Scared, Bald Puppy Grows Up To Be The Fluffiest Dog

He's so furry now that he stops people on the street.

When Karla Solis saw a terrified animal trembling beneath a car in Tijuana, Mexico, naked and starving, she knew she had to help.

After several attempts, she managed to coax the frightened creature out into the August sun, where the dog looked almost as if he had turned to stone.

Asher the chow rescued from Mexico
Becky Moder

Solis could see the damage that severe mange and other tick-borne infections had wreaked on his inflamed skin. His pelvic bones were visible, sticking out of his weak 40-pound frame, half of what would be considered healthy for his breed.

dog with mange
Becky Moder

At the vet, she discovered that in addition to severe mange and Ehrlichia (a tick-borne illness), the stray had an unknown mass in his abdomen. Solis contacted rescuer Becky Moder, who works with neglected animals in Mexico and transports them to shelters in the U.S., to help raise donations for the dog’s extensive medical treatment.

Asher the chow getting vet treatment in Mexico
Becky Moder

Shy, scared and quiet, the 5-year-old pup had clearly been through so much. His rescuers knew it would be a miracle if he could pull through.

When funds came up short, Moder refused to give up and paid for nearly half of the vet costs herself.

Becky Moder

To Solis and Moder’s delight, the skeletal dog, whom they named Elliot, quickly responded to the treatments and began to heal.

Becky Moder

By October, Elliot’s hair had started to grow back — first as fuzz, then thick and red. When Elliot was healthy enough to start looking for his forever home, Moder gave him his freedom ride from Mexico to San Diego, and Solis saw them off.

Karla Solis with dog Asher
Karla Solis says goodbye to Elliot. | Becky Moder

Not long after Elliot arrived in the States, Kim Forrest and her partner spotted him at the rescue The Barking Lot, in El Cajon, California. Due to their busy schedules, the couple was searching for an older dog to love, with a sweet and calm temperament.

Becky Moder

When they met Elliot, they couldn’t believe their luck.

Kim Forrest

“We got to meet him and walk him and he was such a gentle lead. I think that’s really what got us,” Kim Forrest told The Dodo. “He was very calm-tempered, he didn’t bark and he was super-duper friendly ... He was a very happy dog.”

When they brought Elliot home, they gave him a new name — Asher.

Kim Forrest

When Asher first arrived at Forrest’s home, he was still recovering emotionally from his former life.

He was afraid to jump on the furniture, mostly content to sit in silence.

Kim Forrest

But over the past two years, Asher has slowly come out of his shell, showing his moms a more playful — though still quiet — side of his personality.

“When we first got him, we didn’t think he wanted to play at all. We had bought him all these toys, and if you took a squeaky toy and squeaked it at him, he would look at you like you’re crazy,” Forrest explained. “But as time went on, we realized that he really just likes my stuffed animals. He started to take my teddy bears, and now he loves to play with anything that doesn’t have a squeaker or sound. It’s his favorite thing.”

Kim Forrest

Now the dog who once hid from the sun loves to sit outside and soak up the rays.

Kim Forrrest

“When we first got him, he didn’t bark at all, and now that he’s warmed up to us, and barks when we get home because he’s so excited,” Forrest said. “But he’s still very calm, and he loves to be outside.”

Kim Forrest

His moms take him to the dog park every day, where he will happily chase (but not catch) bunnies, and bring him on hikes in the San Diego hills.

Whenever Asher leaves the house, his striking appearance and fluffy red fur garners attention.

Kim Forrest

“Everywhere we go, somebody wants to talk to us about him. It’s very fun to have that kind of attention for him, because he deserves it,” Forrest said. “He had such a rough time for the first five years of his life, so we’re just so happy for him. It makes me and my partner’s hearts very full.”

“I could honestly not imagine having a better dog,” Forrest said.

Asher celebrating the one year anniversary of his adoption. | Kim Forrest

With Asher fully settled into his new life, his moms have been discussing adding another animal to their family. This time — a cat.

But, for now, at least, Asher gets all the attention.

Kim Forrest

“I’m pretty sure he’d be a good brother,” Forrest added, “but I think he likes being the only child.”

To help other dogs like Asher, you can make a donation to The Barking Lot.