Sometimes a stray has spent so long on the streets that it turns feral. But when an animal-rescue volunteer saw this giant homeless dog, she hoped she could help. She just couldn’t turn a blind eye.
The story of the huge dog begins with a woman. Simply identified as E, the rescue volunteer spotted the large stray while driving near Athens, Greece. Abandoned and alone, the dog was hanging out at a highway gas station.
Curiously, the big dog was about 40 miles from the Greek capital. And despite his size, he was clearly underweight and unhealthy. In addition, he couldn’t stop scratching himself – a sure sign of an irritable skin condition.
The stray wasn’t bothering anyone and seemed to be actively avoiding human contact. The woman stopped and took some photographs; she also made a promise to help. Subsequently, E couldn’t get her mind off the colossal canine. His large, sad green eyes haunted her.
Indeed, it broke E’s heart to think the dog was out there without anyone to care for him. So just 48 hours later, she set out hoping to get the gentle giant off the streets for good. This time, however, she wasn’t alone.
A volunteer from TheOrphanPet, a rescue group which finds homes for Greek strays, joined E to help catch the dog she named Arnie. And if he could be rescued, TheOrphanPet had contacts to help him find a home, too.
As it turned out, the volunteers were in luck – and so was Arnie. They found the dog on a cold night as he was threading his way around vehicles at the gas station. His rescuers, however, would still face some passive resistance.
It’s not known how long Arnie had been on the streets or what he had experienced in the past. Whatever his backstory, though, the big dog spurned all human approach. He wasn’t aggressive or threatening – just hesitant to let anyone come close.
And so it became a question of how to help a dog that was distrustful of humans. Arnie was steadfast in his reluctance, but he had touched E’s heart. She simply refused to let him live a lonely life on the streets any longer.
So when carefully approaching Arnie didn’t work, rescuers tried using food to gain his trust. But, despite being obviously underfed, the large dog was still too wary to get close to the humans. At first, he even refused to take the tasty treats when they were thrown to him.
Because of Arnie’s mistrust, E did the smartest thing: she let the dog come to her. After she remained still and showed him patience, he began to realize that she meant him no harm. Slowly but surely, Arnie got closer to her, until he was sitting next to her.
But even so, it wasn’t until E requested to be left alone with Arnie that he fully accepted her. After he spent time with just her, the huge dog dropped his defenses. Then, finally, E was able to capture him.
“After catching him and putting him in the car everything was a piece of cake,” TheOrphanPet wrote on its rescue video upload. “The giant is one of the most submissive and kind animals I have ever met.” Additionally, he was well behaved during his medical check-up.
Arnie, as well as being underweight for his size, continued scratching his skin. Most likely, he suffered from malnutrition and flea bites. The good news, however, was that Arnie’s problems were all treatable and he just needed some time to recover.
But that wasn’t the only change in the big dog. Indeed, once he was off the streets, his shy demeanor disappeared. Under the care of the shelter, he was no longer wary of every human he met.
“[Arnie’s] rescuer helped him gain back his trust in people,” the caption on the big dog’s rescue video explained. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that he’s the same dog as the one who was too wary to take food. Arnie, it turned out, also discovered a new joy in life.
And that joy was humans. “Arnie turned out to be a people’s dog,” TheOrphanPet revealed. Despite his background on the streets, or perhaps because of it, the gentle giant now loves people. Hopefully, then, this affection will help him find a forever home that he can call his own.
Indeed, it was for this reason that not-for-profit charity Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS) took Arnie under its wing. Now, the organization is looking for a family that can pamper the pooch with love. And the volunteers there have definitely fallen for Arnie’s charms.
“He is good with people, kids, dogs and cats,” the group wrote on its Facebook page. “He’s a very submissive dog.” The group also said that he’s still getting used to the good things in life. “[He’s] sometimes playful, although he is not sure how to play yet.”
“Today Arnie is healthy, neutered and happy,” TheOrphanPet revealed. “He is a sweetheart and has made all SCARS volunteers go crazy about him. He is just too adorable!!” We hope Arnie finds his forever home soon. After all, he deserves a loving family with big hearts.