A neglected German shepherd, who wound up in a Texas shelter, has learned that with one cute trick, she can get all the snuggles her heart could desire.
When Athena, a 6-year-old rescue dog, holds up her food bowl and stares at her carers with the biggest, sweetest eyes, no one can resist giving her love and attention.
Before being rescued, Athena used to stare at passersby with those same soft eyes. From her yard, the neglected dog begged for attention from random strangers.
In September, her expression caught the attention of some construction workers on their way to a job site in Southeast Texas. They felt prompted to stop and give her some water.
Soon, the good Samaritans realized the dog was in rough shape. They notified a local rescue shelter, Be Intentional, and informed them that Athena was in need of help.
After responders arrived and took in the situation, Athena was taken to the vet.
The examination revealed just how poor her condition really was. Founder of Be Intentional, Christine Kasko told The Dodo that Athena’s condition was one of the worst they’d ever seen.
“She had a harness that was way too small for her that was removed,” she said. “She had every parasite in her system. She also has one of the worst cases of sarcoptic mange the vet has seen.”
Soon after taking her in, the organization created a Facebook page for the poor pooch, where they asked for donations to aid in her recovery.
“She is pretty much skin and bones,” they captioned, adding:
“Her weight is 46 lbs. her head tells the story of how big she should be, but without proper nutrition her growth has been stunted. We have no way to determine how long she has been neglected but suffice it to say, it has been a long time since she was fed properly, given proper medical care, or love and compassion.”
They said that Athena was skittish and afraid to take toys from her caregivers, and that she was with the “best possible foster” parent, who has medical and training expertise in caring for animals.
Still, as skittish as she was, Athena just wanted to cuddle and be loved.
“She is an absolute doll at the vet hospital,” Kasko said. “They have fallen in love with her.”
In fact, she’s so sweet, she’s learned the most adorable trick for winning more treats and affection.
One day, while she was being treated for several infections, she discovered that picking up her bowl and making puppy dog eyes was the best way to get her caregiver’s attention.
The act was so cute, and her condition so sad, no one could resist her begging.
“She gets lots of attention and plenty of food,” Kasko said. “But she has figured out that holding her bowl with her cute little face tends to get her more cuddles.”
The shelter received many kind donations for Athena, including a healthy bone broth cooked up by Houston locals Patti Pullman, Tristan Herbert, and Karen Blanchard.
On Oct. 22, the organization posted an update on Athena, thanking the community for their donations and support, and sharing that the lovable German shepherd is well on her way to a full recovery.
“Athena continues to improve. She will be retested for Scabies next week and begin Doxy to get her Heart Worm treatment going,” they posted.
“She is putting on weight, her hair is coming in nicely and Patti is busy teaching a bit of obedience and MOST IMPORTANT she is being loved and spoiled!!! Thank you all for your generous donations! We really appreciated it!”
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