dog rescue

5 Lhasa Apsos Are So Neglected, They Don’t Even Look Like Dogs. Now, They’re Unrecognizable

ileana by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is a writer on the Original Content team. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Neglected dogs are always heartbreaking, but some cases are stunning even to animal rescuers.

Rick Chaboudy, the executive director of Suncoast Animal League (SAL) in Palm Harbor, Florida, has been working in the animal-rescue field for over 30 years.

In February 2017, he got a call from Robin Roberts, founder of Critter Mama Rescue, Inc. about five Lhasa apsos that were in such bad shape, her foundation couldn’t care for them.

Rick immediately agreed to help the dogs, but when he saw them, even he was shocked.

Robin had gotten a call earlier in the day from the dogs’ owner, who had said he couldn’t care for the dogs any longer. Robin told The Dodo that she assumed this case would be like her others: owners who had taken care of their dogs, but couldn’t anymore because of life circumstances.

When the owner showed her the five Lhasa apsos, though, her jaw dropped. She knew they would need more help than she could offer them.

[H/T: The Dodo]

lhasa apsos before

Robin was horrified when she saw them — they didn’t even look like dogs.

They smelled terribly, and their fur was so matted that she couldn’t even see their faces or feet.

The poor dogs were completely immobile, and they also couldn’t see.

Robin and another volunteer quickly realized they couldn’t help these dogs enough, so they called Rick at SAL.

neglected lhasa

SAL would be able to handle the dogs, but even Rick wasn’t prepared for what he was about to see.

The dogs were the worst case of neglect he had seen in 30 years, he told The Dodo.

grooming lhasa

As soon as Rick picked up the dogs, he brought them to Clint Wilson, owner of Island Dog Outfitters.

Clint had previously worked with dogs in need, but this was the hardest grooming case he’d ever seen.

Clint immediately got to work shaving and cleaning up the dogs, while Rick kept them company. They worked all through the night.

Each dog had multiple pounds of matted fur on them, and their nails were three to four inches long.

lhasa haircut

Clint shaved off all the matted fur, cut their nails, and washed the poor dogs.

After hours and hours on the grooming table, the five dogs were finally cleaned up enough to see a vet.

five lhasa apsos

Unfortunately, the vet found that all five of the Lhasa apsos had never been to a vet before.

They all had parasites and infections, were severely malnourished, and had dental diseases.

lhasa apsos outside

Luckily, they were finally in the hands of people who could help them.

The five dogs, four of whom were female, were all over 10 years old. Two of them had been bred multiple times.

lhasa names

The five dogs, whom Rick began referring to as “The Fab Five,” all had their own medical problems: Helen had a uterus infection, Lilly had cancer, and Sequoia had a hole in her cornea. Rick worked to get them all the care they needed, and he vowed to help these senior dogs happily live out the rest of their days.

lhasas sun

Once all five dogs had the surgeries they needed, they began recovering.

When they were healthy, they started attending SAL events and socializing with other animals and people.

Slowly, the dogs began learning to trust people and enjoy themselves.

lhasa apsos pup

Six weeks after they were rescued, Rick knew the dogs were ready to find loving homes.

He held a fundraiser to help pay for the vet bills, and he introduced each of the dogs to their new owners.

sleeping lhasa

All five of the dogs have perfect, loving owners who are excited to welcome them into their families.

They know the difficult lives the dogs have led and are ready to give them the love and care they deserve.

lhasa sequoia

Although they all still have health problems and are mostly blind, these five dogs will never have to relive the horrors they lived through.

People all over the world who heard about these dogs’ stories have sent their love and support.

lying lhasa

One person wrote:

I am from Scotland and I have followed their story and it’s brilliant to see how they have progressed over the last few weeks, and it’s all down to the dedication and love that they have received from your team.

I hope they all find wonderful forever homes — what lucky people to have one of these beautiful dogs to take home and cherish.

peanut butter lhasa

It’s safe to say that these dogs, despite the terrible things they’ve lived through, will love the attention and care they are getting now.

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