The dog had spent years roaming the streets of Oropos, a rural area near Athens, Greece, enduring the harsh elements that left her body ravaged with infections and disease.

They named her Petra, after the Greek word for “stone,” because her skin was hardened and scaly from severe mange. Pictures of her plight circulated on social media, catching the attention of Valia Orfanidou, an experienced dog rehabilitator.

Valia was deeply moved by Petra’s story, even though they had not yet met. She expressed, “Even severely emaciated and with her face hardened by mange, the way she looked directly into the camera made her appear beautiful. As if she was peering into your soul.”

Her compassion for Petra prompted Valia to contact the rescue organization and arrange a visit. She recounted, “I wasn’t a volunteer at that shelter back then, but I awaited updates on her every week. Finally, I met her a few months after she had fully recovered from all her ailments—mange, leishmaniasis, ehrlichia… you name it.”

Valia, who had rescued dogs labeled as “hopeless” cases before, soon realized that Petra faced a greater challenge than her health issues—she simply did not trust anyone.

“Despite months of love and care, she remained too fearful,” Valia explained. “She was reluctant to leave her cage and would growl at other dogs.”

Valia embarked on a journey to rehabilitate Petra. “The first time I walked her, it took us an hour to cover just a few meters from her cage,” she recalled. “But each week, she became more willing to walk, started to accept affection, and gradually tolerated the company of other dogs.”