Internet sensation rescue dog 'Rihanna' starring in new movie 'Rescue Dogs: The Movie"

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A dog who gained internet fame is still in need of a home years later.

"As you can see from her face, she's had a rough life and she's come very far," said Ali Phillips, Allied Dog Trainer.

The scars on Rihanna's face reveal her ordeal, used as a bait dog in dog fighting; her teeth were filed down so she couldn't bite back.

"She's defenseless and they basically tear them apart and sometimes kill them," Phillips said.

Rihanna's still in foster care with her trainer waiting for a forever home.

It's been three years since she was rescued off death row after becoming an internet sensation when thousands signed a petition to save her.

Now Rihanna's the New York mascot for "Rescue Dogs: The Movie," a new film starring all sorts of animals which were all rescued.

"We've got a different charity in each of 22 cities we are releasing in. Each one has its own that does amazing stuff," said Jordan Rawlins, the writer and one of the stars of the movie.

The non-profit "Second Chance Rescue," based in Queens, rescued Rihanna and hundreds of others set to be put to sleep.

"We don't have a facility. We have volunteers who take them into their homes and love them," said Jennifer Brooks, of Second Chance Rescue.

Her charity relies on people like Regina Mendoza, a Flushing homeowner.

She's turned her home and her yard into a foster camp.

"It started very innocently bringing home one dog and over one year I foster over 120 dogs," Mendoza said.

Castle, the puppy with a deformed paw, and Baby Joey are two dogs in residence now.

"Both his rear paws were chopped off. He was in pain and bleeding to death," Mendoza said.

But watch how he manages to scoot, keeping up without the use of his hind legs.

"If we hadn't come along he would have been euthanized because most organizations can't handle the dogs with deformities, can't handle the financial burden," Brooks said.

"We need to have the yard levelled and we need to install dog friendly canine grass," said Therese O'Neill, of Second Chance Rescue.

Keeping up with the cost relying on donations is a challenge, but the volunteers, who house , feed, or sometimes just show up to pet and walk the dogs will tell you they're not rescuing the dogs, the dogs rescue them.

"A rescue dog will always be eternally grateful because you saved their life," O'Neill said.

The "Rescue Dog" movie is playing this weekend at the Malverne in Hempstead and you may get to meet some of those pups at an adoption event during the matinee.

The big takeaway is that if you are interested in adopting a dog; make sure you know what's your getting yourself into. Pets require a lot of time, and money, you shouldn't take on an animal if you're not financially prepare for more tip on bringing a pet into your home.

For more information please visit:
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.