At the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society, we encounter many incredible animals, each with their own unique story. This is the heartwarming journey of Athena, a resilient German Shepherd mix who touched our hearts and found her loving home after a year of dedicated care. 

Patience and perseverance help Athena overcome her fears 

Athena first came into our care in March 2023. The transition to an animal centre was difficult for her, and she began to experience significant kennel stress. Athena was experiencing frustration from being in an unknown environment and was also displaying fear-based reactivity. She was especially fearful of unknown people, which presented ongoing challenges in her adoption journey.  

Despite these obstacles, her animal care team was committed to helping Athena find her way and she was brought to the Provincial Dog Rehabilitation Centre for some extra TLC. 

Through patience and perseverance, Athena began to show remarkable improvement. Once she was ready, Athena met several potential adopters, but finding the right fit took time. We never gave up hope, and neither did Athena. 

Athena finds her loving home 

Finally, in February 2024, a wonderful couple came into her life. They were moving to a large property, and their patience, understanding, and love for Athena made them the perfect match. After 12 months in our care, Athena had found her loving home! 

“Athena was very nervous during the car ride from the animal centre, but she instantly felt at home once she arrived,” says Sara, Athena’s adopter. 

Athena now enjoys sleeping on their bed and curling up on the couch. Sara says that Athena sometimes tricks her into getting up so she can take her spot on the chair. When they are outside together, Sara plays chase with Athena, who delights in running up and down the slope in the yard.  

“She likes to run up our little set of stairs and throw herself down the slope to run as fast as she can. We regularly play chase together.” 

Sara says Athena has turned “Scooby Doo” into a verb with her antics. 

“She can get so excited that she skitters around on her ridiculously long legs like she’s in a cartoon, and sometimes gets so tangled up in herself that she falls over,” Sara says with a laugh.  

Athena’s antics continue to bring joy and laughter to her new home. She is a lovable dog, seeking comfort from her parents when faced with things that make her nervous. 

On the May long weekend, Athena experienced life at the cottage for the first time. She was so thrilled by the water and sand that she sprinted back and forth, splashing and digging with boundless energy. Sara could barely keep up with her, making it one of the funniest and most joyous experiences they’ve shared. 

Since her adoption, Athena has been thriving. Her journey from a fearful and reactive dog to a happy and confident companion is truly inspiring. Athena’s story is a shining example of what can be achieved through dedication, compassion, and community support. 

Thank you! 

We want to extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who supported Athena’s journey—our staff, volunteers, foster families, and the wonderful community members who shared her story and offered their encouragement. 

If you are interested in other heartwarming stories, read Beam’s story, a deaf dog’s journey with the Provincial Dog Rehabilitation Centre. 

If you were touched by this story, please consider making a donation to help animals like Athena get the second chance they deserve. 

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