Frightened Street Dog Loses 3 Pounds Of Fur — And Gains A Little Hope
When Eldad Hagar received an emergency call from someone reporting a stray dog, he said, he had "no idea it was going to be this bad."
But for Benji the dog, it was the moment when life started to get a little better.
Hagar, the founder of Hope for Paws in Los Angeles, has rescued dozens of dogs in need, but he still brought along backup - an associate, Lisa Chiarelli. The two rushed to an L.A. neighborhood - where they found Benji, matted and skittish.
"Benji realized quickly that Lisa and I were looking at him, and he ran away as fast as he could," Hagar wrote on Flickr.
Hagar and Chiarelli finally caught Benji with their catch loop, but the pup was so scared that he bit his own tongue when he tried to escape.
Benji's fur was in bad shape, and his body was riddled with fleas and ticks. But after a while, he allowed Hagar to give him a few careful pets.
And then his expression changed.
At the hospital, Benji's mangled fur had to go. "This was one of the longest grooming sessions EVER!" Hagar wrote.
"At first Benji resisted our touch, but after we shaved half his body, he felt the relief and just laid there so we could finish the job," he added.
Nearly 3 pounds of fur was removed from his body and face, which, while certainly a relief, made Benji very anxious.
After his bath, he looked like a totally different dog. But he was still stressed out and nervous - understandably so. So he headed to Chiarelli's house for a little TLC.
Benji's next challenge was to learn how to be a pet - his rescuers weren't even sure he'd ever been inside before he was scooped up.
That's where his new friends came in. "[Chiarelli's] dogs and foster dogs played a key role in helping Benji learn how to be a pet," Hagar wrote.
Benji even learned about toys ...
... and treats.
Now, Benji has loads of friends. (This is Cinderella.)
They have great parties and take lots of group photos together.
Benji and his friend Lola are especially photogenic.
Eventually, Benji started to get his fluff back ...
... and his groove.
Benji is now available for adoption through PAL Rescue, where he hopes to meet his best friend of all - a new owner.
You can watch a video of his rescue below.
You can learn more about Hope for Paws here.