This is the heartwarming moment an exhausted rescue dog which is covered in scars gets its first real hug.
Doe-eyed pooch Duncan nuzzles the neck of animal centre worker Sarah Rosenberg in an emotional photo.
The neglected pet – which is looking for a home – was taken in by a shelter after being found on a homeowner’s porch in bad shape following Hurricane Irma.
When he was rescued he was covered in scars and open wounds thought to have been caused by attacks by other dogs.
Staff at LifeLine Animal Project discovered he has a huge overbite which means he would have been defenceless and unable to bite back.
But despite going through “living hell”, Duncan – an American pit bull terrier cross who is thought to be three or four – was clearly craving affection.
A touching picture captures the moment the gentle pup snuggled rescuer Sarah shortly after he arrived at the shelter in Atlanta, Georgia.
Community engagement manager Sarah, 51, said: “He was quietly curled up and when I walked over he looked up and started wagging his tail.
“We opened the kennel he sort of oozed out. I went to give him a hug and he melted into my arms.
“He was so loving. He didn’t want to go anywhere or be fed, he just wanted to feel safe. I held him for a very long time.”
She added: “I feel like he has been on a journey and whatever he had seen he was tired from it.
“To be somewhere he could just lie down and sleep and not be afraid that something would happen must have been a relief.
“He just wanted to feel safe and have somebody to show him love – and give him a cuddle.”
After the tender interaction, Sarah and her colleague took Duncan outside in the sunshine and snuggled him some more.
He has remained in their care since being taken in by the shelter last week, where he is being fed, loved and nursed back to health.
Now staff are trying to find him a home.
Sarah added: “He was in pretty rough shape when we found him but now his wounds are healing and he is building up his strength.
“He is a beautiful dog who is wonderful with humans. He has been through so much suffering but still has so much saved-up love to share.
“The humans who give him a forever home are in for the love of a lifetime.”
To adopt Duncan or donate to LifeLine Animal Project, visit: lifelineanimal.org/how-to-help/ways-to-give/make-a-donation