By KOB-4

ESPAÑOLA, N.M. – KOB 4 introduced you to 10-year-old “Giuseppe” months ago when his story of extreme neglect went viral. The little guy was matted, sick, and obese.

Then, Española Humane stepped in, and his life changed for the better. Now, Giuseppe is in a loving home, thriving in his pack of other senior dogs. His story could potentially help countless other dogs in northern New Mexico.

“He was just one giant mass of matted fur. He couldn’t stand up. He couldn’t walk. He couldn’t see,” said Mattie Allen, Director of Communications at Española Humane.

They started by shaving off five pounds of matted fur.

“Just to think how much was in that for to weigh five pounds is utterly unbelievable,” Allen said.

Allen says the dog was obese because of a thyroid issue. His lungs were full of fluid, and he could barely breathe.

“This poor little guy just couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, couldn’t see. Just absolutely horrific neglect,” Allen said.

Someone stepped up for him after Española Humane shared his story.

Donna Karr’s gut feeling was right. She took him home, where he’s running like a puppy again, and getting groomed regularly.

“She really likes to take on medically complicated, unsocialized senior dogs, and she just is his Earth angel,” Allen said.

Giuseppe was in the spotlight then, and he’s back in the spotlight again. He made the top 10 out of 400 dogs in the national Dirty Dogs Contest, sponsored by a pet grooming products company, and a global nonprofit aiming to amplify the good. It’s a shelter dog makeover contest.

“It’s hard to see – for people to see neglect and abuse cases and not immediately just want to look away and not hear about it. And this is a great way for it to be in people’s minds without it being an overwhelming sadness,” Allen said.

Not to mention a great chance for Española Humane to achieve a much-needed boost. The first place shelter wins $10,000.

“We use every penny that we receive and are so dedicated to our community and our pets. That will go so far,” Allen said. “This would definitely be the cherry on top of the giant sundae of his life.”

You can vote for Giuseppe in the Dirty Dogs Contest once a day through May 31. Click here to vote.

To see the newscast by KOB- 4 click here.