“When we first saw this dog in its cage, we didnt know which end was front or back. We had to get a treat to see which end lifted up to sniff.”

A special groomer named Kelli had to make extra time in her work day €” a full 90 minutes €” to trim up the matted mess, what Naiden described as a “hard shell of fur,” that had become Phoebe’s hair. That first haircut removed a full two pounds of hair from the diminutive doggie. Phoebe then got her first bath in who knows how long, followed by a less functional and more stylish haircut.

“Even though we had to pull out fur that had grown 2 inches down Ellens ear canal and shave matted fur away from her irritated paper-thin skin,” Naiden wrote, “Never once did Ellen [now Phoebe] growl or show her teeth.

When it came time to shave the matted fur that had tightly wrapped its way around Ellens raw legs like a snug boot, Ellen actually looked up at me and started to give me kisses€¦ I could have died. Even better, the first time that she could feel the touch of my hand on her newly shaven back€¦ she looked me in the eyes and it was as if she was saying thank you.”

Once cleaned up, Phoebe was taken to the Heal Veterinary Clinic and was found to be a female who weighed about eight and a half pounds, estimated to be about two years old. They also gave her all the proper vaccinations and scheduled follow-up appointments.

Naiden personally fostered Phoebe and made sure she made it through the gauntlet of medical tests with the help of some of TAF’s therapy dogs.

Phoebe’s transformation story received 100,000 reactions on Facebook and nearly 10,000 comments alone, many of them volunteering to take in the rescued pup. In the end, over 200 people formally applied to adopt the tiny shih tzu-terrier.