When Dean Gough saw a grey shape in a wooded field on his farm property he first thought it was a thrown away mouldy blanket. But after the shape began to crawl away from him, he was shocked to discover it was a dog.
The Maltese Poodle was barely able to walk under the matted and muddy fur that weighed down his entire body.
Fortunately for the abandoned dog, Dean's wife, Dr. Brenda Gough, is a local veterinarian and runs the Park Road Veterinary Clinic and Southern Cross Equestrian Facility.
Brenda was amazed that the little dog had survived given that their rural property in Brantford, Ontario is surrounded by dense forest and packs of coyotes.
The staff named him Shrek after the loveable ogre from the animated film of the same name.
"The smell was atrocious," Brenda told CTV News when Shrek arrived at her clinic.
Her staff immediately began tending to the frightened dog and shaved over 3.5 pounds of matted fur and feces from him. He also had a burr removed from one of his eyes.
"So after he woke up from the anesthetic, we could see we have a wonderful little dog here. He's terrified of his own shadow, but not mean or aggressive in any way. He started eating a little later on. He's anemic and hypoproteinemic, but otherwise his blood picture's pretty good. Look at the wounds on his little legs just from having all that hair and mud caked on him for so long! His skin is looking better already just being cleaned up! We also picked a burr out of his eye. The ulcer should heal up pretty quickly," Brenda wrote on the Park Road Veterinary Clinic Facebook page.
Brenda is primary concerned about Shrek's behavior. He cowers in the corner when he was placed in a kennel and is frightened of human contact. Brenda suspects he may have been a puppy mill dog.
But the staff are patiently giving him lots of love and he is now being fostered by the Gough family and one of Brenda's technicians.
As Shrek's story has begun to spread, he has helped save 12 other dogs as well. Brant County SPCA said that after people read Shrek's story they received some tips about dogs on a Burford property a few miles away from where Shrek was found. They investigated and took 12 dogs who were living in very poor conditions with heavily matted fur away for care.
Shrek is making an impact on the larger animal loving community as well. Brenda said they are receiving support from people around the world.
"It feels great to have so much support," Brenda told the Brantford Expositor. "When you see a pet in this kind of condition you start to lose faith in humanity and then you see this amazing outpouring of support come Shrek's way and you think there are a lot of really caring people out there.”
Meanwhile, Shrek is slowly learning to trust and love people with the Gough family. He also has a new 160-pound friend in the Gough family's dog Norstrom.
"Norstrom and Shrek met tonite! Lol. Talk about yin and yang! Shrek's 9 lbs to Nordy's 160 lbs. I think Shrek is the size of Nordy's head!"
Every day he's learning to trust a little bit more. And every day he leans just a little bit more to get a hug.
"Day by day, learning to trust. Shrek has found the comfiest spot on the couch beside Andrew and snuggles right in! Gradually turning from a slight lean into a full on snuggle! Lol. You can see the look in his eyes turning from terrified to 'hey...this is pretty sweet!'. lol."
Brenda wrote, "He safe and warm now, clean and fed. I wish he could tell us his story. How he got to our farm, how he survived out there for so long, why his owner allowed this to happen. He didn't deserve to be treated like that. No one does. Safe now, warm, dry.....loved. He can rest now, and hopefully learn to trust again."
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