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Joy

Shelter dog doesn't know what to do with her first toy but melts when offered affection

The stray pup's smelly, itchy skin condition didn't stop Rocky Kanaka from scooping the sweet girl into his arms.

Rocky Kanaka/YouTube (used with permission)

Katie's had a rough life so far, but she's starting to get the care she needs.

When Rocky Kanaka first met Katie, a scruffy beige Australian Shepherd mix, he thought she was a senior dog. As it turned out, the shelter pup was only about a year old. She had just been found by a good samaritan as a stray, her fur and skin in terrible shape, her paws swollen and her spirit muted. She didn't even want to look at Kanaka when he first entered the kennel to sit with her.

That all changed as he took the time to sit with her and earn her trust. Kanaka has gained a huge following on YouTube with his videos sitting with shelter dogs, and his way with them is truly inspiring. He brings his own home-baked treats and a huge amount of patience and compassion, helping abandoned animals learn that humans can be kind and caring companions.

Katie is one of many dogs Kanaka has visited, and her behavior in the kennel showed him that she hadn't had much of a chance in her short life to learn how to be a dog.


For instance, when Kanaka offered her a stuffed unicorn to play with, she didn't know what to do with it. He tried a squeaky toy, which she also didn't know what to do with and found overwhelming after a few squeaks. She took Kanaka's treats, but not immediately and not in the way a dog who understands the concept of treats would.

But throughout the video, the stray pup responded to Kanaka's affection and love by melting right into it. She even wanted to sit in his lap toward the end, but didn't seem to know how. Kanaka scooped her up, despite the foul smell her skin condition created, and it's clear that this pupper just loves being loved.

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It's hard for animals with obvious health issues, especially something as visible as a skin condition that makes them look and smell bad, to attract people looking to adopt. But by taking half an hour to get to know her, Kanaka helped us all look past all that and see Katie's sweet spirit shine through.

So many people fell in head over heels for Katie through this video:

"OMG, The person who gets her will have the best dog as she is so obviously starved for affection and so willing to give it back ten fold."

"That dog doesn't have an aggressive bone in her body. she was instantly ready for you to pet her."

"Her little tail wag broke my heart for what’s she’s been through but also lifted my spirits that she has a strength to survive and become a loved family member."

"It's shocking how neglected she looks but her desire to be loved is so strong. She's going to bring such joy to her forever home."

"I consider myself somewhat of a tough guy.... I'm from the streets, had a crazy hard life, i did 9 yrs in prison, seen it all, done it all and ain't scared of nothing... I'm telling you that because in spite all that, when i see videos like this, i start crying like a 5 yr old girl...Goes to show you that what life has done to them, we can relate, and we see it in animals that have been hurt by others and part if me wants to knock out someone that would hurt a dog or kitty like that. Animals bring out the love and compassion we've forgotten because we know they're teaching us what we definitely need to learn. What is truly considered, unconditional love...."

Rocky Kanaka's work with dogs is both inspiring and informative, and he's succeeded in helping so many dogs find forever homes instead of languishing in shelters because they don't make the best first impression. Not long after this video aired, Katie was rescued and will hopefully continue to get the tender care and kindness she deserves.

Follow Katie's journey on Kanaka's website here. You can also follow Rocky Kanaka's channels on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.