When Donna Lochmann, chief life-saving officer with Stray Rescue of St. Louis (SRSL), and her team were driving around in the middle of a snowstorm looking for animals in need of her help, something strange caught her eye.
From the window of her Jeep, Donna spotted a big, gray clump hiding underneath a white van.
As the clump suddenly moved, the rescuers realized that it was actually an animal seeking shelter from the snow.
However, what they didn’t know was what kind of an animal it was. Regardless, the incredible team stopped their car and got out to help.
Even when the rescuers approached the animal, they still had trouble figuring out what it was.
“His hair was so long, you could barely tell which side was his face. You could kind of see his nose,” Donna told The Dodo.
After some inspection, Donna realized that the animal was actually a dog with severely matted fur.
Since his fur was tangled together in big clumps, pulling down on his skin, Donna assumed that he was in pain. However, she soon found out that the situation was even worse, as the snow made his fur wet, making it fuse to the concrete.
“This precious boy was found literally frozen to the pavement. After years of neglect, his long, matted hair was full of feces, urine, and ICE,” Stray Rescue of St. Louis wrote in a Facebook post.
Donna immediately crawled underneath the van, sliding a leash over the dog’s neck and talking to him in a calm and loving voice, hoping to lure him out.
“He screamed …But with skill and patience, Donna got him safely into the warm Jeep,” the post read.
The team wrapped the little guy in a warm blanket, got him into the car, and drove him to the St. Louis hospital.
At The Vet
As soon as he arrived at the vet, he was supposed to get a thorough checkup; however, because of his clumped mats, the doctors were unable to do that.
“We had to get the hair off of him. It’s a real process when it’s that knotted up, trying to get it off,” Donna added.
The team of determined vets started slowly combing through his mats with a pair of electric clippers, being careful not to hurt him.
After some time spent at the veterinary hairdressers, the pup, now named Pilgrim, was finally free.
“He had to feel so much better getting all that hair off of him. It might’ve been about six pounds of hair,” she said.
While they were shaving off the mats, the vets noticed an injury on one of Pilgrim’s back legs, which later, with the help of an X-ray scan, turned out to be a broken pelvis.
The pup underwent surgery in order to help heal his fractures and, after only three weeks, made a full recovery.
Being a brand-new dog who was freed from injuries and matts, Pilgrim was ready to go into foster care.
A lovely couple, Taylor and Joe, heard about Pilgrim’s life story and decided to take him in as a foster pup.
As soon as he arrived at his new home, Pilgrim and his new family, who already had some furry members, clicked instantly.
After getting to know this brave pup a bit better, the couple decided that fostering this dog wasn’t the choice for them – they needed to adopt him!
“Pilgrim fits in so perfectly with our family, so we decided to foster fail. He’s a very happy boy,” the couple told SRSL in a letter that was shared on Facebook.
Ever since, Pilgrim, later renamed Oscar, is living the best life ever! He is surrounded by incredible people who love to spend time with him playing, cuddling, and most importantly, brushing his fur!
“He’s living [a] good, comfortable life and brings joy to his family every single day. [We] love this!” SRSL wrote in an update.