Video: Chained Dog Abandoned After Owner’s COVID-19 Death Is Unrecognizable After Rescue

For Immediate Release:
December 3, 2021

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

A new PETA video shows the remarkable transformation of a dog named Pancake who had been chained in a backyard, so starved for affection that whenever PETA’s fieldworkers visited her, she would flatten herself to the ground in excitement—which is how she got her name. When her owner died of COVID-19 in January, PETA asked to whisk Pancake away to a new life—but her owner’s relatives, who lived as far as 300 miles away, insisted on leaving her tied up outside the vacant house, often with no water and only bug-infested food to eat. By August, her condition was dire: She was crawling with parasites and her skin was raw, her white fur was the color of the toxic soot she’d been rolling in, and she had lost at least a third of her bodyweight.

That’s when everything flipped for Pancake—PETA persuaded her owners to let the group rescue the neglected, ailing dog, as the surest way for them to avoid cruelty charges. Now, as the video reveals, Pancake’s world has opened up: She lives indoors for the first time in her life, and she’s learning how to go on walks, snuggle on the sofa with “brother” Dylan, and accept affection from her foster guardians turned adopters, who fell in love with her right away.

“Everything is new to a dog who’s been living on a chain,” explains adopter Jessica in PETA’s video. “I’m excited for Pancake’s future. She has so many adventures yet to come. They’re just going to have to come slowly because she’s going to be dealing with the trauma of her previous life forever.”

“Dogs are social pack animals, and condemning them to solitary confinement leaves them with lifelong emotional scars,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “All of us at PETA are elated to see Pancake enjoying her new life, and we encourage everyone to help dogs like her by reporting neglect and lobbying for chaining bans.”

Pancake is one of several dogs featured in The Washington Post Magazine’s recent cover story about PETA’s work to help lonely, chained dogs near its headquarters in Virginia. PETA provides thousands of dogs every year with clean water, food, insulated doghouses, toys, straw bedding in the winter, flea and flystrike control in summer, affection that they wouldn’t otherwise receive, and—when possible—a chance at a real life, like the one Pancake is finally enjoying.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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