Harris sheds his dreads to find love

The photo on the left is the reality of animal rescue sometimes. It can be sad, desperate and full of heartache. Like Harris was when he came to Helen Woodward Animal Center. However, the photo on the right makes feeling the heartache and sadness worth feeling. It’s worth it to see the happy ending, the forever family, the happy smiles and tail wags. Animals like Harris are worth saving.

Harris looked like a gray, 40-pound dog covered with dread locks when he arrived here last month. But when we shaved away the clumps of fur, foxtails, and thistles then gave him a bath, we discovered a handsome, white, 20 pound dog underneath. Now he’s ready to begin the life he’s never had… and nearly missed. He was running out of time at an animal shelter in Kern County when he was picked up by a Los Angeles county rescuer who transferred him to us.

A common sentiment among rescuers who first saw him was… ‘That dog is an absolute mess.’

He shuffled out of the crate and into our lobby. We tried to coax him to eat or drink, but it was obvious that even the tiniest of movements hurt due to his neglected fur coat. It pinched and pulled at his skin 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no respite from the pain. The one thing that Harris didn’t mind… was petting. His eyes would get a far away ‘aaaahhh‘ look when we gently pet his nose and chin, literally the only places on his body that were not matted and knotted together.

We knew we had to act immediately to ease his pain. Harris stood perfectly still as our medical team clipped away large clumps of fur. At one point the clipping stopped as we tried to determine which mass hanging from his head was a clump of fur and which one was his ear. We felt one, then the other before making a cautious snip. Our medical team made the right decision.

Two days after his arrival Harris was put under anesthesia. While he was out we put a scope in his ears and removed four large foxtails then shaved him. You wouldn’t recognize him as the same dog that arrived here two days earlier. He’s a happy, beautiful dog! Now Harris can enjoy being pet all over. He loves touch and enjoys the company of humans very much!

When animals come to Helen Woodward Animal Center, their lives are changed forever. They are given second chances. But each one changes us for the better as well.

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