Although the experience of adopting an animal can be incredibly rewarding, it is not something that should be jumped into without a lot of forethought. Yes, dogs and cats make wonderful companions who are fun and loving, but they are also a huge responsibility. Adopting a pet should be considered on par with adopting a child, yet many don’t recognize this and are faced with the reality that they are not financially prepared to pay for food, vet bills, and other expense – or perhaps, they simply don’t have the time needed to care for animals – when it is already too late. When this happens, people often abandon their animals on the streets or, in the best case scenario, surrender them to local animal shelters.

PAWS Atlanta Animal Shelter is used to taking in animals from owners who get in over their heads. But a local woman showed up with one of the worst cases of animal neglect the shelter had ever seen.

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This dog, now named Spirit by rescuers, was 20 pounds underweight and covered in fleas.

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The woman came in and waited her turn to surrender Spirit. While she was waiting, shelter staff called the authorities to alert them about the state of the dog now in their care.

In the meantime, Spirit was taken into custody at PAWS and plans were made to help her recover. As veterinarian Dr. Ashley put it, “We’ve got a lot of work to do.” It will take months for Spirit to make a full recovery, but we can take comfort in the fact that a full recovery is actually possible – many other animals aren’t so lucky.

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The woman who surrendered Spirit listed “allergies” as the reason for abandoning the pup. The authorities have launched an investigation to find out how Spirit ended up in such a state.

Photo Credit: PAWS Atlanta

Spirit was uneasy at first – likely because she was not used to being treated kindly. With a little time, though, she became friendly and loving. According to her caretakers, she’s doing great thanks to proper nutrition and care.

Photo Credit: PAWS Atlanta

What’s most important is that Spirit showed no signs of intestinal parasites, heart worms, or other lingering diseases. She’s been putting on weight steadily since living at PAWS as well.

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Spirit now has a foster mom who is teaching her what it means to be loved and cared for. Looks like this pup will be back on her feet in no time!

Spirit with her foster mom. Photo Credit: PAWS Atlanta

To learn more about Spirit and the other dogs at PAWS, visit their Facebook or their website.

All image source: PAWS Atlanta/Facebook