Stray dogs are an epidemic in the US. So much so that 1.2 million dogs are put to sleep in kill shelters every year. That’s why it’s so important that people open their minds and hearts the possibility of adopting an unwanted pooch, giving them the forever home they deserve.

However, when this stray dog was picked up in Croatia, his condition was so bad that his rescuer struggled to believe that he was even a dog.

Named Frodo after J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved hero of The Lord of The Rings, he looked more like its infamous antagonist Gollum. When discovered wandering the streets of Croatia, Frodo’s eyes were plagued by a severe infection and his skin was covered with mange.

Without intervention, Frodo’s chances of survival were nonexistent, but thankfully he was taken to veteran animal rescuer Klaudija Sigurnjak.

“I was stunned,” Klaudija told The Dodo. “I could hardly believe it was really a dog. I immediately set about rescuing him.”

Check out the video below for the lowdown on Frodo’s incredible story:

Without a human company, stray dogs are naturally distrusting of people, but Frodo soon warmed to Klaudija when she gave him food. After winning his trust, she was then faced with the seemingly impossible task of nursing him back to health.