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Stray dog found scrounging for scraps outside McDonald’s. Then, couple ‘fell in love’

A stray dog scrounged for food outside a McDonald’s — then her luck took a turn.

Natalie the dog was found “filthy and emaciated” and eventually found her way to foster parents Bill and Donna Belanger. The two were volunteers for the Golden Retriever Rescue of Southwest Florida and said they felt a connection with the dog early on.

“She settled right into our house like she belonged here,” Donna Belanger told McClatchy News in a March 1 phone interview. “She wasn’t nervous. She didn’t pant. She was just very happy to be here.”

Now, Natalie is settling into life with the Belangers, her new owners.

“She has her loving family and will never have to search a McDonald’s parking lot for food,” the rescue wrote in a Facebook post.

At one point during her journey, Natalie’s health conditions required a trip to a veterinary emergency room, where she tested positive for heartworms.

“Bill and Donna never hesitated with the news that she would have many months of treatment and vet trips to get through before we can spay her,” the rescue wrote. “They fell in love with her after a few days.”

Though Natalie’s story was posted online in late February, the couple signed adoption papers in December. Bill Belanger told McClatchy News the dog is a “great fit” for their family and will start treatment soon.

Natalie, described as a calm and friendly dog, is believed to be about 2 years old. She was named after a 12-year-old girl who donated $1,000 to the rescue.

Dennis Guyitt, president of the animal organization, said Natalie’s story is a reminder that many rescue dogs have issues to overcome.

“She came to Bill and Donna with the need to work through those issues and become the dog she is today, which is a loving, sweet girl that they are just thrilled to have with them,” Guyitt told McClatchy News in a phone interview.

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