Bailey the wolfhound and her pups have plenty of wag in their tails these days.
But it could have been a very different story for the canine family, which was seized from an East Nowra home by the RSPCA late last year.
Owner Suzette Brignell was last week found guilty in her absence in Nowra Local Court of animal cruelty charges and has been ordered to pay nearly $15,000.
A warrant is now out for her arrest.
Flea-ridden and severely underweight, Bailey was found tied to a tree with five tiny suckling pups last October.
She is now undergoing rehabilitation in the hope of some day finding a happy future with a loving family.
RSPCA veterinary behaviourist Dr Amanda Cole works closely with neglected and abused animals to diagnose their issues and teach them how to trust people again.
Behavioural problems, including aggression or avoidance of humans and compulsive and self-harming disorders, are just some of the problems she sees.
"If you picture what may have happened to some of these animals, regaining their trust and getting them to a point where ... we can actually work with them can be quite difficult, but it's a worthwhile endeavour," she said.
Some need medication.
"Gradually, we just make humans a positive and fun thing for them and we'll retrain their brain to anticipate good things from humans, as opposed to what they've previously been exposed to when a human is around, " she said.
Despite their patient and well-meaning work, some animals simply can't be rehabilitated, but others are only too eager to trust again.
"You get surprised when you get animals who are emaciated or who have suffered neglect and are quite willing to come up and wag their tails when they see you.
"It's a nice occurrence when it happens," she said.
Bailey's five pups - Billie, Jasmine, Leo, Dutch and Milo - now each weigh a healthy 30 kilograms and are five months old.