5 min read

Dog Who Spent 2 Years Living In The Woods Finally Decides To Trust Someone

"I came back in the pouring rain. I got out of my van and I heard whining and howling."

The people who worked at an office complex in Kennesaw, Georgia, did everything they could for the dog who lived in a small forest behind their building.

They named her Shelby and left food out for her, even toys.

"They put up a tarp in the woods," Jason Flatt, founder of Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue, tells The Dodo. "They put signs up. They spoke with the management of the property about her."

But for two years, despite their best efforts, they couldn't coax Shelby to come out of the woods. They figured she had been left behind when her owners moved out of a nearby apartment building.

Only, every now and then, the dog would emerge and sit on a patch of grass at the edge of the forest - as if she was checking those apartment windows to see if her owners had finally come back.

Then she would fade back into her solitary forest home.

Last year, one of the office workers called Flatt, hoping he could trap the dog and find a home for her.

But at the time, Flatt was too busy to take on Shelby's case. His rescue was crammed to capacity with dogs looking for homes. Besides, it seemed the dog was at least safe and, under the circumstances, cared for.

But when someone called Flatt last week, the situation had become much more urgent. The forest where the dog lived was about to disappear to make room for development.

Knowing Shelby was out of options, Flatt rushed to the scene.

It didn't take long for him to trap Shelby, who had gotten used to food being left out for her. She followed a food bowl right into a crate and the door automatically closed behind her.

"I came back in the pouring rain," Flatt recalls. "I got out of my van and I heard whining and howling. There she was in the trap."

For a dog who spent two years on her own, clinging to the faintest hope that her owners might return, Shelby adjusted quickly to her return to civilization.

In fact, it took just three days for the forest dog to become a family dog again.

"On the first day, she was nervous, but I could pet her," Flatt says. "By the third day, she was jumping up and down."

And kissing the man who brought her in from the cold.

Shelby was vaccinated and examined by a vet, who determined she's heartworm positive. But the condition is treatable. And more importantly, so is her broken heart.

Think you might like to help Shelby take the next step and give her a real home?

Get in touch with Friends to the Forlorn through its adoption page.

And if you would like to support Friends to the Forlorn in its mission to save countless dogs like Shelby, consider making a donation.