RICHMOND, Va. - A 7-year-old poodle, who suffered from severe neglect while living under a bed for 2 years, was rescued and adopted into a loving home in Virginia.
Lionheart was surrendered to the Richmond SPCA in April, when he was covered with "enormous" mats, after having hid under a bed for two years, according to the organization's blog post and their CEO Robin Robertson Starr.
"Lionheart won the hearts of everyone at the Richmond SPCA because, despite the fact that he had been so horribly ignored and neglected, he was such a loving, happy and resilient little guy," Starr said.
Starr said the poodle came to the organization "encased in mats of fur that weighed several pounds on a very small dog."
"When he first arrived, you could not tell which was his front or back end because the mats were so huge and they so completely encased him," she said.
Starr told WTVR-TV it was "one of the most appalling cases of neglect I have seen in 22 years."
"He had obviously had no care or attention for a very long time. His owner who relinquished him to us said that Lionheart had been hiding under a bed for a couple of years and the owner had just pushed food in for him," Starr said.
The SPCA said it took staff several hours to remove the pounds of matted fur that had "amassed on his tiny body."
"Our veterinary team worked quickly to relieve Lionheart of his painful mats and address his medical conditions that had mounted over years of neglect," the SPCA said in their post.
Lionheart's fur was "matted so thick" that it had been preventing him from seeing, eating, drinking and walking properly, the organization said.
After the poodle was shaved and his nails were clipped, the SPCA assessed the damage that the years of neglect had done to him. They tended to the sores on his skin, performed a dental cleaning to relieve him of "terrible, untreated" periodontal disease, neutered him and treated him for internal parasites, the organization said. They also carefully monitored his hair growth.
Starr said as soon as they treated him, "he became a friendly and lively little dog."
"He seemed to constantly have a smile on his face and a happy attitude," she said.
After three months of receiving care from the SPCA, Lionheart was cleared for adoption. He was "quickly adopted by a compassionate and very loving new guardian who adores him."
Bill Brown and his wife, a retired couple who had been waiting for a little dog like Lionheart, adopted him and renamed him Cody.
"They are totally in love with him," Starr said.
"It's unbelievable how someone can treat something so lovable, so cute and so smart," Brown told WTVR. "We were shocked to find out his background to tell the truth."
Starr said dogs seem to "always be willing to give humans another chance."
"Dogs are remarkably resilient creatures and have the capacity to keep loving humans," she told the station.
Starr said, "We know he is going to have a very happy life ahead of him which is what he deserves."
"It is incredibly rewarding for us to know what an enormous positive difference the Richmond SPCA has made in the life of this precious little dog," Starr said. "He is such a deserving dog who is loving and sweet despite the unkindness and neglect he has experienced from a human in his past."
Starr said the SPCA notified Richmond Animal Care and Control of the poodle's previous owner's name and address, the information he had disclosed, as well as the condition of the dog upon arrival at the humane center. They also provided evidence in the form of cuttings from his mats. She said they don't know if any investigation has been undertaken.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.