Recently, an unnamed man was on his way to work when he noticed a strange creature shifting around the end of his driveway. Upon closer inspection, he realized the creature was actually an abandoned dog with pounds of matted fur growing all over his body. Heartbroken by the pup's appearance, he rushed the Shih Tzu to the KC Pet Project, a local nonprofit animal shelter in Kansas City, Missouri.
Since his arrival at the shelter, Simon — who was affectionately named after the Duke of Hastings from Bridgerton_ _— has drawn in a crowd of over 46.8 million people who have viewed his recovery story on TikTok.
When speaking about his case, Tori Fugate, the KC Pet Project's chief communications officer, told BuzzFeed, "We see many dogs and cats that come to us with really bad matted hair, but honestly, [Simon is] one of the worst cases that we’ve ever seen. The volume of hair and weight on his body had to be incredibly difficult for him."
Despite the challenge ahead of them, the KC Pet Project's team immediately got to work and spent two hours carefully shaving each individual matted loc from Simon's body.
"According to the veterinarians on our staff, they believe that the matted hair accumulated over many months," Tori said. "We do not know how long he was on his own, but the matted hair on his body had to be very painful and heavy for him."
After the tedious work was done, Simon, who weighed about 20 pounds upon his arrival, was six and a half pounds lighter.
And now he looks like a whole new pup!
His recovery isn't over, though. Much of Simon's skin was left dry under all of the fur, and a few raw spots developed where the heavy weight of larger mats pulled harshly at his small body. The weight and his overgrown nails also caused him to move abnormally, and Simon is re-learning how to walk without the added pressure. Furthermore, the 11-year-old was recently given a flea treatment, a bath, and is scheduled for dental surgery to correct long-neglected teeth. Despite all this, Tori wants to assure readers that, "Overall, he’s actually pretty healthy — all things considered. [And] he’s getting better every day!"
Simon's story captured the hearts of millions across the US, and — it should come as no surprise — many have flooded the KC Pet Project's phone with adoption requests. "We’ve been keeping track of people hoping to adopt him. He’s on stray hold currently — we have to hold all lost and found pets for five days to give an owner a chance to come and reclaim them — and he’s also on medical hold. Once he’s off hold, he will be evaluated medically to see if he’s ready to be adopted."
You can continue following along with Simon's journey on the KC Pet Project's TikTok page.
"We will care for 11,000 pets in 2021, and work so hard to save lives in our community through adoptions, lost and found pet services, fostering, and much more," Tori shared. "All of the medical care that pets like Simon receive is funded through donations, which can be made [here]. We are so grateful to everyone for their support of Simon and the thousands of pets that will depend on our organization for care this year."