Amazing Shelter Dog Transformations -- These Pups Get a New Start

Little Boo was found abandoned on the side of the road soaking wet, smelly and weighing just 2.8 pounds. Because she was so matted, her back legs were stuck to her stomach and she couldn't walk. The pads of her feet were burned from standing in urine. Luckily, a good Samaritan found her and took Boo to an adoption event. A few weeks after she was cleaned up, Boo was adopted to a loving and permanent home.

Of course Boo's situation isn't unique. Each year, more than 8 million dogs go to shelters. And most them suffer from being dirty, matted and without any grooming care. While Maya Angelou famously said, "nothing can dim the light which shines from within," it can be hard for some to look beyond a dirty disheveled pup and see its radiance. Sadly, these dogs are sometimes considered "damaged goods" which prevents their adoption.

According to Noah Horton, director of operations for GreaterGood.org, which works with thousands of shelters, less than half of shelter dogs receive the grooming they need. And many shelters aren't able to groom at all. "First impressions are crucial for adoptable pets," says Horton. "Without question, a clean and well-groomed dog has a much better chance at finding a forever home."

So GreaterGood.org and Wahl, the grooming products company, teamed up with shelters across the United States. Their mission was to show firsthand how the transformative power of grooming can help shelter dogs find homes. As they say, every shelter pet deserves a fresh start. And these dogs are getting them.

For the past four years Wahl has donated pet grooming supplies to shelters. In fact, 50,000 dogs have been transformed. Hundreds of these incredible makeovers are showcased in photos in the Dirty Dogs Before & After Gallery so that people can see pups pre- and post-makeover, search for nearby adoptable dogs and learn their stories.

The most dramatic 10 transformations just competed in the fourth annual Dirty Dogs Contest which raises money for local shelters. "The Dirty Dogs Contest is about all about helping shelters, but more importantly it's about raising awareness for this need that many shelters have," says Horton. "We hope to inspire people to volunteer their time grooming and bathing animals at their local shelter, and donating much needed money and supplies."

To see these amazing dog transformations, click through the slideshow in this Parade.com story. Go to the last image in the gallery to discover this year's Dirty Dogs Winner and watch a video about this pup.

Bobo before and after
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Little Boo after grooming
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Photo used with permission.