Poor young Raffles had never known a day without worry and hunger. At just 8-weeks old, he was advertised online along with people’s unwanted furniture and second-hand washing machines.

Who would see the ad? Who would come to take him? He’d already had a rocky start to life—the product of a backyard breeder who had neglected Raffles so badly he was in poor physical and mental shape for such a young pup.

He needed help.

So many of the puppies and dogs we rescue have emotional as well as physical damage, just like Raffles did. They are frightened of everyday sounds and objects and often too scared to enjoy things healthy dogs do like romps in the grass and chasing a ball.

Luckily for Raffles, someone did see his ad online and they went to visit him. What they saw shocked them.

Raffles’ home was a broken child’s play pen that was crammed underneath a desk. It was surrounded by an old screen door and speakers that acted as a barricade.

The poor little pup had no room to play, he slept in the same place he was forced to go to the toilet. The pen was soaking wet with both water and urine and smelled like the inside of a rubbish bin.

Thankfully, the person who went to see Raffles called the RSPCA. Inspector Peta responded to the cruelty call and what she saw broke her heart.

“He was just so tiny. I could tell he was anxious the way he was scratching and jumping, trying to escape the pen.

“I saw immediately he was so malnourished and smaller than he should have been. Excrement and dirt covered poor Raffles’ coat and overgrown nails."

Back at the shelter, Raffles had a warm bath, maybe the first he’d ever had.

He was put on the scales and found to be severely underweight at just 3.2 kilos.

The skilled vet team made a plan to treat his physical problems. But something still wasn’t right.

There are parts of an animal you can’t see that need just as much healing as broken bones and skinny bodies. And it takes trained experts to do it.

Here at RSPCA WA, we have a team of expertly trained behaviour specialists who assess every dog and cat that comes in.

Straight away, Behaviour Trainer Heather knew she and the team were going to have to spend a lot of time with Raffles.

“He didn’t know what to do when someone tried to pat him. He would freeze in terror.

“His head hung low, and his little body would lean away, trembling like a tiny leaf in a storm. Every noise freaked him out. He had no trust.”

It takes a lot of patience and effort for experts like Heather to build the confidence of a dog like Raffles to the point where they are ready to find their forever home.

This kind of intense behaviour work is time-consuming and expensive.

We couldn’t even think of starting on such an involved program without the generous support of people like you.

Over time, Raffles was exposed to a wide range of sights, smells, interactions and experiences.

When things got too overwhelming for him, he found solace in a stuffed toy fox that never left his side.

After many sessions with the behaviour specialists, Raffles slowly learned that human touch could be a good thing.

He gradually stopped flinching and turning away. He finally learned to be comfortable with the sound of a passing car or the wind in the trees, and was able to enjoy playing and receiving pats.

Today, your gift will ensure that the injuries you can see, as well as the ones you can’t, will be carefully mended in vulnerable animals like Raffles.

Raffles is now living a happy, comfortable life in his forever home.