Published September 18, 2013
The dog had been living on the streets of Los Angeles for so long, she was featured on a strip of pavement in Google Street View.
The golden retriever was a pitiful sight, with matted hair, a pronounced limp and forced to live on rubbish and scraps left by neighbors.
Local Patrick Pettinger, had named her Sonya and had begun to feed her. But it was only when he pulled up Google Street View to show his girlfriend, Jennifer Velesquez, where he worked, that Sonya's presence on the Google Maps street footpath spurred him into action.
Pettinger had spoken about Sonya to friends and family. He had told Velesquez he'd seen the stray sheltering under a vehicle from high temperatures over the summer. On occasion, he would bring her food and water and had thought about adopting her, but had to consider his own dog, which had health problems.
"I would go home and just feel awful there was nothing we could do," he told the Huffington Post.
But he took Sonya's image on Google Street View as a sign.
Velesquez contacted Hope For Paws, a local animal rescue group, which agreed to get Sonya from the street if Pettinger could find a family to adopt the stray.
Two days later, the rescue group's co-founder, Eldad Hagar, managed to trap her in a fenced off part of a parking lot. At first, Sonya panics, then hides under a vehicle. Then she succumbs to some affection, allows a lead to be put around her neck and then gets into a car.
Hope for Paws took her to a dog groomer and a vet, where it was discovered she had tumours, ingrown claws, broken teeth, suffered from arthritis and had bone spurs on her spine.
Sonya had minor surgery and was placed on arthritis medication. Pettinger's mother, Joan, agrees to adopt Sonya and now has regular acupuncture to help with her afflictions, and is a happy, well-groomed dog.
Pettinger said Sonya was in "her forever home."
"She's so attached. She sleeps in my mum's bedroom doorway now so she can't leave without her knowing," he said.
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