Malnourished Hairless Puppy Unrecognizable After Being Adopted: 'Blossomed'

The story of a dog who was found abandoned at a car wash has warmed hearts after his new owner posted the tale on Reddit.

On the r/MadeMeSmile forum, Brylee Powell, 23, from Dallas, shared how she adopted her dog Dobby in September 2020, after he was discovered near the border of Mexico.

"Dobby was found in Mission, Texas," Powell told Newsweek. "A woman named Ashli Garza is a dog lover, rescuer and foster mom. She saw Dobby and knew she needed to help the little man."

Of the 6.3 million companion animals who enter shelters in the U.S. every year, around 3.1 million are dogs, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Dobby the dog
Photos of Dobby before and after his rescue. The dog is almost unrecognizable now that he is with his new owner. u/NotBrylee/Reddit

Found near a car wash, which is ironic as he hates water, Dobby had to be cornered to be rescued.

"Who knows what the poor man went through," said Powell. "Ashli and her team helped rescue him after hours of trying. He was terrified but seemed to have felt some relief after the humans didn't hurt him."

Cane Rosso Rescue—a Texas-based rescue that specializes in sporting breeds and forgotten, deserving dogs that need some extra TLC, took Dobby in. While there is no way to tell exactly what happened to him, the team and his new owner have been able to make a few well-educated guesses.

When he was found, Dobby had severe mange that would have taken months to develop and he was severely malnourished. He is happy to spend time with other dogs but is unsure when it comes to humans.

"He was extremely afraid of humans and still is," said Powell. "He gets extreme separation anxiety when I leave him and takes months to warm up to people around him. He isn't aggressive—just defensive. He is a Velcro dog that has his person and doesn't want to leave them ever."

'Willing to Do Whatever It Took to Help Him'

Powell came across Dobby's profile when her mom was looking to adopt a dog: "She sent it to me, and I fell in love. I said, 'I need him,' and immediately applied to adopt him."

Within the week, she had a call that she could adopt Dobby, but was warned that he was very scared of humans.

"I said I did not care and I was willing to do whatever it took to help him," Powell said. "Dobby and I met on a bench, and he sat on my lap and was so wonderful. He didn't seem scared at all."

Dobby the dog
Dobby, pictured when he had just been rescued after being found abandoned at a car wash, left, and a picture of Dobby with his new owner Brylee Powell, right. The dog has warmed to the fresh environment after a cautious start. u/NotBrylee/Reddit

But when they got home, Dobby's initial confidence faded. He struggled with the new environment. "He was so scared of me," said Powell. "He hid in the corner and growled at me."

Knowing that growing Dobby's confidence would take time and patience, Powell would sit with the terrified pup.

"It was very difficult for those first two days. He was so scared. And it made me want to cry. It seemed he didn't really care to be around me or anyone. I didn't know how to make him feel safe or at home. But I just kept trying," Powell said.

Slowly though, Dobby started to come out of his shell, and eventually, he settled into his new home. Today, he and his owner are best friends. Despite the fact he still needs a lot of love and attention, Powell said that she wouldn't change a thing.

"He surprises me all the time with new developments in his personality. Lately, his new thing is to sit back on his hind legs and stare at me and beg for food. It's his new trick because he realizes we give him more attention this way," Powell said. "He will sit like that and just stare blankly at us for, like, an hour."

Now a big fan of adventures with his owners and playing with other dogs, Dobby has truly come a long way from the terrified abandoned pup found in 2020.

"He blossomed," said Dobby's loving owner in the viral video that has delighted thousands of viewers on Reddit.

"He loves going on our daily morning walks. He loves going to grandma's and playing with his doggy aunts and uncle—his best friends. He loves laying in the sun and sun-tanning; he loves chewing his bully sticks; he loves his piggy stuffed animal; and he loves a bit of ice cream every once in a while," said Powell.

Update 02/21/23, 9:43 a.m. ET: This article was updated to mention the Texas-based organization Cane Rosso Rescue.