Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A bad hair day turns good

Submitted by Janell Matthies, UAN Emergency Services Manager

After our amazingly good day Monday, the volunteers and animals are still in a celebratory mood. Chatting mingles with barking and yips to make the sound of a happy shelter. We are getting ready to say "good-bye" to some of our new furry friends and telling them all about the great life that awaits them.

No matter how many deployments we go on, and regardless of the number of dogs, each of us gets suckered in by at least one. Tears flow as the volunteers head out, knowing their new friend is going on to bigger and better things. I of course, have been besotted by Phyllis Diller.

Phyllis caught my eye when she was coming in. She had some serious matting issues, causing her to look like she was having a very bad hair day. The bewildered look on her face just added to her charm for me. After looking closer I realized she was so matted on the top of her head, it was causing her hair to stand straight up. She didn’t move around very much and didn’t show much interest in the activity around her. I assumed she was a senior.

Yesterday, after Phyllis was shaved down to the skin, we had trouble identifying her among the three dogs in her kennel. Two huddled shyly in the back of the crate and one crazy puppy was bouncing around at the front of the cage, trying to lick our fingers and anything else she could get a hold of. Only by checking her ID collar were we able to confirm that was our Phyllis. She can’t stop moving now that the painful mats that attached her legs to her abdomen have been removed. In honor of her big hair, the groomers left a bit extra on top.

Seeing a dog go from being quiet, scared and miserable to bouncing, jumping and happy inspires me. All she needed was some attention and a hair cut, and she was in heaven. We can tell she just can’t contain her happiness. She has been dubbed one of our many therapy dogs: the dogs who remind us why we are here. We have no problem working long hours in the dirt, poop, heat and humidity when there is a reward like Phyllis’s amazing recovery.


  1. She did look more like Phyllis Diller than Zulu. Who'd a thunk it!!

  2. Ah hahaha, I remember her. She looks like a different dog. Love the photos, post more when you can.


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