Petra, the Greek word for “stone” and befitting of this sweet dog, was rescued by Save a Greek Stray in April 2015 in the small town of Oropos, Greece. Mythology lovers might suggest she made the disastrous mistake of meeting Medusa’s gaze, but her stony appearance was actually the result of a very severe case of mange.
After years on the streets, Petra was left weak and starving due to parasitic and bacterial infections. It took the rescue three days to track her whereabouts with the help of fellow citizens, and they quickly realized that her medical conditions would be only half the battle.
She was extremely frightened and untrustworthy, and had a long road ahead if she ever wanted to live alongside humans.
“Petra has one last fight to give—it started today,” read the Save a Greek Stray Facebook page nearly ten months ago. No one knows how she came to be in that state, but she was about to get the best shot at a new life.
When animal-lover Valia Orfanidou began to volunteer at the shelter, it was several months after she started following the story. She writes on YouTube:
I could never get over that first photo. Even severly [sic] emaciated and with her face turned into stone by mange, the way she looked right into the camera made her look gorgeous. As if she was looking into your soul.
By that point Petra had recovered from her ailments; she was unrecognizable. An ordinary dog now in many ways, and yet still so far to go before she learned to be one. She was as fearful as they come—unwilling to engage in human contact, and growling at fellow shelter dogs. Everything about her behavior was unfair, she deserved so much more from the very start.
“I started working with her,” Orfanidou writes. “The first time I walked her it took us one hour to cover a distance of just a few meters from her cage. Every week she was more willing to go for a walk, she started tolerating affection and the company of other dogs.” Every Wednesday this was their routine, until one day Petra actually wagged her tail when Orfanidou arrived.
The video tribute made for the pup’s amazing journey shows a hopeful Orfanidou repeatedly trying for kisses, but it isn’t until the very end that Petra is confident enough to give one. It’s a simple gesture, and lots of dogs do it, but those little licks seemed filled with gratitude. Gratitude not just for this woman, but for everyone who played a part in her recovery. Even if they weren’t around for the doggie breath.
Today Petra is a “happy, social, affectionate, perfect dog,” and just needs one more thing to complete her happy ending: a family. It’s hard to resist her expressive ears, deep eyes, and unique bobbed tail, but it’s her triumphs that really makes her one of a kind.
If you live in the Oropos area, please send any inquiries for Petra to the Save a Greek Stray webpage. She can’t wait to meet you! Any donations to this wonderful organization can also be made through PayPal to [email protected].