Life at an animal shelter can be stressful for abused dogs — especially if they are temporarily penned in a busy pound like the Fulton County Animal Shelter near Atlanta, Georgia.
Being surrounded by other homeless pups that are constantly barking, whining, and yipping can be terrifying for any dog, but especially for psychologically traumatized strays.
The fear they feel can be overwhelming, and for a homeless pup named Iris, it was too much for her to bear.
For years, Iris lived on the streets of Georgia, fending for herself. It’s difficult to say what neglect and abuse she faced, but it was clear that life at the animal shelter terrified her.
Every day, she did her best to hide, shoving her nose in the corner of a cinder block cell.
Even though Iris was in the cell with her pregnant sister Daffodil, she was so fearful, she wouldn’t leave her corner.
Thankfully, one volunteer named Laurel-Ann Dooley realized that Iris needed help or else she would be beyond saving. She couldn’t bear to think of this timid pup being euthanized.
So, Dooley turned to Facebook.
“To say this sweet pup is terrified is more than an understatement,” Dooley wrote on Facebook. “Iris is completely shut down and just pancakes on the floor, pushing her nose as far into the corner as it will go. She lets me pet her but remains cringing against the wall. No treat will tempt her — she is not interested in eating.”
The BarkVille Dog Rescue saw Dooley’s plea for help. The rescue then reached out to their network of fosters to find places for both sisters.
Daffodil quickly found a home where she could safely give birth to her puppies, but Iris wasn’t having much luck. Fostering a pup so traumatized isn’t easy, but one former vet tech was up to the challenge.
When Lin Rocke saw Iris’s photo, she knew she had to help.
She begged her husband to let her foster Iris…and, soon enough, the couple made the trip to pick up Iris. They both knew their home was perfect for a dog like her.
The first night, Iris didn’t leave the corner of her cage. She was still completely terrified, unsure of what was happening and where she was.
But then, a friend appeared who would save her life: a Golden Retriever named Letty.
Although Iris had difficulty trusting humans, she quickly learned that Letty was her rock. It was because of her that Iris timidly left her crate.
The Golden Retriever even tempted Iris to jump up on the bed — something the homeless dog probably never experienced in her life!
Being close to Letty also meant that Iris could begin to familiarize herself with her foster parents.
“Letty can also fit up on the bed with us and help bridge the gap between myself and Iris,” Rocke said via The Dodo. “Iris definitely gravitates to Letty. She trusted her immediately and moved to the bed from the top of the crate to be closer to her.”
Iris is still very fearful of her new home and the humans in it, but she has begun to eat and drink (even when her foster mom is still close by). The traumatized pup is obviously grateful for her rescuers and the care they give her…but she still doesn’t know what love is, or why she should trust a human.
Thankfully, as each day passes, Iris grows more and more brave. Between sitting on the bed, cuddling with Letty, and accepting food from her foster parents, she is beginning to learn what life can be like in a loving home.
Taking home a new, roly-poly puppy from a breeder is easy…but to put everything on the line for an abused dog so fearful of humans? It’s truly a heroic act — and the Rocke family should be applauded for their generosity and kindness!