Normally, veterinarians are able to identify the kind of animal they’re trying to save no matter how abused or neglected. Yet one poor animal had been neglected for so long that by the time rescuers discovered him, they couldn’t even tell what kind of animal they were working so hard to save.
For two hours, Australian veterinarian Dr. Simone Maher and her team worked as carefully as possible to shave pounds of filthy, matted fur from the suffering animal, who had been left blinded, deaf, and disabled from the fur. “His hair was so knotted we had to anaesthetise Charlie to get rid of his coat as it would have been so incredibly painful for him otherwise,” Maher said.
“His coat was just soiled thick matting, as he couldn’t even lift his tail properly to go to the bathroom due to the weight of the coat,” Maher said. “What we saw was not a case of a matter of months, that hair had been left ungroomed for years.” Once all the matted fur was removed, Maher finally realized the animal was actually a poodle.
The seven-year-old dog’s breed wasn’t the only thing hidden by the overgrown fur. Once Maher was able to get a better look at the dog, named Charlie, she realized that his back leg had been fractured a long time ago and had never healed. “The chronic nature of the old injury left me concerned about post-op, because there was a lot of muscle wastage and weakness to his leg,” she said.
“To get a good result, a considerable amount of physiotherapy was required and I wasn’t prepared to do the surgery until we could offer post-operative care,” Maher said. Maher started considering amputation, but then Maxine Saliba, a vet nurse, came forward and offered to foster Charlie so he wouldn’t have to loose his leg. “I fostered him for about 14 weeks,” Saliba said. “I didn’t want to get rid of him, but I thought being a foster mother I should. And then when he came back for another week of fostering I thought ‘I can’t get rid of him, I have to keep him’.”
“Charlie is doing fantastically with Maxine, he is like a new dog,” Maher said.
Watch the entire video below to see Charlie’s incredible transformation.
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[Featured image: Sam Ruttyn/Animal Welfare League NSW]