Why 26,000 dog-lovers have shared this Humans of New York post

Our new favorite human of New York isn’t actually a human at all. She’s a dog. But her story may just be one of the most inspiring things we’ve ever heard.

Yesterday, the amazing photography project Humans of New York posted a portrait to its Facebook page of the cute little terrier with her owner (who sounds like a perfectly awesome human, by the way). In the picture, the dog looks as happy as can be, out and about in the park on a sunny day. But the photo’s caption tells how much the dog has had to overcome to be able to enjoy an experience that most of us take for granted.

The little dog in the picture was born in a kill shelter and until four months of age, had never seen anything but the inside of a cage. According to veterinarians and animal behaviorists, three weeks to three months of age is the most crucial period for puppies to become socialized. Puppies who aren’t exposed to new people, places, sights and sounds during this sensitive period often become fearful and experience major anxiety. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened to the doggy in the photo.

But even though life started out pretty rough for this adorable little girl, she’s beginning to overcome her fears with the help of her amazing pet parent. (And huge doses of love and patience.)

“We’re on the slow plan to get over her terrible beginnings. She has a lot of PTSD. She was born in a kill shelter so she spent the first four months of her life in a cage. She’s terrified of the outside world. When I first brought her home, she wouldn’t even leave her carrier for the first three days. I had to buy a white noise box and insulate the whole apartment because she was so scared of noise. It took us a whole year before I could get her to leave the apartment. But now there are some mornings when she even asks to go outside. She tends to change her mind once we get to the elevator, but I always give her time to regroup, and she’s happy when we finally get outside. It’s so great to see her enjoy the outdoors. The happiness may only stick for a few moments at a time, but it’s so great to see.”

Now the story of this brave little dog is totally going viral. Just since yesterday, it has accumulated almost half a million likes and been shared over 26,000 times. And that’s not all. The comments are racking up like crazy. So far, there are over 12,000, and many of them are just as beautiful and inspirational as the post itself. Commenters are sharing photos of their own rescue dogs and telling all about how these awesome animals are overcoming the rough starts they had in life.

One commenter, William Kingdom, even suggested an idea for a new series: Dogs of New York. Not a bad idea, William! Not bad at all.

BRB, crying.

[Images via Facebook.]