Sometimes, all it takes to start feeling better again is a brand-new haircut. Luckily, Holland the poodle-Maltese mix also got a new family in the process — and she can’t stop smiling about it.
In late September, the young dog was dropped off at an open-access shelter in horrible condition. Covered entirely with mats, Holland itched and rubbed her face all the time trying to ease her irritated skin. Her matted ears hung down like dreadlocks on either side of her face, measuring at least 6 inches, and dirt was embedded into her hair from months of neglect.
Trio Animal Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, took Holland in to start freeing her of all the hair — but even grooming scissors couldn’t cut through the thick mats. Not used to people touching her, Holland began getting very stressed about the groom, so rescuers decided to bring her in for a grooming session under sedation with a veterinarian. The inches of fur encasing Holland were so thick, vets needed to use a scalpel to cut through it.
“A shell-like casing of matted fur covered most of her back and it looked like an exoskeleton from behind,” her rescuers wrote on Facebook. “This was the only safe way to free her from the prison of her own fur.”
Underneath all the hair, Holland wasn’t suffering from any health problems aside from irritated skin. Free from the fur that once pulled at her sensitive skin each day, she learned how to walk, jump and even play again with ease.
But because she likely didn’t get much interaction with people or other animals at her former home, it took Holland a few weeks to truly come out of her shell. When she met the rescue’s resident therapy dog, Miller, she was nervous at first — but soon enough, he taught her how to feel more comfortable and she began following him around to play.
“We really had to focus on her emotional stability after getting her healthy,” the rescue said. “Miller eventually brought a smile to her face. She was mentored by the best.”
Finally feeling like a dog again, Holland was ready for a new home. She was officially adopted on November 8, and clearly, she couldn’t be more excited.
“Holland immediately bonded with her new mom and dad and they were head over heels for her,” the rescue wrote in a Facebook update. “Just look at the smile on her face! For that matter, look at the smile on all of their faces!”