The unnamed 19-year-old, from Łuków, Poland, stumbled across the pup as she walked her own dog through a nearby forest last month. Someone had tied the young German Shepherd cross to a tree before abandoning it to certain death in the sub-zero winter temperatures.
The good samaritan called animal welfare offices, who arrived shortly after. But they struggled to get close to the dog. The terrified pup barked and snarled every time rescuers approached. It clearly had trust issues due to bad experiences with humans.
Earning a dog's trust
But the welfare officers refused to give up. Instead, they used the two best tricks in the book when it comes to earning a dog's trust: patience and treats.
Back at the shelter, vets gave the dog a full check-up. The poor pup was undernourished, dangerously dehydrated, and covered in insect bites. Vets think she'd been out in the cold all alone for at least a few nights.
Locals living near the forest had heard a dog barking on and off for a few days. But they presumed it was an owner taking their pet for walkies.
Police are searching for the owner
Police are still trying to trace the dog's owner. If located, he or she would face animal cruelty charges.
In the meantime, staff at the rescue centre will take care of the pup until she's strong enough to be rehomed with someone who deserves her.