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You could tell the dog had been chained for a long time by looking at her neck. The fur around it was stained black from where the chain had rubbed against it. It wasn't a lightweight chain either — it was made of heavy, thick-linked metal and was tethered to the dog's neck with a large padlock.

A woman driving by spotted the dog, who'd be named Violet, as well as five other chained dogs on the same property, according to Angela Stell, founder and director of NMDOG, an organization that rescues chained dogs. Violet was about 2 years old when she was found in December 2016, and it was possible she'd been on the chain her entire life.

The property was in Miguel County, New Mexico, where it's illegal to keep dogs chained without owners being present. The woman got in touch with Animal Welfare Coalition of Northeastern New Mexico, and the county sheriff department eventually took the dogs into custody.

"She was very, very afraid, and is still a little timid," Stell said. "If you raise your hand to do something, or move your hand too fast, she kind of ducks and cowers, like you're going to hit her. I can't imagine what somebody did to make her do that. But she is coming around with nice words and good, positive interactions."

And every day, Violet is slowly learning to trust people, and is becoming more comfortable in her new environment. "I've caught her a couple times playing with her squeaky raccoon toy," Stell said. "She'll bat it a bit, and then look around to see if anybody is watching her. So she'll be very playful and carefree, and will be able to put this all behind her."

Violet still has more healing to do, and she also needs to be spayed, Stell said. But after a few weeks, Violet will be up for adoption.