In April 2015, a woman spotted a stray dog from a distance outside Athens, Greece, whose face had completely hardened.
She took a photo and posted it to Facebook, in hopes that the right people would see it and come to help. This 5-year-old, appeared to be made of stone was a mixed breed dog that was sick, terrified and had no way of knowing that day would mean the end of her suffering.
Petra, Greek for “stone,” had never interacted with people before, causing her to be terrified of them. It was impossible to approach her and she would run away if anyone came too close. Rescuing her was extremely difficult, but everyone refused to give up.
After she was finally captured, she was brought to the Save a Greek Stray shelter in Oropos, Greece. Valia Orfanidou, met Petra and knew she had to help her for she helped rehabilitate many other dogs.
“I think she’s always been a stray because she looked like she had never been around people,” Orfanidou told The Dodo. “Even dogs in that condition, if they’ve been around people are more friendly. Petra looked like she had never been touched.”
Petra was in extremely poor condition, and was treated for virtually everything, from mange, a skin infection causing painful scabs and lesions, to leishamiasis, an infection spread by bugs that can be deadly if left untreated. The severe mange diagnosis was the culprit behind Petra’s stone like appearance.
As they treatment her, the rescuers could see that Petra was still suffering.
“The problem is she still didn’t trust anybody,” Orfanidou said. “She never wanted to leave her cage; she would hide every time she was approached and growl at the other dogs at the shelter.”
The first time Orfanidou tried to approach Petra, the dog was so scared she actually urinated right in her cage Orfanidou refused to give up on her and continued to work on making contact.
“The second time it took us one whole hour to walk just a few meters from her cage,” Orfanidou said. “She would make three or four steps, and then stop. I’d pull her slightly and then a few more steps.”
Every week Petra became a little bit braver. She became more and more willing to leave her cage, and slowly started allowing people touching and interacting with her. Orfanidou never gave up on Petra, and it paid off because she was a totally new dog!
“She started wagging her tail and looked willing to play with us, her toys and the other dogs,” Orfanidou said. Petra, a dog who once wanted nothing to do with anyone, was now more than ready to be loved.