It’s truly shocking how heartless some people can be towards animals. A sweet pup named Riona suffered as much as anybody after being brutally set on fire by her owner last year. Now, nearly a year after that horrific incident, Riona is about to start a new chapter in her life by going to her new home.

In June of the previous year, the residents of Nutbush, Tennessee, witnessed a horrifying sight. Riona, a pit bull mix, ran down the street in flames, with the scent of gas confirming that she had been deliberately set on fire.

Mallory Mclemore of Bluff City Veterinary Specialists recalled, “All you could smell was gas.”

“She was burnt and covered in diesel fuel… It confirmed she was set on fire via witness statements,” Ginger Natoli, founder of Tails of Hope Dog Rescue, told Newsweek. “We have obtained ring cam footage from a neighbor that also shows her running in a ball of flames.”

Riona’s ear was burned off, but her left eye was saved through an emergency medical response. Tails of Hope Dog Rescue took her in and provided her with medical care at Bluff City Veterinary Specialists. She received daily full body wraps to protect her burned skin.

Her recovery journey began with multiple skin grafts to address the severe fourth-degree burns across her body. Despite the trauma, Riona showed good spirits throughout her healing process.
Mclemore noted, “She’s just always wagging her tail. That’s what makes it even worse, I guess. Not that it would ever be OK, but just being so sweet and for somebody to do something like this to her. She just loves everybody.”

As Riona’s story spread, donations and gifts poured in from supporters who followed her progress.
Meanwhile, a 43-year-old named Quishon Brown was arrested for allegedly setting Riona on fire. He faced charges of misdemeanor assault and two felonies, including aggravated cruelty to animals and setting fire to personal property. And the case is pending trial.
As the months went by, Riona’s condition gradually got better. She is preparing for her new home almost a year after the tragedy. Riona would be transported to her forever home via a ten-hour road trip, according to a Tails of Hope announcement.

According to Natoli, “Our goal was to get her a forever home, and that’s exactly what we found.” Riona’s new family includes other dogs to play with, children, a spacious yard, and caregivers with medical experience who understand her injuries.

As Tails of Hope conveyed, Riona’s story is far from over—it’s a new beginning. Their Facebook post stated, “We have all been a part of this miracle, our ‘warrior’ girl.”

Reminding us that animal rescues are a continuous effort, Tails of Hope shared that right after Riona left for her new home, they welcomed another rescue dog who had suffered burns. “There is always another in need,” they emphasized, underscoring the ongoing nature of their work.

While Riona’s past was marked by a dreadful ordeal, her future is looking brighter as she embarks on this new chapter in her life.

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