When a woman in Athens, Greece first saw Petra, a mixed breed stray, it was impossible to not notice how strange she looked. Petra, who was five at the time, had her entire face covered in what looked like stone. She was terrified of humans to the point that people wondered if she’d ever been around them before. It was impossible to get near her, so pictures of her were posted to Facebook, hoping someone would be able to help.
Someone finally stepped up and managed to capture Petra. Valia Orfanidou works with Save a Greek Stray shelter and has rehabilitated many dogs, so she knew how to help. Val started by naming her Petra – it means “stone” in Greek.
In truth, Petra’s condition was due to a severe case of mange and had nothing to do with turning to stone. On top of her mange, she had leishamiasis, a life-threatening condition caused by bugs spreading on a dog.
Once her physical afflictions had been dealt with, it was time to deal with an even greater challenge, her fear of people. She hated to be touched or have any interaction with humans, preferring to stay in her cage. She didn’t even like being near other dogs and would hide or growl when they approached.
This didn’t deter Valia. She wouldn’t give up on Petra. Approaching Petra took a while to prove successful. The first time, Petra peed herself in her cage when she was approached. The second time took an hour before she would walk even a few feet from her cage.
As time passed, Petra started to change. She became willing to interact with people, eventually started wagging her tail and actually wanted to play with other dogs and be petted.
Today, she’s completely unrecognizable. Her fur has completely grown back where it had fallen out and she’s not the cowering dog who is terrified of her own shadow. Her journey wasn’t easy, but seeing her today you’d never guess what she had been through.