Life-Changing Shih Tzu: Palo Alto Pet Found Malnourished Helps Owner Cope With Stress, Anxiety

For a Peninsula woman, adopting a pup found malnourished and matted on the streets was life-changing for both pet and parent.

Three-year-old Lois Lane is a shih tzu mix in the loving care of Palo Alto's Kristin Rasmussen. But, two years ago, the life they now share didn't seem possible.

“She just obviously had a really traumatic past,” Rasmussen said. “They found her on the street. She was very underweight and her hair was very mangled. The cops that picked her up actually put her in the backseat of the car, and when they went to get her out, she bit one of the cops.”

After getting a bath, haircut and clearing quarantine, Lois was ready for the pet version of Internet dating.

“I saw her on the Humane Society website,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen was struggling with stress and anxiety and was looking for a dog at the suggestion of her doctor.

“I made an appointment to go see her and we met, and I just fell in love with her,” she said. “She's really changed my life in a lot of ways. Great companion. She's a great stress reliever.

“When I'm feeling a little stressed I just invite her up on my lap and give her a little rub and feel all the stress melt away.

“Being able to take care of something, especially that had no home before, helps you almost more than it helps the dog.”

And all Lois asks for is to go shopping every now and then...

"I love taking her places with me,” Rasmussen said. “She likes going to the mall and she loves her morning walks.”

On August 15, hundreds of animal shelters across the country are coming together for "Clear the Shelters" Day, a nationwide push to place deserving animals in new homes. For more information on Clear the Shelters, including info on participating shelters and available pets, click here. Follow the #ClearTheShelters hashtag on social media to keep up with the latest news on the big event.

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