This animal shelter on the island of Crete is home to over 300 dogs and cats, and one of their newer residents is a dog who came into the facility in February.
When police received a report from some Good Samaritans about a dog who they believed was being mistreated, they immediately took action. When they arrived at the home, they found a pup who was acting confrontational. But they eventually learned the reason for his behavior – he had been chained all his life and had a violent owner who constantly hit him.
The cops took him away from the abusive home, but Phoenix wouldn’t calm down. They didn’t know how to handle such a delicate case, so they sought the help of Theoklitos Proestakis, also knowns as Takis, the founder of Takis Shelter on the island of Crete.
Takis, a former disc jockey, has been helping rescue stray dogs and cats since 2014. Based in Ierapetra, the facility has 33,000 square meters of private, enclosed olive groves to roam in. The shelter receives no help from the authorities and relies solely on the donations of kind people.
Takis agreed to take him in, but when they arrived at the shelter, Phoenix refused to come out of his crate. Takis reached in with a gloved hand and tried petting the dog, but he just bared his teeth and snarled at him. People who don’t know better might think this was a sign of aggression, but it was actually a manifestation of fear.
Having learned that hands were only there to inflict pain, Phoenix became defensive towards anyone who tried to touch him. Refusing to give up on the scared dog, Takis just said, “We will try again later, and we will be very good friends, soon, ya?”
True to his word, Takis visited Phoenix’s crate later that day to befriend him. With a gloved hand, he reached in and tried petting the dog once more. Incredibly, after a few seconds, the frightened pup finally surrendered.
He leaned his head into Takis’ hand, and from the look on his face, it was clear that having his guard up all the time exhausted him. So at the moment, he soaked in all the love he could get – something he wasn’t used to receiving.
“It took Phoenix some time to get used to the fact that a hand doesn’t mean pain,” explains Takis.
Phoenix eventually learned to be a “normal“ dog as he became more trusting around other humans. He’s currently staying in Takis Shelter, where he gets along with everyone, even with the other animals in the facility. All Phoenix ever wanted was to be loved, and when he finally got it, he learned to give it back.
See the incredible change in Phoenix’s behavior in the heartwarming video below.