Stories about animal cruelty and abuse are always sad and disheartening to hear about, but when there is a happy ending and an animal finally experiences true freedom and relief, it gives you hope. For Lazarus, a dog who was neglected and kept outside in a barn for years, his story is ongoing. While he is definitely in a better place now, he still has a lot of healing and overcoming to do.
Lazarus’s story was unfortunately like many others. He was never really shown any love or affection by his owners, instead he was practically abandoned and all but forgotten about. They kept him outside year round in a drafty, cold, filthy barn stall. He was given the bare minimum, food and water, and nothing else. Life was depressing and boring for the poor dog. There was no walks or any chance for him to get exercise, no toys or anything else to play with, and no medical care or attention was ever paid to him.
For years his sad plight dragged on, until his owner became terminally ill and asked a neighbor to take care of Lazarus while he was in the hospital. It was only when the neighbor stopped by to feed him that the true extent of the horrible conditions the poor dog was being kept in came to light. What he found shocked him and made him real mad, thankfully enough to spur him into action and do something about it. The level of neglect and squalor that Lazarus had been exposed to was beyond what any animal should ever be forced to endure. So much dirt and feces had built up that to even open the stall door it needed to first be dug out. Then, sitting there unable to move in the middle of all this grime was poor Lazarus. He looked like a giant mound of dirty white matted fur.
It just so happened that the neighbor had also come by with his girlfriend in tow and she was a dog groomer who we will call C, because she prefers not to be named. She knew something needed to be done immediately and so she enlisted her friend, a fellow groomer named Jessica Kincheloe, and the group set about rescuing the long suffering Lazarus.
They reached out to the owner and got his permission to take the dog. The next step was to clean him up and that meant shaving off all of his fur. He’d been so neglected and not looked after or cared for to the point that his fur had grown long and become severely matted together. In fact, it was so matted that it made moving nearly impossible for him and the heavy knotted scruffs of hair had started tugging and pulling at his skin. This left him in debilitating pain and in order to end his suffering the women had to shave him completely. By the time they were done they had taken off an incredible thirty-five pounds of fur, leaving Lazarus looking like a completely different dog, and feeling like one too!
In the video below you can see him taking his first steps after having his coat shaved and that’s why he looks all unsteady and wobbly. He’s unsure of himself because he’s suddenly 35 pounds lighter and for the first time in ages he’s finally able to move without pain. Upon further inspection at a check up, the veterinarian also found that he had a broken tail and his muscles were severely under-developed, which was due to him being unable to move from all that fur.
Lazarus was taken in by the Big Fluffy Dog Rescue and placed in a foster home with one of their volunteers in Virginia. According to the rescue group, ‘His eyes are getting brighter, he is starting to see affection and is slowly becoming steadier on his feet. He has yet to make a peep and can become overwhelmed easily, so we go at his pace on everything.’ After being neglected and deprived of love for the past 7 years, he’s only just beginning to learn how to trust people. As terribly sad as that may be, Lazarus has been given a second chance at leading a normal, love-filled life.
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