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Winners Announced for Greater Good Charities and Wahl Dirty Dogs Contest!

Shelters are filled with wonderful dogs of every breed imaginable, each waiting for a second chance at life. While the “showroom new” ones get snapped up first, the more unkempt individuals tend to get overlooked by potential adopters. However, a bath, shampoo and haircut can work wonders, allowing these pets’ true selves to emerge, boosting not only their physical and mental well-being but also their odds of being welcomed into loving new homes.

To spotlight the positive effect that grooming can have on these dogs’ outcomes, Greater Good Charities, The Animal Rescue Site, and Wahl recently partnered for the annual Dirty Dogs Contest for the ninth year. Shelters and rescue groups from all across the country submitted pre- and post-grooming photos of dogs in their care, with Wahl choosing their “top ten,” and finally public votes determining the top three winners.

These “before” and “after” transformations can be staggering, and sometimes tearjerking, as one wonders how these dogs ended up in such terrible states before they were saved. This year’s contest submissions were no exception.

The grand prize winner is the formerly (and aptly) named Scruffy, who won $5,000 for his shelter Lost Fantasy Rescue in Ceres, Virginia. Scruffy was found abandoned on the side of the road and picked up by a passing driver, who called Lost Fantasy Rescue, who accepted him sight unseen. The finder had said that the dog was “matted” – this proved to be an understatement, as Scruffy turned out to be so matted that his fur came off in a shell! As he was being shaved, the extent of his neglect became apparent as a harness was found inside the fur, as well as sticks and other debris.

Scruffy before grooming

Once Scruffy was shaved and out of pain from the matted fur, he became the most loving little dog ever! He was soon adopted into a wonderful home with a mom who renamed him Teddy and thinks the world revolves around him! She is also keeping up with his grooming needs so that he will never get into that condition again. 

Scruffy, now Teddy, looking and feeling much better!

“A matted dog stands a less than 10% chance of finding a home but a clean and well-groomed dog will find a home in no time at all,” says Sarah Dutton, Founder and Program Executor of Lost Fantasy Rescue.

Diamonds in the rough are those matted dogs that adopters walk by in the shelters because [they think] it’s too much work to get them looking great again. However, a little grooming and a lot of love turn these overlooked pets into great new best friends for their new families.”

Second place winner Florence scooped $2,000 for her shelter The Little Red Dog, Inc. in Lake Forest, California. Florence was suffering from untreated and painful mange, but with treatment and a foster family who nursed her back to health, her skin healed and her beautiful fur grew back. For Florence’s new mom, it was love at first sight.

In third place was Patterson, who snagged $1,000 for his shelter Cocker Spaniel Rescue of Austin in Austin, Texas. When Patterson arrived at the shelter, his jaw was broken in several places, and he wore a soft muzzle that left his skin irritated and his fur matted. His first grooming was a delicate process, but Patterson was a trooper and everyone was amazed by his adorable makeover. He currently lives with a loving forever family.

Below, rescue dog advocate Lee Asher announces this year’s winners.