Hungry stray dog sees stranger’s car door open and immediately leaps right in

Bill Shaver took a fishing trip last March that would change his life for the better when he met a random stray dog.

He was traveling back home to Missouri after spending time fishing in Arkansas. He decided to stop off at a rest area to relieve himself and quickly clear the garbage from his car. Being that it would only take a few minutes, he left his car door open and didn’t bother to turn off the ignition.

When he went to get back in his car, he was shocked to find a stray dog quietly sitting in the passenger seat.

Source: The Dodo/Angela Shaver

After the initial surprise wore off, Bill looked more closely at the dog. He could see the poor stray’s rib cage jutting out from her skin. She was clearly malnourished.

Realizing she was probably starving, Bill offered the stray dog the only food he had on him at the time; a Rice Krispie treat.

Seeing how readily she jumped into his car and how she wolfed the snack down, it was obvious to Bill that the pup had been searching for a human that would help her. In that same moment, he knew that she had finally sound someone. He was bringing her home with him.

Source: The Dodo/Angela Shaver

Bill and his wife are no strangers when it comes to helping out homeless animals and it was pretty obvious that the pup was a stray. She had no collar or tags or any other sign of an owner.

If her health was any indication, it looked like she had been on her own for quite some time.

When Bill made up his mind to help the pup out, he sent a snapshot of his new road buddy to his wife, Angela. As soon as she received the message, she was ready to welcome the stray dog with open arms.

I asked him what our new dog’s name was. We decided to call her River because of where she found him,” Angela recalls in an interview with The Dodo.

Source: The Dodo/Angela Shaver

River was greeted by the rest of her new family, Angela and her human brother, as soon as Bill pulled in the driveway with her. Though they were excited to meet River after seeing her pictures, River wasn’t quite ready.

The stray dog didn’t want to get out of the car where she had already bonded to her new dad.

After a little while of letting her stay, Bill decided it was time for her to meet her other fur siblings. He lifted her up out of the car and carried her to her new home. Knowing how overwhelming it can be to go from being alone to having a huge, loving family all in a day, the Shavers’ decided to introduce River to their other four rescues (3 dogs and 1 cat) individually.

Source: The Dodo/Angela Shaver

Now that the meet and greet was over, it was time to treat River to a nice bath.

Once they all decided she was OK, he [Bill] brought her in for a bath. She was covered in mud, blood and ticks. After she was dried off and some ticks picked off, she got a good meal. Bill made her a bed on the floor in our room next to the space heater. She slept there all night,” Angela continued.

Source: The Dodo/Angela Shaver

When she woke up, River decided to go exploring around her new home.

River began to settle in and play with the other animals, but she stayed close to Bill and Angela. She was slowly allowing herself to accept her wonderful new life. Though she had one accident the first night, for the most part, it seems the dog was already housebroken.

We had one accident in the house the first night, but it was near the door. She had to go, but didn’t know how to tell us,” Angela said.

Source: The Dodo/Angela Shaver

A trip to the vet revealed that River had both tape and heartworms, as well as neck and face wounds indicating she had at some point been in a fight. The sweet dog sat patiently while the vet administered medicine and treatment for her wounds, though.

From her demeanor it was clear that the pup was just grateful she had a family to love her and look after her now.


River has grown in confidence with each and every day that she wakes up to her new forever family.

She runs in the yard and chases nothing with Winston, sits for cookies with Ginger and hogs the bed with Butters. The cat was very unpleased for the first few days, but is finally coming around,” says Angela.

When River jumped into her dad’s car that day, it was an act of destiny, pure and simple. She had no way of knowing how much it would change her life, but we are so happy she took the leap and found out.

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