When the Shih Tzu’s human dropped her off at the shelter, it was obvious she needed help. She hadn’t been groomed, and her fur was long and tangled. But when shelter staff saw the dog, they realized lives could be at risk and called animal rescuers for assistance.
Some people don’t understand that when you take on a dog, you’re responsible for their care. Some dog breeds have different needs than others, though. For example, long-haired dog breeds need regular grooming to avoid afflicting them with health and hygiene problems.
Shih Tzus are one example of a type of dog that needs regular grooming. Their hair grows long, and if it’s not brushed and trimmed, it can quickly get out of control. Most dog owners know this, but whether intentionally or by accident, it can sometimes get overlooked.
Perhaps that’s what happened to the little Shih Tzu rescuers called Asha Attie, but ultimately we’ll never know. Nor is it likely we’ll ever find out what her life was like before she was abandoned. Either way, Asha’s human left her at an animal shelter in a terrible state.
Asha’s owner dropped her off at the East Valley Shelter in Los Angeles on July 9, 2012. Not only was she undernourished, but her human hadn’t tended to her fur for a long time. She was ungroomed, and as a result, Asha’s hair was tangled and knotted.
In fact, it was so bad that parts of Asha’s body were obscured. This was even more of an issue considering the Shih Tzu’s condition, which became more obvious soon after arriving. That’s because Asha was pregnant when she was given up, and she went into labor.
Asha gave birth to four puppies at the shelter, which were later called Karina, Amia, Wyatt and Emmett. But their mom’s unkempt condition made feeding the pups difficult. As a result of her long hair, the babies couldn’t find her teats to get the milk they needed. The shelter decided to call in some extra help.
Pnina Gersten, an advocate for the East Valley Shelter, contacted a non-profit animal rescue group called Bill Foundation (BF). Peter and Jo Forman created the organization in May 2000 and named it after a stray dog they rescued. Bill the dog was with the Forman family for ten years.
When Bill was tragically lost to cancer, the Formans dedicated themselves to rescuing other dogs just like Bill. With this in mind, BF fosters and adopts dogs in dire need of help. The group’s members shelter strays until they can find forever homes.
When BF received the call for help from the shelter, it sent a team out to assist. “We arrived at the shelter the next morning before they opened,” BF wrote on its rescue video’s captions. The footage also reveals what happened next.
The BF crew begin by introducing themselves to Asha and allowing her to get accustomed to their scent. After that, they reunite Momma with her puppies. The babies are brought to her in a carrier cage, and initially Asha doesn’t know how to get to them.
However, the shelter team are keen to see mommy together with her puppers again. Even as they unlatch the cage door, Asha tries to swing the entrance open with her paw. Luckily, her rescuers are on hand to assist and open the door for Mommy.
Asha doesn’t seem to realize the cage is open; perhaps because her overgrown hair obstructs her vision. As a result, the Shih Tzu’s rescuer guides her into the cage to greet her pups. Asha climbs in and instinctively stands over the babies.
Once Asha joins her pups in the carrier cage, BF takes the dogs away on a special trip. “Animal Medical Center agreed to take the Attie family in,” the video explains. In addition to offering the dogs shelter, the medical center knew just how to help Asha.
The veterinarians there set about giving the ungroomed Shih Tzu the haircut she desperately needed. Her fur was so overgrown. It wasn’t a quick task, either – the shaving process took place over 90 minutes. Even given this lengthy time, Asha was the perfect patient.
The video shows her standing patiently as the doctors remove her hair. It’s as if she knows what her rescuers are trying to accomplish. But the end result is worth it, especially when Asha joins her very hungry puppies again.
As soon as the pups see Mommy, they instantly totter forward to attempt another feeding. This time, though, the babies find what they’re looking for. With Asha’s matted hair gone, she’s able to give her pups the milk they need.
The footage cuts to four weeks later, and reveals an infinitely healthier-looking Attie family. Asha’s carers have kept her hair short and neat. The pups are doing great too. All that remained for them was their wait for their forever homes.
The YouTube rescue video has amassed 2,772,683 views to date, with five-and-a-half thousand likes. It has touched people across the globe, and no doubt attracted plenty of interest from potential adopters. Then, on November 5, 2012, BF updated Asha’s status. A loving couple had offered Asha a forever home.
A later update revealed that a veterinary technician who had looked after the Atties had become Karina’s human. Amia was also fortunate enough to find her forever home. To date, there has been no update on the other two puppies.