An Abused Survivor finds a Forever Home
I had been grooming pets for about six years. Most of that time was spent at a veterinary clinic in a fairly upscale neighborhood in my city. I groomed between six and 10 dogs during my eight-hour day. These clients were very nice, but also particular as to how they wanted their dogs to look. I groomed poodles (toy to standard), cocker spaniels, Westies, Soft-coated Wheatons, and Yorkies.
I did not know what I was getting myself into when I applied for the open animal groomer position at the Nebraska Humane Society. Eighteen animals a day, on average, are bathed, dipped, trimmed and shaved in my grooming room there. Most of my days are filled with matted fur, fleas, ticks, ringworm and other coat and skin issues. I groom dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, ferrets, and an occasional goat. It is a great job filled with surprises and rewards daily. But there is sadness there each day as well. Animals arrive in deplorable condition, matted and emaciated; their eyes sad but their tails still wagging.
One little dog was picked up as a stray. He was a Yorkshire Terrier mixed with another breed (or two). He had to wait in the stray kennels at the shelter, getting food, water and warm blankets to cuddle up on. I would see him once or twice a day. He surely was rough looking, half bald, with matted fur on his face. He would love coming up to the front of the kennel to greet me with some kisses and little barks.
Nobody came to claim the little guy. After three days, he was given a behavior evaluation to make sure he was suitable for adoption. Then he was taken to the Animal Medical Department to get ready for neuter surgery.
For the safety and comfort of some of the animals getting surgery, I request that they be brought into the grooming room while still sedated from their surgery. The little Yorkie was one of these dogs. One of the Vet Techs brought the little dog into my room and stated, “We had to shave his muzzle. The doctors think he was a victim of cruelty. He has a scar all the way around his muzzle where someone tied it shut.”
He was gently placed on the grooming table and it hit me. This sweet little dog had been horribly treated. My heart started to melt for him. He had bald spots throughout his body and the fur on his legs and face was matted to his skin. I decided it was best to just shave him from head to tail so he could start from scratch. I gave him a bath with anti-bacterial shampoo. He started waking up while he was drying.
When he was awake, I trimmed some straggly hairs with shears. He once again showered me with kisses. I decided right then and there that he deserved a fresh start and knew he would get the love he deserved in my home.
He was named Tuco by my daughter, after a character in her favorite movie. He has an Australian Cattle Dog mix sister, two cat brothers, and a tortoise brother. Tuco is energetic, loving, very devoted and I cannot imagine my life without him.
By LeAnn Nussrallah