They call him Amaze-Bobb, because what this tiny Toy Poodle has been able to overcome is simply amazing. In less than a year, this plucky senior has gone from being a victim of terrible grooming neglect to being a poster pup for resilient rescue dogs everywhere.
Amaze-Bobb (or just Bobb for short) was rescued from the streets of Los Angeles by Animal Control in early 2015, after spending more than a decade living with homeless people who never groomed him. The long-term neglect made Bobb’s curly Poodle coat turn against him. Ten years of shed hair had accumulated on his tiny 5.8-pound body, and the tangled ropes of old fur were strangling the life out of his limbs.
“Basically, when he was shaved down, his back left leg just kind of came off,” explains Megan Lundberg, who offered Bobb a foster home soon after the shave (and a forever home soon after that).
“The fur had completely self-amputated it, and it was a closed wound. He lost his left back leg just below the knee. It was attached by fur and nothing else at that point. The fur had cut completely through his skin, his muscle, his bone — everything was just completely self-amputated.”
Bobb’s left back leg was gone, and soon his front right paw would be too. A complete shave-down revealed the paw was hanging on by just a thread, and needed to be removed.
“At that time, they also removed most of his teeth because they were just rotting in his mouth,” says Lundberg.
While Bobb was recovering in a city shelter, his story made it to Lundberg via an email from Synergy Animal Rescue. The organization works to save sick, senior, and special-needs dogs, and it was hoping to find a place for Bobb so he could be pulled from the shelter.
Lundberg and her husband, Nate, had experience fostering dogs with medical needs through other organizations, and they emailed Synergy’s executive director, Carla Naden, to offer Bobb a spot in their San Diego home. “I didn’t have a foster dog at the time, so I said, ‘Put me down as a potential foster,’ and she ended up contacting me to do the foster application, and then we got him.”
On February 2, 2015, Lundberg picked Bobb up and brought him home to the house she shared with her husband, their two Siberian Huskies, and two cats.
“He did seem a little bit in shock. It was such a big change for him. He’d come off the streets, he’d had that big pelt of fur removed, he went into a shelter, and then he was with Carla for a few days before he came to us.”
Remarkably, Bobb’s shock wore off quickly.
“About three weeks after his rescue, we started to see him wanting to play more,” Lundberg recalls. “He had started hopping around a little bit more, and he was acting kind of happy and silly.”
The Lundbergs found themselves falling in love with the little Poodle with two paws, but a cross-country move was looming on the horizon. When the family sold their San Diego home in preparation for a move to Colorado, Bobb went back to Synergy. His foster family was temporarily living with a friend who had rescue dogs and cats of her own, and Lundberg felt that wasn’t a fair place for Bobb to be.
“We really loved him, but it just wasn’t a good time, and we didn’t want to put him through more stress.”
During a meet-up with Naden, the Lundbergs lamented the timing of Bobb’s arrival in their lives, mentioning that they missed him and were sad to be moving to another state without him.
“That’s when Carla said, ‘He’s still available,’” Lundberg remembers. “We had a serious conversation about whether we could take him on. He’s a senior, he has some medical issues, he’s going to be special needs for the rest of his life. So we talked about it, whether we wanted to invest in him, because it’s a financial responsibility as well. We decided that we would want to do it.”
While the Lundbergs finished up their move, they began coordinating adoption plans for Bobb, but a new medical issue would put his travel plans on hold. Bobb had been feeling lethargic back at Synergy. “They couldn’t figure it out. He was in and out of the vet. They finally discovered that he had an abscess under one of the remaining canine teeth in his mouth. We didn’t know if he was going to make it through that.”
Thankfully, Bobb recovered quickly from surgery to remove the abscess, and soon he was on his way to Colorado to join his forever family.
As a professional dog trainer, Lundberg knew she would face some challenges with Bobb, especially when it came to grooming, as he was initially very reactive to any attempt to fix his hair. “He has been getting positive training, using a lot of counterconditioning and desensitizing at his own pace.”
In addition to working on his grooming, Lundberg initially intended to get Bobb prosthetics to improve his balance. “If he has a longer pee, he has to rest his chin on the ground to hold his balance, and things like that would just be easier for him if he had another leg to stand on,” she explains, adding that unfortunately prosthetics won’t be in Bobb’s future.
Medical experts say he would need surgery on his back leg before he could be fit for prosthetics, and his front right leg was amputated in such a way that would make prosthetics painful. Bobb probably would reject them anyway.
Even without prosthetics, Bobb is loving life at home with the Lundbergs and their other pets.
“He goes out and meets people,” says Lundberg. ”He’s living a normal, happy life.”
And he’s also learning a few new tricks, as seen in this video:
With regular hair cuts and a roof over his head, it’s a far cry from what Bobb was used to in L.A., but he certainly deserves it. To learn more about Bobb and his journey, visit his Facebook page.
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About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.