“In the world there’s only a handful of these true purebred dogs, and she’s one of them. They say her lineage goes back 3,000 years."

FREEPORT — A rare breed of dog thought to be one of only about 100 in the United States was brought to the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society and is now in the care of Alaqua Animal Refuge.

Alaqua founder Laurie Hood said she got a call from Vicki Morris, a worker at PAWS, on Wednesday about the very special 13-year-old Thai ridgeback named Misty Wu.

“She was an owner surrender at PAWS,” Hood said. “The shelter said she had been purchased as a puppy 13 years ago from a breeder and she was surrendered because they were no longer able to care for her.”

Hood said there were no signs of neglect or abuse, but the dog did appear “very sad.” PAWS workers were touched by the dog’s gentle demeanor and were worried she would be cold in the shelter because of her short hair.

When workers saw her papers and learned how rare of a breed she was, they called Hood to have her pulled from the shelter.

“I thought she was so unique,” Hood said. “In the world there’s only a handful of these true purebred dogs, and she’s one of them. They say her lineage goes back 3,000 years.

“All dogs are special to us at the refuge, but it’s exciting for us to be able to help such an unusual dog,” she added.

According to Hood, there are thought to be only about 100 Thai ridgebacks in the United States and only about 1,000 in Thailand. They were originally bred in Thailand as hunting dogs and were known to kill cobras. They’ve only been in the United States since 1994.

But Misty Wu is no cobra hunter. Hood said the pup has a sweet demeanor and loves to snuggle. She was given a sweater and a heat lamp at Alaqua, where she was undergoing physical evaluations Thursday. Veterinarians were checking a few tumors on her stomach, but Hood was hoping they wouldn’t be cancerous.

Other than that, Misty Wu is in good health and Hood hopes to find her a good “retirement home” to live out the rest of her golden years.

“Right now she seems very sad but very sweet,” she said. “As soon as she warmed up to me, she just snuggled right up and wanted to be loved on. I think she probably lived with one family her whole life, and that’s tough for a senior dog of any breed to leave their family and go to a shelter. I was happy that we were able to help PAWS and help her.”