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From neglected to celebrated — a dog’s journey

A once-neglected dog has found a Brookhaven home and a national audience.

Yeti is a Labradoodle — a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a poodle — that has journeyed from being tied to a tree in Pike County with no shelter for up to two years (and not having his hair-like fur trimmed in that period) to being one of 12 dogs in the nation chosen for Wahl Clipper Corporation’s annual Dirty Dogs calendar.

In October 2019, Yeti was rescued from a situation where an elderly woman could not care for him and was in the process of moving out of state. Her husband had died and she didn’t know how to take care of the dog.

Yeti was delivered to Brookhaven Animal Rescue League, where volunteers posted his photo on BARL’s social media.

At this same time, Brookhaven residents Collins and Micah Allen were looking for another dog.

Collins’ 12-year-old golden retriever had died and the family was hoping to find another dog similar to Micah’s American Standard poodle, Harvi Belle. Harvi Belle was a rescue from the Houston, Texas, area after Hurricane Harvey, and was a dog that fit the Allens well since she is a hypoallergenic breed who doesn’t shed and several family members suffer from allergies.

When Micah Allen saw Yeti’s photo she showed her husband, who said, “Just do it.”

“He was everything we were looking for,” she said.

The next day when they met the 3-year-old dog the first time, Yeti acted as if they were old friends.

“He was nasty and stunk and had lots of extra hair,” Micah Allen said. “But he immediately loved us and took to us immediately.”

When they took him home as part of their family a few days later, the malnourished, thin animal jumped up into Collins’ truck “like he’d known my husband forever,” Micah said.

Dogs like Yeti and Harvi Belle require extra maintenance to take care of their growing coats, needing to be trimmed every three months. Yeti has to be heavily sedated and muzzled when he’s trimmed because he hates it and is afraid.

“When he was first trimmed, he lost eight pounds of extra hair,” Micah said. “It took (groomer Donna Brewer Davis) about a day and a half to get him cleaned up.”

It was the stark contrast between Yeti’s matted hair and his clean appearance now that led BARL volunteers to submit his photos and story to the Wahl Dirty Dogs campaign, and what led to him being one of the dozen dogs chosen to be featured in the calendar.

On the December page of the 2021 calendar, “before” and “after” photos of the dog are displayed, along with a brief bio. Wahl also donated some grooming products to BARL.

Allen said Yeti makes every step he can alongside her four boys, ages 7-14, unless her husband is home. Collins even bought a two-person recliner so Yeti could lounge in it with him. Yeti is loving and protective of his family, and watches bad weather through the living room windows with a look that seems to say he’s grateful he’s no longer out there, Allen said.

Perhaps it’s fitting that one of Yeti’s favorite things to do outdoors is to lay down with his back legs stretched out behind him, right in the middle of a patch of mud.

Copies of the 2021 Dirty Dogs Calendar can be ordered at WahlUSA.com. Half of each calendar’s $10 purchase price is donated to Greater Good Charities to further support animal adoption efforts.