Rescuers couldn’t believe what they were seeing: had someone really colored their dog a shocking shade of red? Heaven knows what damage the chemicals in the dye could cause. The good Samaritans knew they had to act, so they stepped in to help the pitiful pooch.
There are many things to love about Greece, chief among them its extraordinary history, lovely beaches and fantastic landscapes. However, the country also has a poor reputation when it comes to the treatment of animals. Indeed, many of Greece’s stray cats and dogs endure cruelly short lives and meet violent ends.
That’s because while the Greek government has laws in place to protect animals, they seem to be flouted on a regular basis. As a result, homeless animals line the streets, where many people see them as pests – or worse, as vermin. In their quest to stay alive, the hapless beasts are routinely abused and even killed.
This is a terrible and tragic state of affairs, but happily there are animal rescuers working to make things better. Though they can’t help all of the suffering strays, advocates make a difference where they can. Take the case of a puppy given the moniker Scarlet, for instance.
No one knows much about Scarlet’s existence before she was spotted in the Greek town of Schimatari. Whoever owned the hound seemed keen to get rid of her, though. They sold their pet to a man who was attracted to the canine’s unusual color.
To be specific, Scarlet had been dyed a glaring shade of red. An immigrant saw the dog – he could hardly miss her, after all – and was apparently so fond of the hue that he bought her. So he took her away for the princely sum of €150 ($171).
According to the Daily Mail, the man who bought Scarlet was living in a refugee camp at the time. But this wasn’t where the pink-hued pup was spotted; in fact she was seen with her new owner on the streets of Schimatari. Once animal activists clocked the colorful canine, they swooped in to the rescue.
What worried the dog rescuers most was the potential harm that the dye could cause. With that in mind, they bundled her off to the safety of a Greek animal shelter. There, experts gauged her to be just three months old.
Happily there was good news in store: after vets examined Scarlet, they concluded that the pigmented solution hadn’t adversely affected her skin. In fact, the source of the unnatural color turned out to be regular hair dye, and once she was washed her real coloring began to show through.
Things moved quickly following the rescue. The shelter found Scarlet a more permanent home away from the camp, and she’s now reportedly in good health with her new owners and enjoying a fresh start off the streets. Furthermore, she’s also looking a lot less red these days.
On September 6, 2018, the Metro reported that Scarlet’s fur is now more natural-looking. And while she’s not entirely free of her reddish tint, the pup’s pigment is nowhere near as garish as it once was. Moreover, judging from a range of previous dyed-dog horror stories, Scarlet actually had a lucky escape.
One such tale occurred in early 2018. On January 24 the Pinellas County Animal Services (PCAS) in Florida posted on Facebook about a dog called Violet. The pooch seemed to have undergone an ill-judged makeover, but the results were disastrous – and then some.
Someone had used human hair dye to tint the Maltese mix a decidedly unnatural purple. The little dog then suffered a serious allergic reaction to the dye, as PCAS described on its social media page. “Violet’s eyes were swollen shut,” it wrote. “She was limp and listless, she had obvious burns to her skin.”
“We gave fluids, pain meds and we gently washed as much of the chemical dye off as we could,” PCAS continued. “We bandaged her up. Then we waited – Violet went home with our veterinarian and we waited.” However, what happened next surprised everyone involved.
You see, Violet managed to survive her horrific injuries. “We were amazed that she had made it through the night,” PCAS wrote. But she was to endure a lot longer than that. Over the next three months, with a lot of treatment and medication, the little dog made tentative progress.
“Still, we worried,” PCAS recalled. “Did she have permanent blindness? Would there be infection? Would her hair ever grow back? Was there anything we were missing? When the final bandages came off we breathed a collective sigh of relief – Violet was beautiful.” So beautiful that a new home was surely in order.
PCAS duly found Violet a new abode, with humans who were intent on keeping her safe. The little dog pulled through in the end, but along the way she’d endured needless suffering. And it was all because of a ridiculous attempt to dye her fur.
A similar fate could have befallen Scarlet, which is why the animal rescuers intervened. Violet’s story led to PCAS making an appeal to the general public. It wanted to stress that, however harmless hair dye usually is on humans, it can be an entirely different story for animals.
“We do our own hair – funky styles and colors are on the rise,” the organization wrote. “Express yourself, but please do not use hair dye intended for humans to express your pet’s style. Let’s all say that together – Do NOT, under any circumstances, use hair color intended for humans on your pets.”
“Chemicals in hair dye are TOXIC, causing a wide array of external injury to your pet,” it concluded. “Possible burns, blindness and because an animal’s first instinct is to lick, it can cause poisoning or internal burns. Just don’t.” Wise words – and ones that Scarlet and Violet would surely agree with.