In 2016, Gibson County Animal Shelter in Tennessee took in a dog named Niya who had had a very rough life.
The poor dog had been abused by her former owner—they used a can to muzzle her, which left her with scars on her face. She also had a gash above her eye. On top of all that, the dog also had heartworm and whipworms. Since she had been through so much, the dog was very shy and nervous around people.
When Kimberley Slown, founder of Illinois-based rescue group Arrow Dog Rescue, heard about Niya, she knew she wanted to help the dog. She decided to take Niya out of the shelter and bring her to her rescue.
Niya was so scared, she wouldn’t even walk out of her kennel at the shelter. Slown had to carry the 47-pound dog to her car.
When they reached Slown’s house, Niya curled up into a corner and went to sleep. She stayed in that corner all day and all night, refusing to move. Slown didn’t bother Niya—she knew the dog needed time to get comfortable in her new environment.
On her second night in Slown’s house, Niya finally left her corner.
Something had changed in Niya. She seemed to understand that she was safe now and with people who wanted to help. And so, in the middle of the night, Niya walked into Slown’s bedroom and pressed her nose into Slown’s hand while she slept. Slown woke up and felt something warm in her hand. She looked down and saw Niya’s big blue eyes staring back at her.
“She just breathed into my hand and I woke up and immediately paid attention to her, petting her and talking to her,” Slown tells The Dodo. ” She smiled and leaned in.”
After a few minutes, Niya went back to her bed. But then, a couple hours later, she reappeared at Slown’s side.
“A couple of hours later, the same thing,” Slown says. “It was overwhelming. I was crying.”
After that, Niya started getting more and more comfortable with Slown and her wife Terri. She made their hearts melt on multiple occasions, like the time she smiled at them when they were on their way home from the veterinarian. Slown and Terri were also thrilled when Niya’s tail wagged her tail when Slown pet her.
Slown was originally going to adopt Niya out, but after seeing how happy Niya was in her house, she decided to keep her. Niya joined Slown’s two other dogs, Chet and Charlotte. All three dogs have become great friends!
It’s now been two years since Slown rescued Niya, and the dog is doing great!
She loves cuddling on the couch and watching TV with Slown and Terri. She also likes taking long, leisurely naps on her bed.
Niya has come so far since she was first rescued. She’s gone from a scared pup to a loving animal with a happy home and owners who take great care of her. This sweet dog is doing so well!