BEND, Ore. -

Ten years ago, a staph infection ravaged a six-week-old Australian shepherd mix's body -- and a misdiagnosis resulted in the amputation of her leg.

Fast-forward to the present, and it's hard not to be touched -- and impressed -- by what Maty has become.

The dog now belongs to the community outreach coordinator at the Humane Society of Central Oregon, Lynne Ouchida, who became attached years ago.

Maty was found abandoned in a Bend motel when she was just 3 weeks old, and made her way to the shelter. Five weeks later, the staph infection ate away the tendons and ligaments in her leg -- and it was amputated.

From there, Maty lived in a nursing home, Central Oregon Health Care Center, until she was 6 months old. There, the dog was known as the "hospice puppy."

"She would not leave a person's room the last few days of their life," Ouchida said Wednesday. "Staff had to bring her food and take her outside."

The hospice ended up deciding that Maty wasn't a good match for it -- and asked Ouchida if the shelter wanted to take the dog.

"I had kept an eye on her, and took her home on weekends to train her -- and used her since 8 weeks of age in our humane education program," Ouchida said.

That way, they could continue to have Maty give back to the community that saved her life.

And boy, has she ever.

Typically, feral kittens hiss and spit when they come into contact with creatures at first. But with Maty, they instinctively know not to be afraid.

"Maty is able to just make the kittens feel comfortable, they lie down in her little nub area," Ouchida said. "It's warm, it's comfortable and it's safe -- they purr. Then we introduce our scent, our petting, to them and it really, really quickens the process. Usually within a week, we can tame a feral kitten."

Ouchida said while normally taming a feral kitten can happen within seven to 10 days, the benefit with having Maty is that the process becomes much less stressful for the kitten.

But Maty's work at the shelter stretches past fostering the kittens. Ouchida said she also goes into schools to teach youth -- from preschoolers to at-risk teens to those in their 20s -- about kindness to animals and responsible pet care.

Ouchida added that most people know Maty because of her athletic abilities -- she's jumped her way to appear at two World Frisbee competitions -- but this is a really nice side to get exposed about her.

"I think it's just a real sweet, gentle soul that she has -- and we just feel she, literally, takes it on as another job she does for the Humane Society," Ouchida said.