Emaciated Dog Abandoned Last Christmas 'Totally Different' After Finding Forever Home

An emaciated dog that was abandoned just days before Christmas last year has undergone a significant change in her physical and mental health after being re-homed and now seems like a "totally different animal," her new family said.

Molly-Moo, a 10-year-old German shepherd-mastiff cross, was found by police in a "pitiful state" on the streets of Birmingham—a city in England's West Midlands—on December 20, 2020, according to a statement from the U.K.-based animal welfare charity the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA.)

Police officers managed catch the dog and delivered her to the RSPCA, which rescues and rehabilitates animals, while also campaigning to improve animal protection laws.

RSPCA Inspector Stephen Lee said in the statement: "Poor Molly-Moo was in such a sorry state and looked so sad; when you looked in her eyes she seemed broken, like she'd given up hope. It was devastating."

"Molly was wandering along a busy, dangerous road and I believe she'd been dumped there by someone like rubbish," he said. "She was incredibly emaciated with bones protruding and had a bad, untreated skin condition."

The dog had been microchipped and officers managed to trace her original owners. But when the RSPCA contacted them, they revealed that the dog had been stolen from their garden six years earlier and they were now unable to take her back.

The dog was admitted to the RSPCA's Birmingham Animal Hospital, where veterinarians put her on a special diet—aimed at increasing her weight—and began to treat her skin condition.

Molly-Moo ended up spending six months at the hospital until staff felt she had recovered sufficiently to be connected with a new owner.

Soon after an adoption advert was posted online, 55-year-old fabricator welder John Bebbington from the neighboring city of Leicester and his family spotted it.

Heartbreaking Story

"We lost our Staffie after 13 years together and we weren't really looking for another dog but, one day, we came across Molly-Moo's photo online and we were all smitten," Bebbington said in the statement. "Her face just looked so sad and her story was heartbreaking."

"I'm glad she can't talk because I don't think I could face hearing what she's been through. Our previous dog had 13 years of bliss and we felt we wanted to give Molly a good end of life."

The family adopted her in June, but at first the dog appeared to be quite nervous and confused.

"There was a lot of anxiety initially; she'd cry and manically look everywhere when we were out and about. I could tell she was anxious and frightened," Bebbington said. "Her skin was tough and rough like elephant skin, she stank and there were chunks of fur coming off all over the house."

Molly-Moo in poor condition
Molly-Moo soon after she was found on the streets of Birmingham in poor condition. RSPCA

"It was a hell of an undertaking; we had to bathe her everyday and keep on top of her medication. We had to shampoo her, clean her ears and clean up after her as all of her scabs fell off and her fur came out."

At times, the family questioned the decision to take in the abandoned dog.

"But then we remember what someone had done to her and how she deserved a happy and healthy life," Bebbington said.

Several months after adopting her, the family have observed a significant transformation in her physical condition and behavior.

'Totally Different Dog'

"Now, she's like a totally different dog," Bebbington said. "Her fur has grown back and her ears have healed; her skin is soft. She's also much happier in herself."

"We can let her off the lead and she toddles around the park socialising with other dogs. She's really turned a corner and is very happy, sweet-natured and well-behaved."

Despite her age and everything that has happened to her, the dog still appears to be full of life, according to the family.

"She's an older girl but it doesn't stop her bounding around through the grass; it's an absolute joy to see," Bebbington said. "She never goes far though; she won't leave my side. I've definitely found a best friend for life; and she has too!"

An RSPCA spokesperson told Newsweek that people should consider adopting a pet if they are planning on getting one this Christmas.

"We are already seeing abandonments rise month on month and are braced for a surge of abandoned and neglected animals as pet ownership soared during lockdown," the spokesperson said.

"If you're planning to add a pet to your family, please consider adopting an abandoned or abused animal and giving them a second chance at life. You can't buy love this Christmas; but you can rescue it!"

Update 12/06/21, 09:23 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include comments from an RSPCA spokesperson.

Molly-Moo with her new owner John Bebbington
Molly-Moo with her new owner John Bebbington. RSPCA