It’s heartbreaking to hear about the terrible things some people do to dogs. Riona, a lovable dog, went through something awful when her owner cruelly set her on fire last year.
But now, there’s a silver lining. Almost a year after that terrible day, Riona is finally moving to a new home. The incident happened in Nutbush, Tennessee, where people saw Riona, a pitbull mix, running down the street covered in flames. The smell of gasoline made it clear that someone had purposely done this to her.
Mallory Mclemore, who is with Bluff City Veterinary Specialists, told Memphis Commercial Appeal that there was a strong smell of gasoline. Ginger Natoli, who started Tails of Hope Dog Rescue, confirmed to Newsweek that Riona was intentionally set on fire. They even got a video from a neighbor’s camera that shows Riona running while on fire.
Poor Riona lost an ear due to the burns, but luckily, her left eye was saved thanks to emergency medical care. Tails of Hope Dog Rescue took her in and she got medical help at Bluff City Veterinary Specialists. They made sure to wrap her whole body in bandages two times a day to help protect her skin while it healed.
Riona’s story became super popular after a video on TikTok got millions of views. People from all over felt for Riona.
Her road to getting better was not easy. She had to get skin grafts because she had really bad burns all over. Even though she went through something so awful, Riona stayed happy and loving. Mallory Mclemore mentioned how Riona’s tail never stopped wagging and how sweet she was. She said it’s heartbreaking that someone could do this to such a loving dog, as Riona just loves everybody.
Ginger Natoli said to the Commercial Appeal that despite her ordeal, Riona still looked cute with one ear, adding that it even seemed to make her personality more endearing.
As Riona continued to get better, Tails of Hope kept sharing updates about her. People who cared about Riona’s story sent money and presents for her.
While all this was happening, the police arrested 43-year-old Quishon Brown. They think he’s the one who set Riona on fire. He’s being charged with a misdemeanor for assault and two more serious charges for being really cruel to an animal and for setting personal property on fire. His trial is yet to happen.
Riona’s story had such a big impact that it even helped pass a new law in Tennessee to fight against animal cruelty, according to a Facebook post.
As time went on, Riona got better bit by bit. And now, there’s great news: about a year after the terrible incident, Riona is moving to a new home! Tails of Hope mentioned that they’re taking Riona on a ten-hour road trip to bring her to her new home where she’ll be loved and cared for. This is a truly inspiring turn in Riona’s story.
Ginger Natoli, talking to the Commercial Appeal, said they achieved their goal of finding Riona a forever home. Riona now has other dogs and kids to play with, a big yard, and a family that understands her injuries because they have experience in the medical field.
Tails of Hope shared on Facebook that Riona’s story is just starting and thanked everyone for being a part of this miracle. They called Riona their “warrior” girl. Tails of Hope also mentioned that their work never stops. Right after Riona left, they took in another dog who had also been burned. They said, “There is always another in need. Now we get to be part of yet another story.” It’s really sad what Riona had to go through, but it’s amazing that she has found a new home where she can be happy and loved.