EAST POINT, Ga. — "No house. No leash. No food. Nothing but our love."

With these words, the staff at W-Underdogs were alerted to the dire situation that could’ve ended tragically for "Bella."

Before arriving on the scene with the necessary provisions, Bella hadn’t eaten or slept in a warm bed for over a week. However, while her white coat was matted with dirt and fleas, her tail wagged happily as the staff hand-fed her kibble to introduce themselves.

W-Underdogs is a local grassroots non-profit whose primary focus is to pair underprivileged and undeserved youths with animals in need.

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While they wouldn’t label themselves as a "dog rescue" per se, they often find themselves being put in that delicate situation if the circumstances are desperate enough.

Such was the case with Bella, who spent the past week and change fending for herself behind a house in Jefferson Park. 

Once onsite, the staff immediately went about establishing the base needs: food and shelter. A new doghouse built by the W-Underdog staff was set up in the yard, plus two large bags of dog food.

The staff at W-Underdogs with Bella and her family
The staff at W-Underdogs with Bella and her family

W-Underdog founder, Grace Hamlin, quickly began to establish a rapport with the children of the house to ensure a feeding schedule and other routines. She coached her staff to engage with the pet while they set-up the house.

The goal of W-Underdogs as a youth program is to create and encourage instilling compassion and ethics through rescuing local animals in need. Through these positive encounters, they become empowered to make positive changes at school, home and in their community through advocacy and direct action.

The Atlanta-based youth program centers on youth at risk for gang involvement in South Atlanta neighborhoods, helping them gain leadership, life skills and compassion as they use teamwork to train and care for animals in need.

Bella is scheduled for a follow-up site visit in a couple of weeks.

For more information about the program, visit their website.

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