When little Rags the dog was brought into the Clarksdale Animal Rescue Effort and Shelter (CARES) in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the poor thing was in rough shape.

The Shih Tzu mix, which rescuers estimated to be about three or four years old, had been living on the streets for who knows how long before wandering into someone’s yard and catching their attention. After feeding him for a few weeks, that person decided to bring him into the animal shelter, where volunteers were shocked by his appearance. A victim of neglect, Rags’ fur was so tangled that he walked with bowed legs.

‘His body was covered in the thickest mats that we’ve ever seen. We’ve never seen this much hair on a dog this size,” said CARES board member and publicity officer Paige Daugherty. “They were a dreadlock-type texture that scissors couldn’t cut – assumed from years of neglect.”

Two staff members and a volunteer got straight to work on him a little over a week ago, spending three hours freeing him of his furry prison.

They ended up shaving four pounds of matted fur off of Rags, revealing hundreds of fleas and sores. But after receiving treatments including a medicated bath, he’s feeling so much better now. He’s almost unrecognizable!

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