Luckily, someone else had a vision for Matilda Mae.
"When I saw her, I knew there was something magical going on underneath all those mats," Renee Martini, founder of Renee's Rescues, tells The Dodo.
Martini's organization partners with local shelters, getting a call when a dog arrives who needs extra care.
Matilda Mae, with her painfully neglected coat, along with a set of rotting teeth, was exactly that kind of case.
It seemed even the 6-year-old dog knew it.
"Initially, from what I understand from the animal control officer that brought her to me, she was very depressed," Martini says. "Almost lethargic. She wouldn't look you in the eye."