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New Leash on Life

The Top 10 Most Incredible Shelter Dog Makeovers

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They may have looked hopeless and heartbroken when they wound up in rescue, but these incredible shelter dog makeovers prove any dog just needs a little love.

Millions of dogs enter shelters each year, and the vast majority of them are dirty and matted. Unfortunately, less than half of these dogs are getting the grooming they need. For the past seven years, it has been Wahl and GreaterGood.org‘s mission to draw attention to this problem with their annual Dirty Dogs Contest.

This year, more than 2,000 bottles of Wahl’s pet shampoos were donated to shelters in need, helping to wash and ready more than 20,000 dogs for adoption. In turn, the shelters posted hundreds of amazing transformations into the Dirty Dogs Before & After Photo Gallery. Ten of the most dramatic makeovers from the gallery were selected to participate in the contest, and public votes determined the top three winners.

Just take a look at the top 10 amazing shelter dog transformations!

1st Place: Crinolin was rescued along with 80 other dogs from a hoarding situation. While all the dogs were in horrible shape due to their deplorable living conditions, Crinolin was the worst having lived in the home the longest. At first rescuers didn’t know Crinolin’s gender as painful matted fur caked her body. After groomers spent hours removing hardened chunks of fur and washing off layers of filth, she was feeling like a million bucks and was quickly adopted. Crinolin’s dramatic transformation not only got her a new “leash” on life, but the title of America’s top shelter dog makeover in the 2018 Dirty Dogs Contest.
The Barking Lot in El Cajon, CA

“When it comes to adoption, first impressions are often a dog’s last chance. The unfortunate reality is that too many shelters dogs are being perceived as ‘damaged goods’ just because of their appearance,” says Steven Yde, division vice president for Wahl. “Crinolin’s story stands as proof that a good grooming can change a dog’s life in more ways than one. Not only do the dogs look better, but once freed from the dirty and often painfully matted fur, their personalities can really shine through.”

2nd Place: Pepper was left in an abandoned home. She was rescued when neighbors spotted her hanging out the window next to an air conditioner crying for help. Left with no food or water, Pepper was in desperate need of medical attention and grooming. She went from horrific conditions to feeling like a million bucks and is now eager to find a family to love.
Pawswap of Greater Lafayette in Lafayette, IN
3rd Place: Gabriel was rescued along with 58 other animals from a hoarder and was found
barricaded inside a makeshift cage all alone. So severely neglected, his rescuers believe his
grooming may have been the first human touch he had felt in years, perhaps ever. After a
good cleanup, he looked like an angel and was named Gabriel. His name proved prophetic,
and he now comforts other neglected animals as they enter his foster home.
Mitchell County Animal Rescue in Spruce Pine, NC
Apollo was used as a breeding dog in a puppy mill for seven years. He lived in a wire cage, where he suffered from the summer heat and winter cold and had deteriorated into a filthy mess. Thankfully, Apollo was rescued along with 53 other dogs. After a warm bath, a precious Yorkie emerged and Apollo quickly captured the hearts of a forever family.
National Mill Dog Rescue in Peyton, CO
Buffalo Bill was one of 17 Shih Tzu rescued from a hoarder. He was so matted he could hardly walk or see, but he still maintained a sweet personality. After his grooming, however, he truly blossomed getting attention by dancing around. It’s no surprise he was adopted within hours of being available.
New Albany Floyd County Animal Shelter in New Albany, IN
Banjo was found living in a car with his homeless owner. He was rescued after being trapped in the car with the windows up on a 95 degree day. Old injuries and ticks lurked beneath all his matted fur, but once he was cleaned up he yipped with delight. Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park in Forked River, NJ
Opie had spent most of his six years in a tiny kennel, until he was abandoned by his owner. Once rescued, he swiftly got the grooming and medical attention he desperately needed. He’s now flourishing with a foster family while he waits for his forever home.
Eastern Plains Animal Welfare Alliance (EPAWA) in Burlington, CO
Dorothy was found wandering on a deserted dirt road. She was so matted her ears almost
touched the ground, and her hind legs were stuck together making it difficult to walk. Her
rescuers believe she was used to breed and had been abused. Thankfully though, there was
hope for Dorothy somewhere over the rainbow. She’s now living in a loving home with her
forever family.
J.J. Woofin’ Paws Rescue Agency in Woodland Hills, CA
Milo was found living off the streets and he looked like he’d had a rough go of it. With some
medical attention, pampering and a lot of grooming, this little guy got a new lease on life and
now lives with a loving family.
The Simon Foundation INC in Bloomfield, CT
Gizmo was found completely weighted down with matted fur, but after his grooming he now has a spring in his step.
Mendocino County Animal Care Services in Ukiah, CA

The Barking Lot in El Cajon, Calif., the rescue organization that saved Crinolin, will receive a $5,000 grant to further support their efforts. In addition, PawSwap of Greater Lafayette in Lafayette, Ind., the rescue who submitted second place winner Pepper, will receive a $2,000 grant, and third place dog Gabriel earned $1,000 for his rescue Mitchell County Animal Rescue in Spruce Pine, NC. The cash grant prizes were provided by GreaterGood.org.

“Grooming literally makes all the difference in determining whether a dog gets adopted,” explains Stacy Parmer, Director and Founder of The Barking Lot. “If a dog is neatly trimmed, she looks well-cared for and that seems to resonate with adopters. Our dogs are certainly more likely to seal the deal on adoption if they are well-groomed.”

View the contest winners’ and finalists’ before and after photos on the Wahl Pets Facebook Page. To see even more adoptable dogs visit the Dirty Dogs Before & After Photo Gallery.

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