'Ugliest dog in the world' saved by humans who see his heart

CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Many people believed, the most unkind word in the dictionary, unfortunately fit this dog to a "T".

"Most people look at this dog and say he's an ugly dog. We had people say why? Just put him down," Crystal Hopson said, who is the director of Hartman's Haven Dog Rescue in Catawba County.

On the 4th of July, a lonely old dog wandered out of the woods in Hickory and seemed to ask for help.

The dog was covered in mange and scabs, carried around nothing but skin and bones and suffered from sepsis. The poor dog was close to death.

The dog then fell into the care of Hartman's Haven Dog Rescue. Hopson decided, even on the dog's deathbed, that he deserved a chance.

So that's just what they gave him.

"We gave it a try. Started him on some antibiotics and some fluids and things," Dr. Whitted said, who is with the Conover Veterinary Hospital.

Just over a week later, people have started to see just like beauty, ugly is also only skin deep.

"You just have to look into their heart, and their soul. You look into their eyes and you can just see it. You have to look past the outer beauty or ugliness. You have to look deep inside of them and you just have to be their voice," Hopson said with a proud smile.

With a voice, also came a name.

Rocket the miracle dog.

"He's starting to get used to touch. He didn't like it so much the first day, but he's starting to get used to it," Corey Wilfong said, who's currently fostering Rocket.

After daily care with his foster mom and more love than he's probably ever known, Rocket's prognosis has nothing to do with a deathbed. And if there's one time you wish dogs really could understand, everybody hopes Rocket knows, ugly is just a word in a book.

And it has been replaced with a much better one: Love.

The dog rescue has already spent thousands of dollars on Rocket's lifesaving care. They're desperately seeking donations to continue his care.

If you're interesting in helping, you can click here.

 Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.