When Mary and her three daughters moved to Ankara, Turkey, for her husband’s job, they decided they wanted to do something to give back to their new community. They found a local shelter where they could volunteer, but had no idea how much this decision would end up shaping their lives.
The shelter the family chose was home to over 4,000 dogs, according to a video about the family’s experience. Shelter staff were unable to keep up with the number of dogs in their care, and as a result, many of the dogs were underfed.
Most individual cages at the shelter held 20 dogs or more, and even when Mary brought multiple bags of dog food with her, she was only able to feed a few cages worth of dogs at most. The situation was heartbreaking for the women, but they never stopped trying to help.
While volunteering, the women encountered a litter of four puppies who were dying of distemper, a highly contagious viral disease. The final stages affect the brain and spinal cord, and can cause loss of coordination and seizures.
Weak and suffering, the puppies were being trampled and overlooked in the crowded shelter. There wasn’t anything that could be done for them — except to give them a quiet, safe place to pass in peace.
The family brought the four puppies home, and soon three of them passed away. The littlest one, however, kept holding on. They named her Faith — and soon enough she lived up to her name.
“I thought we were just bringing her out to die in peace, but she proved us wrong,” Mary said in a video about Faith.
Eighty percent of puppies who reach the final stages of distemper do not survive, according to a press release sent out by PAWsitive. Faith didn’t care about this statistic, though.
“Every day that went by I just could see that she was going to pull through,” Mary said.
Faith bounced back from her illness, and the family adopted her as one of their own.
Despite her triumph, Faith will always have some lingering issues from being at the shelter — she has a lot of fear surrounding food from never knowing when she would get to eat, if at all. She also has no teeth due to malnourishment.
Through her struggles, however, Faith is still managing to thrive. She is now in a place where she never has to worry about not getting attention, love or food again.
Check out the full video of Faith’s journey below: