A group of people sent to clean the house of a recently deceased individual were surprised to find what looked like a gigantic clump of fur inside. They were even more astonished when they discovered that it was actually a Shih Tzu, and the animal was still alive.
Judging from her overgrown fur, the pooch — who was eventually christened Ellie Mae — had been staying in the house for quite some time. It would seem that her former owner didn’t get the chance to tell anyone they had a pet, so nobody came looking for Ellie Mae.
The Shih Tzu needed immediate medical attention after going for so long without food, water, and care. She couldn’t walk by herself, so the cleaners had to place her in a bin before bringing her to the Nebraska Humane Society.
Neglected dogs are not an unfamiliar sight to the shelter’s employees, but Ellie Mae was the worst case they’ve handled so far. Wasting no time, the veterinary team sedated the canine, placed a breathing tube in her airway, and began shaving off her tangled fur.
It wasn’t only the Shih Tzu’s coat that was overgrown; her nails had reached lengths of as much as seven inches as well. Some long pieces had even broken off and gotten embedded in her fur.
One of the vets, Dr. Amber Horn, was concerned that the matted hair might have cut off circulation to Ellie Mae’s limbs. Fortunately, the dog gets to keep all her legs, although one paw needed treatment for an infection.
Contrary to what one might expect, the Shih Tzu had no skin issues at all. Her hair had clumped together so well that it formed what the shelter called an impenetrable “hair shell” that shielded her from ticks and fleas.
After an hour of painstaking work, the medical team finally removed all nine pounds of dirty fur. Although Ellie Mae has a few health issues that still need to be addressed, she undoubtedly feels so much lighter now.
Her muscles and joints felt a little stiff from arthritis and disuse. However, the Shih Tzu was soon exploring the yard on her own after warming up for a bit.
Today, Ellie Mae could be found sniffing around the facility and cheerfully greeting the staff. Here’s hoping that the 11-year-old Shih Tzu finds a loving home where she could spend her twilight years in comfort.