel. Thank you so much for this. :)

April 7, 2016 - 4:08 pm

Tricia Carroll - Soooooo heart-warming to see her looking healthy and so happy and playful :) It still breaks my heart to see her first sad pictures.

April 7, 2016 - 4:11 pm

Connie L Potter - Such a precious girl Violet!. And the wonderful….wonderful people showing you love and healing her insdie and out! Thank you for what you are doing for Violet!!!

April 7, 2016 - 4:12 pm

Dougjenshane Hubbard - I can’t stop looking at her photos!! Hard to believe that’s the same dog. This organization and the people surrounding Voilet are amazing!!! Thank you for doing what you do!! In a world with so many negative headlines, I very much look forward to the positive posts about Violet. She’s amazing!!!!!

April 7, 2016 - 4:13 pm

LuAnn Ramsier Thrasher - The cherry trees aren’t the only thing blossuming!!! What a beautiful girl! I see the Mastiff qualities shining through now…Thank you so much for what you’re doing and thanks for sharing. I recently lost my Bentley (English Mastiff). He was ten:-) Helps to see Violet doing so well..again, thank you!

April 7, 2016 - 4:18 pm

Dawne Aycock - Look at those beautiful eyes, and those jowlies… just made for kisses! I too am in love with this precious girl, and it is so exciting to see her blossom!

April 7, 2016 - 4:33 pm

Amber Starr Mitchell-Miller - Hard to believe it took less than two months to get her life turned around! These pictures really illustrate the true Boerboel breed, she has the alertness, the trot, the goofies and the determination that all make this breed one of a kind! God bless you all for everything you’ve done for her!

April 7, 2016 - 4:41 pm

Jenni Heffner - how wonderful that she has her mojo back … it like she is floating with joy! love and kindness always wins:)

April 7, 2016 - 5:01 pm

Allen Prewitt - Wow, Shelley Castle Erickson Violet looks like a different dog!! She looks so happy and healthy and your photos really make her shine. Great job.

April 7, 2016 - 6:02 pm

Betty Knabe - What a beautiful girl! I have been following Violet from day one and I am so happy to see her healing and to see her happy and playing. Her personality is really developing. Having adopted a rescue myself, I cannot thank enough to everyone that is involved in this cutie’s life. Thank you Mutts Matter and a huge thank you to her fabulous foster Debbie. Love the pics and update….

April 7, 2016 - 6:08 pm

Sherry Nicolaas - She is special, and so beautiful. So happy she got her happy ever after. Bless you what a precious pretty girl ❤ loves,hugs,kisses Beautiful. ….

April 7, 2016 - 6:11 pm

Kimberly Coleman - Love you Violet! Watching you heal makes my heart super happy!

April 7, 2016 - 7:08 pm

Jeanie Kaufman - It is a joy to see these pictures. She looks like my 3yo granddog, Nelson. Thank you again for posting these pix and to Debbie Gertz for her loving care

April 7, 2016 - 7:09 pm

Darlene Wilson - She looks beautiful. You can see the happiness and joy in her eyes now!!! God Bless Mutts Matter and everyone who has supported Violet on this excruciating journey back to healthyness :) May she be loved and spoiled rotten for the rest of her life <3 <3

April 7, 2016 - 7:12 pm

Elizabeth Quinn - What a beautiful soul! Thank you to her foster family for all their tender loving care…and especially her foster siblings, giving her confidence and teaching her to play. What a special family.

April 7, 2016 - 7:22 pm

Liz Sander - This story keeps getting better & better. Between Mutts Matter, the kind & compassionate foster Mom & the beautiful photography & blog, this story has touched my heart. You all are doing an amazing job in saving such an innocent puppy. This world is so lucky to have you all. I look forward to reading the next blog and seeing more pics of the amazing Violet. Thank you all for saving her & sharing her story with us. Love, kindness & compassion win out over cruelty.

April 7, 2016 - 8:40 pm

Karen Stahl - What angels you all have been to this animal. God bless everyone….especially Violet! BEAUTIFUL! This made my day.

April 7, 2016 - 9:28 pm

Nina Dalle - Precious Violet, you bring us so much joy and happiness. I remember your first out door picture where Debbie had to sit by you as you weren’t used to fresh air…. you’ve come such a long way. May every day be more fun than the one before. Forever grateful to your gift of life!

April 7, 2016 - 10:49 pm

Dawn Marie - She looks so happy and relaxed….a true testiment to her wonderful team of supporters; and her fabulous foster family. WOW – Love Love Love

April 7, 2016 - 11:13 pm

Lori Wilson - You have done a beautiful job caring for her. I had a neglected underweight rescue boy before, Pete, and I felt honored to be part of his healing and learning to trust again.

April 8, 2016 - 12:27 am

Tracie Peschke - She looks amazing!!!!!! Thank you to everyone with Mutts Matter to give Violet the love and attention she deserves! XO

April 8, 2016 - 3:36 am

Julie Anna Tebo - She is a beauty and I know my Violet that passed is in her and lives ,she has a love that glows I know she will have a glorious journey!!! I look forward to following her life ahead.

April 8, 2016 - 7:37 pm

Jeanie kaufman - So happy that Violet has a forever home My heart is sad for Debbie Gertz who lovingly nursed Violet back to health. I will miss seeing Violet online Thank you for the beautiful photos

Blooming Violet :: Fertilizer for Growth

This series of posts entitled “Blooming Violet” will take us through the journey of Violet transforming from a tragically abused dog into the mighty dog deep inside her.   If you don’t know Violet’s story, she was a neglected Boerboel Mastiff that was starved, confined and dumped on the side of the road in Clinton, MD.  She was so emaciated, she only weighed 56 lbs when she was rescued by Mutts Matters Rescue. Boerboel Mastiff females usually weigh between 150-200 pounds.  Violet is currently in care of her amazing foster mom, Debbie Gertz, who specializes in caring for dogs in extreme cases like this.  Donations toward Violet’s care and recovery can be made at the Mutts Matter Rescue website and regular updates on Violet can be found on the Saving Violet Facebook page. There is a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest of her abusers.

Animal people are good people.

This statement may be short and simple,  but it screams the truth.  The people that care, support, and speak for our animals nourish my soul.  I’m not trying to be too sappy here, but I truly feel that animal lovers are pretty much the best darned people on Earth and I have been so blessed by the many in my life.  I am always in awe and inspired by their kindness and passion. This is why I love doing what I do…I get to meet these people and have them bring that good energy in my life.  Time-after-time, I watch that karma flow and pass around full-circle.

The outpouring of those interested and supporting Violet is astonishing.  Including you!  You just took the time to click here and start reading about her latest progress.   Violet has so many that care about her…You have liked, commented, sent letters and notes, donated, dropped off blankets, given gifts and food, organized donation drives and other fundraisers. It really is remarkable how much kindness and care that has been spread over Violet.  A couple weeks ago, I took a picture of just SOME of the sweet letters, cards and notes that Violet has received.  Wow, you guys sure are special people!  You inspire me to keep telling her story and show her transformation.  Thank you.

letters to violet

Speaking of good animal people…Violet got a special follow-up visit from Mutts Matter founder and president, Melanie Samet.  Melanie has dedicated herself to rescue for over 20 years and left her job in the corporate world to form Mutts Matter Rescue.   Melanie is definitely a spitfire…Such an amazing force and advocate for animals.  I am in constant amazement on how much she can get done and her connections within the community.  MMR has rescued and saved the lives of over 2000 dogs…usually dogs in hardship and neglect cases.

melanie and violet

Violet is really enjoying being in the center of things and seeks attention.  She loved joining in and getting to listen to all your notes and letters as they were read to her.

melanie visiting violet

Violet continues to bloom.  I told you last week you would be super surprised with how much she has changed physically.   I see the most difference in her head.  It has filled out so much! She no longer has such a sunken in look and sad eyes.   It replaced with curious eyes with deliberate gazes and intention.

violet recovering

The camera angles can sometimes be deceiving though.  She’s certainly gaining a lot of weight but she still has a great amount to go as you also can see.


Her wounds are almost completely healed up and the hair is really starting to come in.


Violet’s foster Mom, Debbie has been doing wonders for her.  Debbie is so patient and committed; I love watching her work…She’s like Dr. Doolittle tending over her little menagerie.   The best part is seeing the joy she receives from her job.   I truly think she is a miracle worker and adore watching their bond.

debbie with violet

debbie and violet

melanie samet with violet

Again thank you for checking in on Violet’s little world and all your support.  Next post is going to be a great one…Stay tuned!



March 21, 2016 - 12:16 pm

Dorian R. Petkovich - Sweet sweet baby girl. I stand in awe of your strength, your will to power through all of this. Unlike a “Violet” in the change of seasons you did not wither away but stood courageous and faced the winter head on knowing that your season to blossom was just beneath the frost. All our love

March 21, 2016 - 3:34 pm

Melanie Samet - Thank you Shelley Castle Erickson. I am in awe of your talent.

March 21, 2016 - 3:45 pm

Mirjam Bielsma - Every time I reed about Violet I get tears in my eyes and get a smile on my face at the same time ! Thank you for taking such good care of her like you do

March 21, 2016 - 3:49 pm

Jennifer O'Donnell - So glad to see Violet doing better day by day!!! Thank you all so much for the wonderful work you continue to do with her and for all of your love for her, I am sure she appreciates it sooo much, and so do I :) :)

March 21, 2016 - 3:57 pm

Dawn Gnatowski Impallaria - It just makes me cry every time that anyone is capable of doing this to a helpless animal.

March 21, 2016 - 4:01 pm

Alexa Carnibella - So much good here. My heart squeezes every time I see her beautiful face and think about the kindness she is (deservedly) receiving. Life is good.

March 21, 2016 - 4:04 pm

Benita Sofield Kemper - I egt so excited to see the updates on Violet as she gets the love she so much deserves. You are amazing people wiht huge hearts and I thank God for people like you!!

March 21, 2016 - 4:17 pm

Paula Anne - I am worried about how Violet will feel when she is adopted and may feel abandoned again. I know that you will choose a good home for her but I do worry about the fact that she thinks she is already home and may suffer emotionally when things change again. I think she is bonding, maybe for the first time. How do you handle that issue?

March 21, 2016 - 4:32 pm

Carol Seavey Seely - I am a follower of Violet’s story. She looks fabulous and has so much love to give. You can see it in her eyes. Thank you for loving her and changing her life.

March 21, 2016 - 6:02 pm

Gayle Yiotis - Sweetest!

March 21, 2016 - 6:41 pm

LuAnn Ramsier Thrasher - ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️!!!!!

March 21, 2016 - 8:50 pm

Meredith Deutsch - I get so teary when I read about Violet and see her sweet face. So thankful that there are good people out there who can devote such time, love and energy into rehabilitating the creatures who don’t have a voice. She does look like a different dog. keep getting better girl!

March 22, 2016 - 2:27 am

Cherie Mcmillan - Great to see Violet begin to bloom !
Violet has even more blooming to come. She is looking so happy! I’m so happy to see her getting healthy every week ! Great job !

March 22, 2016 - 3:49 am

Tammy Baxter - I can’t say enough how much I enjoy viewing Violet’s transformation through your pictures Shelley! This series contained the fewest words, but seemed to say the most through the images because of the dramatic physical change in Violet, but also the glint in her eye you captured! Thank you for sharing the photos of 3 very beautiful beings-Violet, Debbie and Melanie!

March 22, 2016 - 12:13 pm

Robin Hayman - Thank you for doing what you do. Violet is beautiful, I rescued a Neo in very similar condition (92 pounds) with love and care and time he recovered and was a love bug never mean even though he had every reason to not trust another human. Mastiffs just want to be with you and love you all they ask is you love them back.

March 22, 2016 - 12:54 pm

Cindy Levesque - Thank for all you do. Violet is looking amazing.

March 22, 2016 - 3:26 pm

Christine Webb - Wonderful photos and wonderful Violet!!

March 22, 2016 - 7:18 pm

Peyton Jones - What wonderful people who have helped Violet heal!

March 23, 2016 - 8:04 am

Russell Shows - It takes my breath away. Debbie Gretz, and house hold have worked a miracle.

March 23, 2016 - 11:23 pm

Bill Baber - What a sad and wonderful story at the same time. I want to inow why i am the only male commenting on this story.

March 24, 2016 - 3:24 am

Charles W. Baber - A sad and wonderful story at the same time. I want to know why i am the only male to comment on this story.

March 24, 2016 - 7:41 pm

Linda Darnell - I just love watching Violet flourish as she heals. The universe will bless all of you who care for her and love her

March 25, 2016 - 2:35 am

Sherry Leigh Rhodes - How is she doing?

March 25, 2016 - 9:15 pm

Mary Halako Dunton - These are beautiful photos! So thankful Violet is getting such great care. <3

March 26, 2016 - 8:13 am

bonnie Cox - I assume that Violet is spoken for and has a forever home waiting for her. We have rescued two bull mastiffs and lab and a terrier. If she needs a home, we are certainly willing to adopt her. You are doing a great job helping her heal and enjoy being a dog. Bless you!

Bonnie Cox

April 8, 2016 - 7:43 pm

Bonnie Oskvarek - I simply must add my voice to the many who have admired the great labour of love being done all around for precious Violet. “Thank you” doesn’t seem enough. I’ll make sure to donate as well. Much love to you all.

April 25, 2016 - 7:20 pm

Veronica Japs - Thank you Debbie for taking such good care of Violet all the love and attention. You can see such an amazing difference.

Blooming Violet :: Buds Opening

This series of posts entitled “Blooming Violet” will take us through the journey of Violet transforming from a tragically abused dog into the mighty dog deep inside her.   If you don’t know Violet’s story, she was a neglected Boerboel Mastiff that was starved, confined and dumped on the side of the road in Clinton, MD.  She was so emaciated, she only weighed 56 lbs when she was rescued by Mutts Matters Rescue. Boerboel Mastiff females usually weigh between 150-200 pounds.  Violet is currently in care of her amazing foster mom, Debbie Gertz, who specializes in caring for dogs in extreme cases like this.  Donations toward Violet’s care and recovery can be made at the Mutts Matter Rescue website and regular updates on Violet can be found on the Saving Violet Facebook page. There is a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest of her abusers.

Violet’s recovery is happening so fast, it has been hard keeping up with posts to match her progress.  Of course, recovery from something as traumatic as this isn’t all about appearances.  Violet is slowly opening up and revealing more of her personality.  While still cautious and unsure at times, she is venturing upstairs and being social with the other dogs in Debbie’s family.  In case  you haven’t figured it out, Debbie has quite the pack in her house…In fact it’s an animal lover’s dream; it’s like her own little zoo!  Her “pack” right now varies from a little Chihuahua named Angel to her gentle giant, Prada, who is a Great Dane.   Violet is learning to be in good company and is working her way into the social hierarchy.

Upon arriving and starting to talk to Debbie in the kitchen, I felt a deliberate nudge and reached down expecting to run my hands over Prada’s noggin’ only to realize it was Violet’s.  What a great delight to know she heard my voice and came upstairs to say , “Hi!”  That, in itself, is a huge change!

While we were talking, Violet kept checking in with Debbie, coming over for some loving, and weaving in-and-out among her foster siblings.  It really is wonderful to see her being social and enjoying the interaction.

violet with Debbie

Part of Debbie’s job as a foster mom is piecing together the little clues of the personality that Violet starts showing.  Debbie thinks that Violet hasn’t had much exposure to the outdoors.  She started taking her for walks down the driveway and noticed that she was hyper-sensitive to the outdoor environment and simple things like the sound of birds bewildered her and made her anxious.  Walking with Prada and the rest of her sisters and brothers helps give her some confidence and strengthens their relationships.

foster dogs walking togetherviolet and family

Debbie is slowly adjusting her to these new environments.  When outside, you will often see her nervously skimming over the grass and ground with her nose assessing the setting.  When she gets unsure, she will crouch low to the ground and start slithering away….It is always difficult to see a dog of such size not have the confidence to match.  It’s been wonderful watching her confidence build as she starts  to enjoy these types of activities.
hiding from the cameraviolet saying hibv1603 fat dog farm 2violet overseeing the yardWhen things get just a little too much and she needs to feel more secure, Violet retreats to the mid-stair landing of her basement oasis.  She has the freedom to go back and forth as she wishes…or as her nose smells treats!
violetviolet sitting prettySpeaking of which…as one would imagine, food still remains her main motivation and pleasure.  We caught her using her height and nose skills to “check out the perimeters” for some left over bits.  She’s a smart girl!
any treats up here?checking out treatsAs you can see, she is filling out…quickly!  Seriously, you will see a big difference just from these and what I show in the next post.  What keeps blowing my mind is how well her wounds are healing.  She’s even starting to get some hair back in these areas!  Check out that meaty little tail that used be nothing but a mere brittle stick that she previously kept clamped down in protection.  Now that tail is usually doing its own song and dance, wiggling back and forth. It just makes your heart so full to see these gestures of her happiness.

legs looking betterdog healing

Thank you all  for checking in  and reading about Violet’s recovery!  Your love, support and awareness allows rescues to help the countless dogs and other animals like Violet that we see on a regular basis.

March 11, 2016 - 12:24 pm

Dorian R. Petkovich - “Violet the Victorious” we love you baby girl❤️. Debbie God bless you, your heart and family for loving and healing Violet.

March 11, 2016 - 2:03 pm

Debbie Gretz - Wonderful Shelley!

March 11, 2016 - 3:08 pm

Allen Prewitt - She is coming along beautifully!

March 11, 2016 - 7:09 pm

Sherry nicolaas - Beautiful ❤ I love her. Bless her and you for loving her and just caring for all animals . You are a angel and a big blessing ?

March 11, 2016 - 9:31 pm

Myrna Prins - Thank you Debbie. It is wonderful to see Violet’s amazing progress.

March 11, 2016 - 10:59 pm

Dawn Marie - Love! Thanks to all of you for giving this gentle giant a second chance. Hugs!

March 11, 2016 - 11:13 pm

Shelly Elsliger-Bennett - Love Violet….she reminds all of us that there are good people and what real happiness means….

March 11, 2016 - 11:19 pm

Judy Myerberg - She looks wonderful!

March 11, 2016 - 11:24 pm

Camille Latini-Camponeschi - Violet you are getting so BIG!!! Debbie you have a wonderful heart and you have done a spectacular job on Violets recovery!! Shelley big props too you also on the fantastic photography!!

March 11, 2016 - 11:26 pm

Kim Brushia Kutcher - I love Violets spirit and soul. Thank you so much for taking care of her!

March 11, 2016 - 11:34 pm

Gabrielle Williams - She just looks so sad. I just hope all your love can heal her broken heart. So nice to see how incredibly far she has come. You are a wonderful woman for caring so much.

March 11, 2016 - 11:43 pm

Jrs Daughter - Debbie you are a true angel! Thank you for all the work you do.

March 11, 2016 - 11:57 pm

Divina Ramos - Blooming indeed!! FAB!

March 11, 2016 - 11:59 pm

Cindy See - Speechless. .. so incredible to see her progress. As always thankful for Debbie’s loving care and heart for our friends with no voice. Shelley, thank you for your gift of documenting Violet’s recovery.

March 12, 2016 - 12:03 am

Kimberly Coleman - Awww. I love her so much. Everytime I see her I get choked up. Thank you for being a great human to a very deserving dog. She’s an inspiration to us humans who, some days, feel like we can’t get up and go on.

March 12, 2016 - 12:30 am

Julie Tear - I am so happy she is doing lots better! God Bless her and God Bless Debbie for all she is doing.

March 12, 2016 - 12:35 am

Dawn Gnatowski Impallaria - Thank you for taking care of this gentle soul.

March 12, 2016 - 12:54 am

Jody Sirois Walker - Thank you for sharing Violet’s journey with us & for your love & support to her!

March 12, 2016 - 1:28 am

Teresa Markert - Debbie, Thank you for showing Violet that there is TRUE LOVE in this world <3 <3 <3 It just blows my mind how people can be so cold hearted with a animal that just wants to be and give LOVE.........

March 12, 2016 - 1:29 am

Teresa Markert - The pictures are beautiful

March 12, 2016 - 1:48 am

Rolonda Piggee-Wood - God Bless You Ms. Debbie Hertz, you ARE an ANGEL! Violet needed YOU & YOU ARE THERE FOR HER! MANY MORE BLESSINGS TO COME…FOR SURE! :)

March 12, 2016 - 1:48 am

Frances Gaeta - God bless everyone, including you, Shelley, for being pat of this girl’s journey…

March 12, 2016 - 2:33 am

Laurel Swede - Its very heartwarming to watch her recovery. ❤️ I would love to meet her.

March 12, 2016 - 3:12 am

Sharon Stadd - Violet is looking good. Prayers are on her side.. Thanks for being a great foster mom… Violet is very fortunate to have you.

March 12, 2016 - 3:59 am

Diana V. Lesizza - I adore her!

March 12, 2016 - 4:57 am

Lyn Jenkins - Thank you for the wonderful pictures. This beautiful lady has been through so much. It is heartwarming to see her filling out and learning to live, even if it’s a slow progress.

March 12, 2016 - 4:59 am

Michael Kelly - She’s come a long way and she’s looking a lot better, great job.

March 12, 2016 - 5:09 am

Pamela Hanes - Thank you for keeping us informed. I’m sure there are many of us who love Violet

March 12, 2016 - 5:18 am

Rolonda Piggee-Wood - So sorry for the Smart Phone type ahead correction on Ms. Debbie Gertz…it is not Hertz!

March 12, 2016 - 12:01 pm

Carreen Koubek Allen - I am so full of amazement for this big girl! Thank you to everyone for all you are doing to bring her back. She is soooo beautiful! Those souful eyes speak to all of us. <3

March 12, 2016 - 12:49 pm

Christine Webb - This is such a wonderful story, I just LOVE reading about Violet’s progress and sharing it with all my friends!!

March 12, 2016 - 2:02 pm

Jeanie Kaufman - I look forward to the posts about Violet’s progress Have you considered having a book published to raise awareness of animal cruelty and to raise funds ? You are all wonderful Thank you again for your loving care and you big hearts. ❤️

March 12, 2016 - 3:10 pm

Lynn Luria Fanaroff - God bless you, Debbie and Mutts Matter Rescue. So heartwarming to know there are wonderful people in this world.

March 12, 2016 - 3:25 pm

Amy Brown Suggs - My heart is filled with joy! I see a post concerning Violet and I can’t wait to see her updates! You have turned a very horrible situation in to a journey that has touched so many. The love and compassion for these animals is overwhelming!

March 12, 2016 - 5:43 pm

Diana Kommer - Thank you Shelley for helping all of us that love Violet to watch her and in a way be with her even though we’re so far away ❤️ and see a kind and loving person like Debbie nurturing her back to life .❤️

March 13, 2016 - 3:45 am

Eileen Pope - Beautiful Violet, Beautiful Debbie, Beautiful pictures, Beautiful loving progression, Brings a smile instead of the tears when her sad story was knew to us. Thank you kind people!

March 15, 2016 - 11:15 pm

Ann Marie - Thank you for caring enough to help us follow this beautiful girls journey to health!! Thank you to the foster family for never giving up on her! Thanks all around and Blessings Firever!!

March 16, 2016 - 8:57 pm

Brenda Mills Birdsall - I am glad to find her and see that she is doing better. I am happy to see that someone with love is taking care of her. They are beautifuls dogs and dont deserve to be treated like this.

April 9, 2016 - 12:53 am

Ellen Moyer - There was a Ravens ex football player just charged with starving a dog. Could there be a relationship?so pleased to see this recovery. Applause to all involved and special head scratch for violet. Where can I send a small contribution?

Blooming Violet :: Caring Hands…and Hearts

This series of posts entitled “Blooming Violet” will take us through the journey of Violet transforming from a tragically abused dog into the mighty dog deep inside her.   If you don’t know Violet’s story, she was a neglected Boerboel Mastiff that was starved, confined and dumped on the side of the road in Clinton, MD.  She was so emaciated, she only weighed 56 lbs when she was rescued by Mutts Matters Rescue. Boerboel Mastiff females usually weigh between 150-200 pounds.  Violet is currently in care of her amazing foster mom, Debbie Gertz, who specializes in caring for dogs in extreme cases like this.  Donations toward Violet’s care and recovery can be made at the Mutts Matter Rescue website and regular updates on Violet can be found on the Saving Violet Facebook page. There is a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest of her abusers.

Walking into Caring Hands Animal Hospital in Rockville,  I was greeted with a friendly smile from the young lady behind the desk.  I could see the excitement behind her eyes as she greeted me…She knew I was there to photograph Violet.  As we waited for Violet’s arrival, another eager staff person came peering around the corner questioning, “Is she here yet?” This scene played out with more staff as we all anticipated Violet to join us for her first follow-up exam since being rescued.   It’s easy to understand the anticipation, these are the same people that witnessed sweet Violet so emaciated and weak that she was teetering on the edge of death…and now they were here assembling as her cheering section.    Just in time too…the guest of honor has arrived!

vet staff greeting violet

While a part of you knows there has to be “some”  improvement since you saw her last, you really don’t know what to expect.  I have to say, even I was shocked at the changes after just 4 days since last seeing her.  Coming through the door was such a different dog.   A sparkle was starting to appear in her eyes.  She wasn’t as slow and cautious as before, she didn’t even seem to care about the camera…and definitely had more interest in her surroundings and the people around her.   Debbie had spent a lot of time on her wounds and they look like they had been healing for weeks instead of days.  While she was still frighteningly skinny, there were some noticeable visual differences.   The real moment of truth was the weigh in…Drum roll please!  75 lbs!  She’s up over 10 lbs since her last weigh-in about a week prior.

first follow up weigh inrescue dog violetThe Rockville Caring Hands has a close relationship with Mutts Matters Rescue.  MMR takes a lot of the difficult injured and abused rescue cases that are often not accepted because of the extensive–and expensive–medical needs required*.  Dr. Marci Streck has treated many of these dogs, including Violet.

violetDr. Streck gave Violet a full exam, remeasured, and photographed all her wounds to record her progress.  This type of documentation is important evidence if Violet’s abusers are ever found and her case goes to court.
caring hands vet careI loved looking around the room  and  seeing noticeable smiles on everyone’s faces given the progress and positive feedback from Dr. Streck.  The happiness was contagious…even Violet seemed to pick up on it.  She was curious, walking around greeting  and checking in with everybody.  She even got a couple visitors that stopped by to meet her.
violet at vets officeAs I sat watching Violet during her exam, it struck me how calm and trusting she is.   After everything she’s been through and the injuries her body suffers with, she doesn’t show it…nor did she show any fear or resistance.  She laid quietly and trusted every part of the procedure, including allowing the doctor to move her all around, lay her down, poke and examine even some of her most sensitive wounds.  We always say how dogs are resilient, but she truly is amazing and has such a special soul.
violet at vetAnd you know what? While she might still be getting used to the camera…I think she even tried to manage a little bit of smile for me!  Way to go Violet…Keep on eating and soaking up the love that is helping you get better.

silly face *Mutts Matter and other rescues do not get free or discounted veterinarian services.  They rely heavily on fundraising and donations to help them with the costs of the medical exams and care that is crucial to the animals they rescue.

February 26, 2016 - 7:14 am

Barbara Unkle - I am so proud of your photography and wonderful writing skills. You have put emotions into words beautifully. Most important I am proud of your kind heart and desire to help the helpless. All those who are helping Violet during her journey are to be commended. Especially you my daughter for documenting her recovery.

February 26, 2016 - 8:13 am

Alexa Carnibella - Every time I read your updates, I cry. Sadness and joy mixed together. Violet is a beautiful soul and I am so happy to see her blossom :-) under the love and care she’s receiving. Thank you for all you do.

February 26, 2016 - 11:57 am

Betsy Husser - As hard as it is to keep “revisiting” her abuse, today made me smile!! As always you have the “touch” to bring out the best in her and all your buddies!! Way to go Violet!!

February 26, 2016 - 2:27 pm

Linda J. White - Very nice (and important) work Shelley Castle Erickson!

February 26, 2016 - 4:28 pm

Cathy Pratt Williams - You all are doing such a great thing ! Im in love with everthing about this project, and look forward to Violets progress. Love truly DOES heal all.

February 26, 2016 - 5:13 pm

Rhonda Carter - Happy News! Violet I will definitely help out and donate

February 26, 2016 - 9:01 pm

Barbara Kavanagh - great job!

February 27, 2016 - 1:01 am

Melanie Samet - I have awoken for a brief moment from what has to be the plague..I am gonig to share these amazing, amazing photos. I am so in awe of your work.

February 27, 2016 - 1:38 am

Tiffany Murtagh - We are so attached to Violet. My Mom called from the U.K. To make sure we were going to donate to her fund. We did & we will continue to & to send good thoughts to her. Gain weight Violet, we wanna see you become a chunky monkey. You are loved.

February 27, 2016 - 1:43 am

Cecilia Kato - It makes me cry. But I’m so happy for her. I got to keep watching to see how she does. Thank You.

February 27, 2016 - 1:43 am

Sandy Rosenberger Ackerman - What a beautiful gentle soul! Praying for her, and praising her accomplishments and thankful for her wonderful caregivers!

February 27, 2016 - 1:44 am

Debbie Reynolds - Aww, what a dear soul. Here’s to loving recovery from all that love you!

February 27, 2016 - 1:45 am

Anna Cecilia Serran Antunes - To everyone taking care of her : thank you !

February 27, 2016 - 2:04 am

Kelly Pengelly - Its no wonder iprefer dogs over people when you see what has been done to her. I love her soul and that almost smile x love from Western Australia

February 27, 2016 - 2:09 am

Shelley Caplan - It warms my heart to see this sweet baby surrounded by GOOD people showing her love that she deserves and nursing her back to health and wellness. Thank you all for the amazing (and I’m sure emotional) work you do, and thank you to Mutts Matter Rescue and to Debbie Gertz for making such a difference! All people should be so caring.

February 27, 2016 - 2:11 am

Robin Hill Posey - This made me so happy to see that she is progressing well. Thanks to all who have had any part of helping with her medical needs and those who are providing the love she deserves!!!

February 27, 2016 - 2:17 am

Sue Kerchefski-waters - this just breaks my heart ..i had a 200 pound english .Violet you are truely a fighter , you got this girl!!! Gentle giant hugs coming your way.

February 27, 2016 - 2:40 am

Kristin Tellekamp-Reph - She is such a beautiful girl!! Thank God for the love and affection you so generously give her. I hope the evil person or people who did this to her are found and brought to justice. Most of all I can’t wait to watch this sweetie become healthy and strong over the upcoming days and weeks.

February 27, 2016 - 2:46 am

Diana V. Lesizza - Love you Violet! Keep getting better!

February 27, 2016 - 2:48 am

Tricia Carroll - I cry every time I thnk about what this poor baby has endured. One of her first pictures of her sweet sad face will forever be on the back of my mind. I am so happy (that’s mildly putting it) that she is getting the attention and love that she deserves. Thank goodness to the person who seen her dumped from the car because I don’t think she would’ve made it through the night. THANKS TO EVERYONE HELPING THIS BABY “BLOOM” and thanks for keeping all of us (her fans) updated with information and pictures.

February 27, 2016 - 3:06 am

Theresa Root Kowal - We’re so happy that she’s doing better!

February 27, 2016 - 4:22 am

Dorian R. Petkovich - Way to go Miss Violet. Keep climbing that mountain once you reach the highest peak that climb and valley below will all seem like a very distant memory. Only we humans who love and adore you will recall the vivid memory from the depths of which you climbed! You got this baby girl, love you❤️

February 27, 2016 - 4:49 am

Tammy Baxter - Oh, Shelley, I’ve been waiting on the second series and you did not disappoint (your subject was pretty incredible too :))! As for Princess Violet, she looks pretty darn amazing and I’m pretty certain Debbie is an angel! Thank you for sharing your talent with us through Violet’s transformation!

February 27, 2016 - 5:31 am

Colleen Shannon - Already she looks better! Thank you.

February 27, 2016 - 8:14 am

Carol Gibson - Beautiful photos! So important to chart Violet’s progress in this way and she’s looking fantastic too!!

February 27, 2016 - 12:37 pm

Tiffany Ann Poole - God BLESS Everyone helping this beautiful creature!!!

February 27, 2016 - 1:22 pm

Christine Webb - What a difference a few weeks make! Keep it up Violet!!

February 27, 2016 - 1:36 pm

Jennifer O'Donnell - Yes Violet!!! I’m rooting for you all the way sweet girl! Makes me so happy to see her doing better! Bless you guys for all that you are doing for her!

February 27, 2016 - 3:11 pm

Peggy Hess - Thank you so much for these photos.She is always in my thoughts and as hard as it is to see the signs of her abuse its heartwarming to see how much better she is getting .Keep getting better Violet we all love love you❤️

February 27, 2016 - 5:11 pm

Trudy O'Neill - So happy to see the improvement in Violet! She is an amazing dog with an amazing will! Continue to give her love from all of us plus your own!

Trust and love and Get Well Very Soon! The improvement is remarkable and so welcome! LOVE YOU LOTS!

February 27, 2016 - 5:29 pm

Fran Smith - Though it is difficult, documenting these recoveries with photographs is so important. It helps educate all of us. As a fellow photographer, I also want to thank Shelley for her courage.

February 27, 2016 - 6:19 pm

Rebecca Fitzgibbon - How wonderful it is to see her getting better. She is looking better, and I truly hope she dreams of the good life and has no ore nightmares of the bad. I hope her abusers are caught soon and punished to the full extent of the law. The laws need to be rewritten to protect animals like Violet.

February 27, 2016 - 8:52 pm

Nancy Keeton - Love this girl. Thank you for all you do.

February 28, 2016 - 12:13 am

Amanda Miller-Flowers - Thank You for taking care of her.

February 28, 2016 - 12:54 am

Anne Elizabeth Langalis - Violet is having her chance to bloom!!! I too rescued an abandoned (or escaped) we think- Mastiff/Newfie mix. Sasha was a walking skeleton. She was my “goofy-Newfie” girl, and with lots of love, loving care and FOOD, she just blossomed. It’s the most amazing reward when you help an injured animal back to health. Violet, Sasha is with you from Rainbow Bridge!!

February 28, 2016 - 4:57 am

Linda Kienzlen Fellows - Violet is looking great! Continued healing prayers.

February 28, 2016 - 10:55 am

Bryan Essary - My god this is awesome!!!I am smiling ear to ear! This is why i love being involved with rescues transports and working with rescues!!! Wtg keep getting strong violet and may god hold you in his loving hands!!!!!!

February 28, 2016 - 1:09 pm

Maria Yosephine Pietarso - God will bless you and all team abundantly
Thanks for rescueing Violet..
Hoping that she has a good health day by day…

February 28, 2016 - 2:46 pm

admin - Thank you Mom!

February 29, 2016 - 5:45 pm

Diana Kommer - Look at that smile… I love you Violet…. everyday I check up on you !!! Thank you for helping her…..

Blooming Violet :: Budding Back to Life

This series of posts entitled “Blooming Violet” will take us through the journey of Violet transforming from a tragically abused dog into the mighty dog deep inside her.   If you don’t know Violet’s story, she was a neglected Boerboel Mastiff that was starved, confined and dumped on the side of the road in Clinton, MD.  She was so emaciated, she only weighed 56 lbs when she was rescued by Mutts Matters Rescue. Boerboel Mastiff females usually weigh between 150-200 pounds.  Violet is currently in care of her amazing foster mom, Debbie Gertz, who specializes in caring for dogs in extreme cases like this.  Donations toward Violet’s care and recovery can be made at the Mutts Matter Rescue website and regular updates on Violet can be found on the Saving Violet Facebook page. There is a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest of her abusers.

Working in rescue, you run into a lot of abuse cases. It never gets easy…especially when you know you are about to meet one as severely abused as Violet.   You prepare…but you are never prepared.  When the heavy-hearted moment comes and you finally see the animal, there is a fury of conflicting emotions clashing inside you.  Your mind is coping with the disbelief and horror of what you are seeing…anger boils…tears swell…your desire to nurture and protect become overwhelming.

Remarkably, it’s almost like animals can sense this conflict and despite what they have gone through, they gift you with little gestures to help you cope.  In Violet’s case, it was greeting with her big muzzle very purposely placed firmly in my hands for some nuzzling while she intently gazed at me with her droopy eyes.  These gestures give you a glimpse of a dog’s inner-spirit, beauty and heart.  It’s as if they bring you back into the moment–the “now” that all animals live in–saying, “I am here now…we are moving forward…if you walk with me, I will show you the real me…the grateful me…the beautiful me…and eventually you will see it on the outside too.”  These gifts help smother the horrors you see and allow connection, hope and love to win.

While we can’t ignore the abuse Violet has endured and need it as a point of reference to document her transformation, we need to keep in mind that the metamorphosis from this type of neglect is not just physical.  The neglect gives us clues to her past story that she can’t tell us… but she can share her come-back story as she discovers a new life filled with love and kindness.  As she buds,  Mutts Matter, her foster mom and all her supporters will walk beside her in her journey toward blooming

emaciated violet week 1
abused mastiff week 1 recovery
During her first week, Violet spent most her time in Debbie’s basement area to rest and build her strength.  She requires around-the-clock care changing bandages and treating her pressure sores,  preparing small regular feedings through the day and evenings, and changing bedding .
regular food for violet

Violet is acclimating to food very well with her small feedings…As you can see, she has no problems cleaning her plate!

dinner time for violet
Violet has a great fear of cameras…shying away and avoiding the “big eye” that many non-confident dogs see as a challenge or threat.   This of course, makes it difficult to take pictures!  The positive sign is that the minute I put down the camera, she is quick to come over and gently bury her bony, once-massive, head into me and receive a reassuring touch.  It will be interesting seeing her expressions and behavior transform as she becomes more confident and less camera-shy.  With a little bit of patience and trust-building, I have a feeling she will soon be a total ham for the camera!
violet recovering from abuseThere is no doubt that one of Violet’s greatest comforts is her foster mom.  She and Debbie have bonded from foster mommutts matters foster debbie

Sweet Violet.  I love that you can see the slightest hint of my lipstick on top of her head.  I told you I would send kisses for all you that asked me to!

violet recovering week one

Stay tuned for our next post!  If you want to learn more about Violet’s story,  there have been quite a few news reports…WJLA did a wonderful piece on her and The Dodo also picked up the story.
February 21, 2016 - 11:07 am

Amy Devine - What powerful images. Thank you for documenting Violet’s journey in a way that words cannot describe.

February 21, 2016 - 3:22 pm

Melanie Samet - SImply amazing. I am in awe

February 21, 2016 - 3:23 pm

Ellen Simler-Mays - Sweet girl!! Keep up the good fight!

February 21, 2016 - 3:25 pm

Tammy Baxter - What a beautiful and touching photo series documenting Violet’s journey so far. It brought tears to my eyes, but also hope to my heart in knowing she is here and with us now and will live a glorious life.

February 21, 2016 - 3:28 pm

Divina Ramos - Much love Violet!

February 21, 2016 - 3:29 pm

Theresa Owens - Awwwww. She is resilient. Awsome girl. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. She so deserves a great life. I absolutely love her from her nose to the tip of her head. ♡♡♡♡

February 21, 2016 - 3:38 pm

Phyllis Jane Goodnow - beautiful!

February 21, 2016 - 3:51 pm

Aaron Asbo Harrison - ❤️

February 21, 2016 - 4:03 pm

Linda Moon - ❤️

February 21, 2016 - 4:05 pm

Debbie Sandoz Montgomery - How can someone be so cruel to starve an animal to this degree! Why don’t they just drop it off somewhere? Are they taking out their anger about something on this poor dog? Thank you for taking him and helping him. I hope this person is punished! I have adopted 2 rescues. God bless you.❤️

February 21, 2016 - 4:13 pm

Rolonda Piggee-Wood - Awesome! God Bless You for Your Love, Care, Concern, Generosity, Hospitality & so much more to Violet! :)

February 21, 2016 - 4:17 pm

Rebha Ingham - such a beautiful girl why are humans so dam cruel <3 <3 get well soo Violet <3 <3

February 21, 2016 - 4:53 pm

Rita Jenkins - My heart just breaks. Not only am I following Violet, another Mastiff by the name of Tyson was rescued. Exact same condition. Horrific!! It scares me to no end, knowing that there are more out there and someone knows something. A friend, a neighbor a delivery agent…..someone knows…and I pray that it will churn in their hearts and minds and step forward to do the right thing.
These people need to be held accountable.!!
So happy that Violet is in a loving environment with loving arms to hold her and takeing care of her. It is something that she has never had, we can tell just by looking at her.
After all that she has been through, she still responds with, even tho it is damaged, unconditional love. Each day is a stepping stone for her. She has many stones in a day to climb and reclaim what was taken from her. We love you Violet and sending hugs, kisses and prayers. Also prayers for your foster mom.

February 21, 2016 - 4:58 pm

Vicki Courtney - Thank you for all that you are doing to heal and protect Violet. I know she is a long way away from being adopted but if she becomes available, please let us know. My husband and I have previously rescued an abused female mastiff and currently have 2 mastiffs. Sending prayers and belly rubs!

February 21, 2016 - 5:06 pm

Sibs Blankenship - Thank you for this. I am sitting here in tears. Happy tears for Violet. Sad tears that she had to endure the abuse. Kisses Sweet Violet

February 21, 2016 - 5:15 pm

Ann Sentman - Thank you for such touching pics of Violet’s journey. She is doing so well in her loving home. Yesterday she was out and about with her pack enjoying her new life. Cannot wait to see her in full bloom!

February 21, 2016 - 5:21 pm

Stacy Armstrong Dyer - Thank you for saving her

February 21, 2016 - 5:22 pm

Robin Morrison - Sweet Violet! She is amazing!

February 21, 2016 - 5:33 pm

Elena Schlossberg-Kunkel - What an amazing journey, for Violet, for the amazing leadership in Mutts Matters and for those of us who have the priveledge of watching Violet blossom!

February 21, 2016 - 5:43 pm

Chris Serio-Chapman - It is through her example that one can see the power of forgiveness and hope. To see her is to see what the worst of humanity can do and yet she manages to show everyone why dogs are truly man’s best friend. Her story is not yet fully written and the middle and ending most assuredly will be the best!

February 21, 2016 - 6:08 pm

Lydia Goldsmith Vine - Love wins! Beautiful Violet….

February 21, 2016 - 6:12 pm

Allison Moss-Fritch - A purebred dog this large probably came from a local breeder and was purchased. She’s young, so purchased within the past 18 months. Check with the breeders to see if she is recognized by anyone.

Let’s hope that she’s recognized and the owner can be traced. Now I’m not blaming an owner…she could have been stolen from them. For all we know they may be looking for her yet.

February 21, 2016 - 6:26 pm

admin - She is probably about 4-5 years old. It is clear that she was used as a breeding dog herself. Her teets show she has had multiple litters and the scars on her head are often signs of breeding/mounting.

February 21, 2016 - 7:52 pm

Patricia Fritz - I love u & Violet. Both r miracles in my eyes. Both r angels on earth.

February 21, 2016 - 7:58 pm

Sue Zimmerman Van Bavel - Prayers sent for a speedy recover and a loving furever home :) God Bless sweet Violet <3

February 21, 2016 - 8:11 pm

Julie Baney Curran - Great series you are doing!

February 21, 2016 - 8:36 pm

Lori Reattoire - Debbie Gretz is am amazing woman and a GREAT fur Mommy!

February 21, 2016 - 8:56 pm

Kristie Hodgson - Beautiful girl! Hope they find these disgusting people who could do this!!

February 21, 2016 - 8:58 pm

Saundra Emarthla - Please give Violet a kiss from me TOO – Debbie!

February 21, 2016 - 9:09 pm

Karen Marlette - Keep getting better Violet! It hurts my heart so see you like this.

February 21, 2016 - 9:39 pm

Cindi O'Connell - God Bless you sweet baby.

February 21, 2016 - 9:53 pm

Sherry Knowlton - You are a wonderful person!!!

February 21, 2016 - 9:55 pm

Dorian R. Petkovich - I so desperately want to hold, love, comfort and give her a wonderful life. I pray that whoever is lucky enough to be blessed with the joy of having Violet in their family realizes and cherishes every wonderful moment with her.

February 21, 2016 - 10:01 pm

Dawn Impallaria - It’s so hard to believe this poor dog could survive. It is absolutely heartbreaking. Thank you for taking care of her.

February 21, 2016 - 10:03 pm

Rochelle Storch Drucker - And through it all they still can find love in their heart for another human. If they can’t or won’t care for the poor animial at least get him to a shelter or even better rescue. i will never understand people.

February 21, 2016 - 10:22 pm

Elizabeth Kopfman-Delagala - so very happy for this beautiful girl … get well sweet Violet <3 <3 <3

February 21, 2016 - 10:30 pm

Sally Donelson - She couldn’t have a better foster Mom!

February 21, 2016 - 10:41 pm

Nikki Toledo - What a beautiful tribute to the start of this sweet girls journey to wellness. There is so much we can learn from the forgiving spirit and resilience of dogs. Violet is beautiful inside and out and your photos have captured that. Debbie is a true saint. In only a week, this sweet girl has made remarkable strides under her care and compassion and love. So looking forward to seeing her progress and blossoming into the strong body that matches her spirit. Sending love, hugs, and prayers to you sweet Violet. <3

February 21, 2016 - 11:21 pm

Sonia Biggs-Knight - Just beautiful, watching her bloom.

February 22, 2016 - 12:30 am

Lucie Burmeister - Don’t give up Violet! And thank you Mutts Matter Team!

February 22, 2016 - 12:51 am

Jodi Elizabeth Good Perez - It’s so awesome that she is in a loving, safe place! Thank you all for bringing her back to health and happiness. I’m so thankful for all the wonderful organizations and people that make a difference, every day, in the lives of these pups! Restores our faith in humanity. Best wishes Violet!

February 22, 2016 - 12:59 am

Debbie Gretz - Love love this Shelley! Speaks from the heart, to the heart. The images do the condition justice, as I think so many of the photos were not as shocking as seeing her in person, your photos did that. Love the pictures with me loving her! And that last one…oh the expression in those eyes! Thanks for all you are doing to document her journey to full bloom!

February 22, 2016 - 3:13 am

Becky Davis - Thank you Debbie for giving Violet her life back <3

February 22, 2016 - 3:20 am

Stacey Russ Sherman - I am so moved by Violet’s story and your telling of it through your photography. Thank you for doing this and sharing. Hope it’s okay to have shared through my page :)

February 22, 2016 - 4:30 am

Donna Batcheller Paulman - Thank you for saving this beauty! Thank you for loving her back to health!

February 22, 2016 - 7:04 pm

Barbara Grant - God bless you for nursing her back to health and showing her how love feels.

February 22, 2016 - 8:56 pm

Lyne Duval - It takes a special kind of person to care for abused animals. Violet must be so happy to have found you. You are definitely her miracle worker. God bless you. You are her hero.

February 22, 2016 - 9:26 pm

Jacky Paul LaCombe - Poor sweet Baby….keep loving her for all of us that care! She’s blessed beyond measure to have you!

February 22, 2016 - 9:54 pm

admin - Thank you Debbie! I love the pictures of you together too! It so genuine and some of my favorite moments to try capturing. Thank you for your time and all that you do to help animals in need. You and Bob are miracle workers!

February 23, 2016 - 1:27 am

Denise Macdonald - How wonderful all of you are taking care of her! We have a 178lb maie Mastiff. These are the sweetest dogs in the world. I love the pictures of her getting love!! I can’t imagine where she came from. She is beautiful!!!!! I hope they catch the person that did this to her. If we get enough shares, maybe it will get to the right person that can turn this hateful human in.

February 23, 2016 - 7:22 pm

Jeanie Kaufman - Thank you Shelly for your heartbreaking but important photographs. Violet is obviously an amazing dog with a sweet but strong spirit. God bless you Debbie Gretz for everything you are doing to help Violet regain her health .Thank you also for posting her progress .?

February 24, 2016 - 12:58 am

Telma Anijar Andersen - It’s unbelievable the cruelty done to animals by humans. I just adopted a mixed Bassett puppy from a rescue and the mother is still recovering from starvation and sicknesses. She was found pregnant and starving in Oklahoma.

February 25, 2016 - 9:18 pm

Teann - Wow, this is so incredibly heartbreaking. I cannot get over the image that shows she body from above. What a sweet and resilient pup. So beautifully captured Shelley. Thank you for sharing her journey! I look forward to seeing her progress!

February 25, 2016 - 11:36 pm

Robin - You are doing a wonderful job Shelley. It’s a hard road for the dog to travel and I think just as hard for the human. When I see these horrors, I want to scream, kick, bite and hit anything I can at the abuse these sweet souls have survived thru. The foster humans are angels, stoic in their belief that they can help these precious lives. I’ve fostered for 15 years, and I take the hard cases. But one never one as hard as this. Bless Violets foster mom for standing up to make the love and help happen. And THANK YOU for taking us along on Violets journey.

February 27, 2016 - 7:36 pm

Timberly St Clair Martin - Sweet Sweet Violet your such a fighter.. keep fighting to get healthy again… you have a wonderful loving soul… It breaks my heart to see what someone did to you… I am so glad you were found and have a loving family to care and nurse you back to health along with the vets and Shelby with all the documentation. To see Shelby’s pictures here and than the newest where your up to 75 lbs and almost smiling is amazing big girl! God is truly holding you close…

M O D E L   C A L L