Yuri was brought to the animal shelter in Cuyahoga County in 2017 with as many issues as any other stray. She had a high fever and was suffering from pneumonia and heartworm disease. She was also scarred and heavily pregnant.

The shelter’s deputy warden, Amanda Kopec, felt a strong initial bond with Yuri. Despite receiving the necessary treatments, the poor dog was not adapting to shelter life. Amanda would sit with Yuri to make sure that she was eating. She eventually recovered, but Yuri’s difficult life did not end there.

Amanda decided to foster and bring home the pregnant pooch. Everything seemed to be getting better as Yuri gave birth to a large brood. Sadly, all the puppies eventually died because of canine herpes. As the two bonded over their grief, Amanda focused on helping Yuri become more healthy and adoptable.

She noticed though that Yuri has some quirky tendencies. The dog is easily startled when being approached from behind and would only obey Amanda when she is within her sight. After some extensive testing, Yuri was diagnosed as deaf and had some neurological issues that cause her to be unsteady and agitated.

Amanda did not give up on Yuri. She started bringing her to the shelter to be a part of a playgroup and socializing program. That was all it took for Yuri to flourish. It turned out that she is a rockstar in helping other dogs learn to socialize.

After a year, Yuri became a foster failure. Amanda officially adopted her, and together, they now help dogs gain their confidence back to become more adoptable and ready for their own forever homes. From a rescue herself, Yuri is now a shelter helper.

Their inspiring story has been entered into a national contest sponsored by PetCo Foundation. The award money amounting to $25,000 could go a long way in helping the Animal Shelter of Cuyahoga County. You can vote for Yuri and Amanda’s story here.

Video source: The Petco Foundation via YouTube


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