Imagine being trapped in a 12-by-12 barn stall for six years without any care, slowly falling under the weight of the 35 pounds of fur you are carrying on your body. That was the life that Lazarus, a 7-year-old Great Pyrenees whose owners had terminal illnesses and were unable to care for him.
Lazarus was trapped in his own body, his fur overgrown, matted and filthy. The stall he was in was so full of dirt and feces that it had to be shoveled away to get the stall door open. His situation was brought to the attention of a local groomer, and once she saw the severity of the dog's condition, she reached out to the Big Fluffy Dog Rescue for help.
Amanda Brooks Charsha-Lindsey, an employee of the rescue, decided to foster Lazarus. The dog was whisked away by the groomer, and with the aid of another groomer, she began the painstaking task of transforming this dog. When all was said and done, 35 pounds of fur was removed from Lazarus' body.
Shortly after the hair removal began, "he calmed down and seemed to realize because it was making him feel better," said Jessica Kincheloe, one of the groomers.
Charsha-Lindsey took Lazarus into her home and began the process of rehabilitating him. "We’re having to rebuild his muscles back and get him to a normal gait and we will get him to a point where he can walk and run with some sort of ease," she said. "Right now he has to think about every step he takes."
It has taken some time for Lazarus to become comfortable going outside and walking around. He has also learned that people can be good, too. "He was OK with the human touch but didn't seem familiar to it. He warmed up to us really quick. Especially after offering treats," said Kincheloe.
There's still a long road ahead for Lazarus, but his time living with his foster mom has made all the difference in the world. Now, Lazarus enjoys walking, playing and just being a dog in general.
He has even learned to appreciate a well-cooked steak, though not at first. He "approached a freshly grilled steak cautiously which made us sad," said Jean Harrison, director of Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. "But he quickly got the idea and he was incredibly happy to have that steak."
We hope that Lazarus continues to find joy in every day of his life.