Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Not Grooming Can Rise to Animal Cruelty: A Neglected Dog Gets A New Leash on Life

On many dogs, mats are caused when dead hairs become caught in the healthy coat and fuse together forming obstinate masses. Mats are uncomfortable because they pull the skin, trap debris and prevent the air flow necessary for healthy skin from reaching it. Regular brushing and grooming keeps mats at bay. However, if a dog is never brushed or groomed, bad things happen. The dog we are discussing today is an extreme case, but she demonstrates why grooming is crucial to canine health and happiness.

Recently, New Leash on Life, a Chicago dog rescue, asked Billy to help out this Cocker Spaniel that had come into their care.

This dog had been abandoned at a veterinary office across town and someone from the office brought the dog to the city pound. The New Leash on Life volunteers spotted the dog and immediately took her under their wing. They knew that this dog deserved a second chance! The dog was so completely covered in huge, old mats that they couldn't tell whether the dog was a boy or a girl. Eventually, they named her Lucy. New Leash called Billy to help this suffering dog and, of course, he was happy to assist.

As shown below, Lucy's back legs were actually matted together, which made every movement painful because her skin was constantly being pulled. Her ears had mats were so old, hard and heavy that Lucy couldn't even shake her head.

Lucy also smelled like an outhouse because the mats were thick with urine and feces. She had not been washed or probably handled in years. And yes, you read that correctly -- years. Clearly some unbelievably horrible "person" (and we use the term loosely) had not only neglected this dog, but had likely kept her in a cage and forced her to live in her own excrement and urine for an incredibly long time. Hopefully, whoever did this will pay for these shocking misdeeds when he or she reaches the Pearly Gates.

After an hour of gentle and careful clipping, Billy removed a
shocking amount of densely packed mats just from her ears.

The mats removed from Lucy's ears weighed over one pound.

Once her ears were free, Lucy calmed down and began to enjoy the attention and her relief and happiness (along with her smell) infused the air of Billy's salon.

Stacy is removing mats from Lucy's legs.

Billy and his crew lovingly and gently groomed Lucy for several hours! As the mats were cut away, the groomers found so much dandruff that it looked as if someone had sprinkled an entire can of Parmesan cheese over the dog. Because the mats were so thick, dense and numerous, air had never reached Lucy's skin and it was unhealthy, dry and flaky. Skin must breathe, which is one of the many reasons why regular grooming is crucial to a dog's health.

Lucy after all the mats were removed.

Lucy after her day at the spa -- clean and comfortable!

Once the mats were removed, Lucy's demeanor totally changed. Billy reported, "It was really nice to see how much better Lucy felt as we worked on her. At first, she was nippy, but she wasn't being mean. She was clearly in pain from the mats and incredibly uncomfortable from being forced to live in her own urine and feces for so long. I washed her 6 times myself, just to remove the smell and grime. After her haircut and baths, Lucy felt so good that she was wagging her tail and running around the salon. It's so sad to see a dog treated like this. I feel so bad for her and I'm glad that I was able to ease her suffering."

Before visiting Billy, Lucy weighed 36.8 pounds. Now that Billy and the others at his salon cared for her, she weighs only 29.4 pounds. Incredibly, Lucy has been carrying around 7.4 pounds of mats for years --that's about 25% of her body weight. We can only imagine the pain and discomfort she was forced to endure! But now, she is in a much better place and will begin enjoying a new life full of love and grooming.

According to Billy, "Lucy is a sweetheart and really a nice dog. I'm sure she'll be a wonderful addition to someone's home." For information on adopting Lucy, contact New Leash on Life and tell them Billy sent you!

Although Lucy did not come from a puppy mill, many puppy mill dogs are suffering the same fate, and most are not lucky enough to be rescued and then pampered by a Billy. Please think about helping dogs like Lucy that suffer from neglect and abuse. At the very least contact your legislator to demand that puppy mills be outlawed. Click here and here for more information.


  1. I will never never understand how anybody could treat a dog like this.

  2. OMG that poor dog. I am so happy someone stepped up and helped her. That is horrible that people treat animals that way.

  3. I see it all the time. thay get the dog groomed 1 maybe 2 times a year. its sad