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Scared and in Need of Care, This Dog Was Mistaken for an Old Carpet

This heartwarming story about Shih Tzu named Oreo serves as a big lesson for dogs with long hair who forget to groom themselves and keep those bangs trimmed.

A man named Kyle Dunlap was doing his usual rounds as the maintenance officer of a park in McKinney, Texas. One day, he spotted something strange on the bench and from afar, it looked like an old carpet that someone threw away. When he got closer to retrieve it, the thing moved and startled him.

Dunlap soon realized that the dirty object wasn't a rug at all. It was, in fact, a living dog that seemed to have been lost or abandoned.

Raggedy Dog Was in Desperate Need of Care

The dog growled when Dunlap tried to approach but that didn't stop the park officer from taking the pup. He knew that the raggedy dog needed immediate care and that its response was out of fear. So, to pacify the dog, Dunlap sat next to it and carefully took pictures. He figured someone on Facebook might be able to help as well, so he posted a message on Facebook.


Dunlap added that the dog had matted hair and smelled really bad. He also noticed that the pup, who’s apparently a Shih Tzu, was hardly moving, which meant he could be in physical pain and was generally unhappy about his condition.

Good People to the Rescue

Tara Holgate from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) saw the Facebook post and did not hesitate to come to the park to help Dunlap. She took the dog to a clinic, where a vet assessed its condition.

Raggedy dog that needed care
Photo: Tara Holgate

Sedated, the dog's matted fur was shaved off and his body was cleaned. The clinic also vaccinated the Shih Tzu, as well as administered medication for ticks and fleas. When the dog woke up from sedation, he appeared to be in a better mood and that gave rescuers some hope he'll recover.

Oreo the lost dog looks very different
Photo: Tara Holgate

Reuniting With His Dog Mom

The SPCA then made efforts to find the dog's family and learned that a woman has been looking for her missing Shih Tzu. Her dog, named Oreo, escaped their home from the backyard a few days earlier. Could Oreo be the dog from the park?

Holgate decided to drive Oreo to the woman's house and as soon as he saw his dog mom from the car, he could not contain his emotions. Oreo started crying out, with a sound that indicated he ached for his mom. Needless to say, the family had a happy reunion.

Taking Care Of Long-Haired Dogs

Holgate, however, did not leave the family without advising them on caring for a dog with long hair. A breed like Shih Tzu requires regular grooming and brushing and Holgate said that the family might not have any clue about how quickly their hair tangles up and become matted.

Oreo the dog is happy again
Photo: Tara Holgate

Brushing a dog's hair can also have a soothing effect. They might not love it at first but with regular and gentle care, they'll get used to it so they'll be easier to groom, according to groomer Melissa Verplank.

Importance Of Avoiding Matted Hair

Matted hair in dogs can be painful and uncomfortable. It could also cause bacterial infection and skin damage, as dirt from feces, the ground or soil, or dead skin cells remain trapped.

In extreme cases, dogs might require surgical or medical attention because the matted hair caused health complications. Situations like this could be easily avoided with proper grooming and care. Dogs with long hair require brushing at least once a day.

Meanwhile, Holgate recently got in touch with Oreo's family to see how things are coming along. They told her that Oreo's hair has been kept shaven so that it would be easier to care for him.

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Camden Savage is a Phoenix based writer, vegan, cupcake addict and dog lover. Years in the animal rescue trenches have taught her every aspect of dog ownership from behavioral problems, personality and breed specific trait differences of all dogs.