Animal Advocates

A Decade of Dirty Dogs: Annual Contest Presents Top 10 Shelter Dog Makeovers

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, so it’s the perfect time to recognize all the individuals who’ve dedicated their lives to helping homeless animals. And while rescue organizations work tirelessly, the sad truth is that fewer than half of these dogs are getting the grooming they need due to a lack of resources.

The effects of neglect, or a life on the street, can often overshadow the beauty that lives inside these dogs, and too often they are overlooked by adoptive families. That’s why pet industry leaders Wahl and Greater Good Charities have partnered once again for their 10th annual Dirty Dogs Contest. They donated grooming supplies, and in turn, rescues and shelters shared remarkable Before & After makeover photos — including the Top 10 Shelter Dog Makeovers of 2021.

From now until Nov. 9, 2021, public votes will decide which three dogs rise to the top; and the organizations affiliated with these dogs will receive a total of $15,000 in monetary grants to further support their efforts — $10,000 will go to the first place winner! Visit DirtyDogsContest.com to see amazing makeovers, and vote for your favorite. 

Elmer and two of his pals were brought to a shelter by a landlord whose tenants moved
out and left the three senior dogs alone in their crates. These three musketeers were in
terrible shape; and the vet helping Elmer stated she had never seen matting as severe as
his. Fortunately, with a lot of TLC, Elmer transformed into a handsome gentleman and
now lives in the home of his dreams.
Easton must have seen a lot of hardship in his 12 long years. He was rescued from a high
kill shelter that was going to euthanize him because he was unable to walk due to
neglected matting. From there, his story took a dramatic turn when a good grooming
revealed that ‘he’ was actually a ‘she’. Now with a new haircut, and a new identity,
Easton is living her best life.
Elise (aka the Muppet) was one of three dogs rescued from a woman who had dementia
and could no longer properly care for them. Elise had severe matting which made her
four paws look like eight. Her nails were over an inch long with additional nails
undergrown back into her pads. Elise, now lovingly referred to as the Muppet, received
a manicure and some proper pampering to become the pretty girl she is today.
Cheyenne was brought to the shelter as a scared and clearly neglected stray. Her coat
was so matted she had difficulty going to the bathroom, which caused her extreme
discomfort. After a two-hour grooming session, however, a sweet and happy Mini
Schnauzer was revealed. Cheyenne will soon be available for adoption and is thrilled to
finally find a forever home.
Olivia’s journey to recovery began on Father’s Day when she was found drinking from a
gutter in a very busy neighborhood. A good Samaritan alerted her whereabouts to a
shelter and she was brought in immediately. There it was discovered that Olivia suffered
from severe mange. After months of care and healing, she transformed into a gorgeous
girl.
Oliver was rescued after suffering from severe neglect. He was in such bad shape his
poor little eyes were matted open. After a proper grooming, things started looking up
for Oliver, and he was placed with a loving family who proclaims him ‘the sweetest dog
alive!’ Oliver is finally living his best life
Sharon and Debbie were found as strays huddled in a culvert. Their rescuers were
shocked by what they discovered on the sweet puppies. What appeared to be dirt, was
actually thousands of tiny fleas, leaving them uncomfortable and at-risk. After three
long baths, the sisters were finally clean and ready to cuddle.
Godiva was found in deplorable condition. Her mats were so severe, her rescuers
worried about injuries under all that fur. Groomers began the slow, tedious process of
cutting out the mats. After hours of grooming, and two pounds of extra fur, a little girl
emerged that’s as sweet as her name
Woodrow was brought into the shelter as a stray. Living in the harsh outside conditions
took an extreme toll on Woodrow. The matting in his fur was so severe he could barely
move, his long nails curled around his paws twice, and he was left blind from neglect.
After an extensive and tedious grooming, using every tool in the chest, a cute little man
slowly emerged. Woodrow soon found a new family and is now weathering kisses rather
than storms.
Mallory arrived at the shelter looking very scruffy and unwell. Her back was completely
raw from scratching, she limped from an unknown injury and matted fur completely
covered her eyes. After treating her injuries, Mallory was treated to a nice bath and
haircut, transforming her into a real catch. Mallory is now happily adopted and loving
her new home.

Shelter dogs have remarkable stories to tell, so to help bring a voice to the Dirty Dogs Contest Wahl is once again working with animal advocate Lee Asher. Dog lovers are a breed all their own, and some would say Lee Asher leads the pack. After traveling the country for the last several years with his posse of eleven rescue pooches, Asher now runs his newly constructed animal sanctuary in Estacada, OR, taking in at-risk animals while continuing to educate people on the rewards of dog rescue.

“Dogs love us unconditionally; they don’t care what we look like. Unfortunately, however, people don’t always return the favor,” said Asher. “Too many deserving dogs are being overlooked just because of their appearance, that’s why I’m happy to help shed some light on the importance of grooming when it comes to adoption. Good grooming can change a dog’s life; not only do they feel healthier and happier, but their true personality can also finally shine through. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to capture the heart of their new human.” 

For the last 10 years, Wahl has been on a mission to support dog adoption by donating pet grooming supplies to rescues and shelters nationwide. In fact, this past year Wahl sent thousands of brushes, bottles of shampoo and more to shelters affected by Hurricane Ida. Because of donations like these, hundreds of thousands of dogs are being transformed and readied for adoption; and each year 10 of the most dramatic makeovers are selected to participate in the Dirty Dogs Contest (dirtydogscontest.com).

Visitors to the contest page can see what each dog looked like when they arrived at the shelter or rescue, and how they transformed once they were groomed. They can also learn more about the dogs’ backgrounds and share their favorites on social media. Most importantly, their votes determine the top three winners. The shelters and rescue groups affiliated with the winning dogs will receive monetary grants to further support their efforts. In celebration of the contest’s 10-year milestone, the first-place prize doubled to $10,000! The other prizes have increased too, with second place receiving $3,000 and third place earning $2,000. The Dirty Dogs Contest runs from now until Nov. 9, 2021. To vote for one of the dogs, visit DirtyDogsContest.com.

For more information on Wahl’s complete line of pet products, including grooming tips, visit WahlUSA.com, or follow @WahlPets on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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