It’s the Year of the Dog: Spotlight on America’s Top 10 Shelter Dog Makeovers

According to the Chinese calendar, 2018 is the year of the dog, which makes the annual Dirty Dogs Campaign even more poetic. The brainchild of pet industry leaders Wahl and, the campaign, now in its seventh year, donates funds and grooming supplies to rescues and shelters nationwide in an effort to transform more than 20,000 dogs each year and better their chances at finding a fur-ever family. Ten of these amazing makeovers have been chosen to demonstrate that a good bath can make the difference between life and death.

“Most dogs enter shelters wearing the effects of their harsh lives, making it difficult for adoptive families to see the lovable animal underneath the matted fur and dirt,” says Steven Yde, division vice president for Wahl. “And while rescue organizations work tirelessly, the sad truth is that less than half of these dogs are getting the grooming they need due to a lack of resources.”

Dirty Dogs Photo Gallery & Contest

Since 2012, Wahl’s pet shampoo donations have helped rescues and shelters nationwide transform more than 100,000 dogs and get them ready for adoption. Hundreds of these amazing makeovers have been captured through the Dirty Dogs Before & After Photo Gallery ( What makes this gallery unique is that visitors can see what each dog looked like when they arrived at the shelter or rescue, and how they looked after they were cleaned up. The site also allows visitors to search for adoptable dogs in their area, learn more about the dogs’ backgrounds and stories and share their favorites on social media.

To promote the gallery and help get the dogs adopted, Wahl is also launching the seventh annual Dirty Dogs Contest ( Ten of the most dramatic transformations from the gallery have been selected to participate in the contest. Public votes will determine the top three winners. The animal shelters and rescue groups affiliated with these transformations will receive monetary grants to further support their efforts. First place takes home $5,000, second place receives $2,000 and third place earns $1,000.

The Dirty Dogs Contest runs from August 8 – 21, 2018. To vote for one of the shelters, visit the Wahl Pets Facebook Page. Winners will be announced August 22, 2018. In addition to shampoo, Wahl offers doggie deodorants and wipes. To purchase Wahl pet products for yourself or for your favorite shelter, or to learn how to groom your own pet, visit You can follow Wahl Pets on Facebook and Twitter.

“A first impression at the shelter is incredibly important for adoptions. Dirty, unkempt dogs will often get overlooked by potential adopters. The goal of the Dirty Dogs Before & After Gallery is to inspire people to volunteer their time grooming and bathing animals at their local shelter, or to donate much needed money and supplies,” explains Noah Horton, Director of Marketing and Development at “It’s amazing the impact grooming can have on a dog’s appearance, health and overall quality of life. And for a shelter dog, it can mean the difference between sitting in the shelter and finding a forever home.”

To promote the power of grooming and to support pet shelters nationwide, Wahl is launching the seventh annual Dirty Dogs Contest. Ten of the most dramatic makeovers were chosen, and votes determine the winner.
Gabriel was rescued along with 58 other animals from a hoarder and was found barricaded inside a makeshift cage all alone. So severely neglected, his rescuers believe his grooming may have been the first human touch he had felt in years, perhaps ever. After a good cleanup, he looked like an angel and was named Gabriel. His named proved prophetic, and he now comforts other neglected animals as they enter his foster home.
Apollo was used as a breeding dog in a puppy mill for seven years. He lived in a wire cage, where he suffered from the summer heat and winter cold and had deteriorated into a filthy mess. Thankfully, Apollo was rescued along with 53 other dogs. After a warm bath, a precious Yorkie emerged and Apollo quickly captured the hearts of a forever family.
Pepper was left in an abandoned home. She was rescued when neighbors spotted her hanging out the window next to an air conditioner crying for help. Left with no food or water, Pepper was in desperate need of medical attention and grooming. She went from horrific conditions to feeling like a million bucks and is now eager to find a family to love.
Buffalo Bill was one of 17 Shih Tzu rescued from a hoarder. He was so matted he could hardly walk or see, but he still maintained a sweet personality. After his grooming, however, he truly blossomed getting attention by dancing around. It’s no surprise he was adopted within hours of being available.
Banjo was found living in a car with his homeless owner. He was rescued after being trapped in the car with the windows up on a 95 degree day. Old injuries and ticks lurked beneath all his matted fur, but once he was cleaned up he yipped with delight.


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