When adopting a dog from a shelter many consider whether it is the right animal for them and whether they can cater for that dog's needs before making a final, informed decision.
So when Athena was adopted, she must have thought she had found a forever home, but when she ended back at the shelter just a short while later, workers' hearts sank.
Athena is an adorable boxer-mix who didn't have the easiest of starts in life as she was found on the streets of Miami.
Wandering alone, the pup had no food or shelter before she was taken in.
Being taken into a shelter in March of 2017, Athena had a brief reprieve from life on the streets, but this wasn't the be all and end all of the situation and didn't mean she was immediately out of peril.
The team from Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS) took her in but time was of the essence.
Staff began advertising Athena straight away, and her case was picked up by the Facebook group 'Urgent Dogs of Miami' who also began promoting her as a good adoption choice.
The exposure Athena got was pretty great and gained her a lot of interest.
But the reason as to why Athena needed to gain attention pretty quickly is that MDAS is a kill-shelter.
This means that when they become full or cannot house any more animals, they euthanize animals unlikely to be homed.
Although this may sound like a harsh policy, it prevents overcrowding and inhumane conditions in shelters.
It also means more animals can be taken off the streets and given another chance rather than left to fend for their own.
6 million animals a year end up in shelters in the USA alone and that rate is simply unsustainable since 4 million of those will remain unwanted.
So shelters are forced into a kill policy situation.
It seemed fortunate then that on March 22, 2017, UDOM announced that someone had taken Athena home.
However, this was short-lived as, in April, Athena was brought back to the shelter.
The very family that had saved her had brought her back to the shelter they had saved her from.
In heartbreaking footage posted to the Urgent Dogs of Miami page, Athena was pictured wagging and unaware what was happening as she was taken back in.
“She was dumped back to the shelter by the family she thought would love her forever,” the organization wrote on its Facebook page.
“They even brought her bed. Poor Athena had no idea that she was back at the shelter and who knows what may happen.”
Tragically, the shelter was particularly full at this time, and that meant that the chance of Euthanasia was quite high at this point.
This was extremely tragic for a dog that was thought to have been saved.
Yet again, volunteers at both the shelter and Urgent Dogs of Miami set about to try and find another home for Athena before things were too late.
A real sense of urgency crept into their work and people were soon interested again.
"What an absolutely adorable little girl,” read one post.
“How the previous owner could surrender her is beyond me. However, I was told they are willing to pay for her new adopter’s fee.”
Many expressed shock & anger at the previous owner's actions.
“People should be shamed,” wrote one social media user. “Find someone who will take your beloved pet. A high kill shelter is not the place for any animal. Too many animals are killed for no reason.”
Others were more sympathetic and defended the actions.
"You guys are so rude for shaming people for doing what’s right,” another posted. “Do you want people to dump or desert dogs all over like they used too? They are being responsible and bringing the dog in when they can’t care for them.”
Luckily for Athena, she did manage to find her forever home a second time around and now has a loving family to care for her.
But with so many shelters full and stray dogs being euthanized, it is worth remembering this festive season that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.