PAWS Atlanta Helps Starved Surrendered Dog

Last weekend we told you about Spirit, an emaciated female, young adult, Boxer mix dog surrendered to PAWS Atlanta by her own owner. We were shocked to learn her story, but the good news is that even though she endured abuse and neglect, she is now with people that love her and want to help her.

When Spirit and her owner walked into PAWS Atlanta on Sept. 19, 2015, the skin and bones dog weighed 30.6 lbs. Her healthy weight should have been 55 lbs, but for unknown reasons, she was 20 lbs underweight.


We spoke with Jacki McDonald, PAWS Atlanta Director of Marketing & Development, who said the dog owner stated she had only had Spirit for a few months and no longer wanted to keep the pet due to allergies.

Questions such as how Spirit got to be so malnourished and why will for now go unanswered. There is a pending police investigation and little information is being released.

Worrying for the dog’s health, veterinarians ran tests to make sure Spirit did not have other underlining ailments.


“[There were] no intestinal parasites to cause such weight loss,” said McDonald. “[She is] heartworm negative and her blood work is ok so far. We need to monitor her organs to see if [there is] any long term damage from severe lack of nutrition.”

As police continue to investigate this case, Spirit is learning what love and proper nutrition feels like. She is currently in foster care with one of PAWS Atlanta’s very own vet technicians.


At first, Spirit showed signs of abuse. “She was very unsure of new people, resistant to being touched, would cry out into the air if approached,” said McDonald, “but she already has become more comfortable, snuggles with her foster family and other dogs on the couch.

Spirit’s previous owner has an upcoming court date and if convicted of animal abuse, the woman could be fine and a given a ban on animal ownership, but this will all be determined by a judge.

The road to recovery for Spirit will be a long one. She will be made available for adoption once she is completely healthy and ready to move into a family environment. For now, anyone interested in helping the young dog should consider making a donation at

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