tan wire haired chihuahua

You can’t help but notice Athena.

It might be her pink wardrobe that draws your eye. Or the matching collars with her canine sister. Or when she taps you with a paw to be pet.

But a few months ago, the 8-year-old Chihuahua mix was just one of a crowd, blending in and fading away. Because Athena lived with 18 other dogs.

They were all competing for food, attention, even a spot to rest on the floor. Athena’s allergies got worse until her skin was raw and scabby. Walking grew painful from old, achy joints. She needed a hand.

When local animal control authorities removed the pups from the hoarding situation, and brought Athena to the Connecticut Humane Society, her whole world changed. Animal control worked with local agencies to place the dogs, and knew an old, fragile girl like Athena needed medical care now, as well as people who understand pets with a past—CHS’ medical department was just the place for her.

Because of generous donors who give pets a hand, Athena got everything she needed. The next few weeks went a little something like this:

Physical exam, blood test, medicated bath, and medicine for sore joints and skin irritation; check-up and pep talk; quiet time in a foster home; check-up and dental surgery; recovery, picky eating and meals fed by hand; healing in a foster home; check-up and an all-clear for adoption.

Over that time, she went from a terrified pooch who hid when she met new people, to a happy girl who was pretty in pink sweaters. She wasn’t shy about asking for a lift to your lap, and was curious about who was walking by and what they were up to.

And it turns out Athena was the perfect fit for a previous CHS adopter. He already had adopted a senior Chihuahua gal from CHS and wanted to give a home to another senior pet. Athena might not have gotten the attention and care she needed before, but her new doting dad is sure making up for it.