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Clarke County Animal Shelter - one of our rural Buddies

"We are like most shelters and overrun with cats, our average cat stay before adoption is 6 months to a year. We run on donations for food and supplies, any money goes to paying for our bills, lights, heat, water.... " says Joy, the director of Clarke County Animal Shelter in Osceola, Iowa. "We house 11 cats in our adoption area! We house 12 dogs for adoption at one time! We work with rescues and shelters around us." 
Read the story of Ripley, as told by a volunteer:
Ripley came to us as a city stray and was found around the 400 block of N. Main St. in Osceola, Iowa. Sadly when he came to us he was in a very horrible condition that would make even the most strong of stomachs become squeamish. With fur so matted you couldn’t even tell for sure if he was a boy or a girl at first. The fur was covered in what we thought might be car oil grease as well as mud that made his smell very unpleasant. If you saw his feet they were covered with fecal download-2matter and the toe nails were starting to press into the pads of his feet, where they weren’t wrapped in hair that is.
By this point we were searching and searching for his owner, in hopes there could be some light shed on why this poor dog was in such a state. For all we know he had been missing quite some time and was never able to be caught before now. We really tried to find the owner, but this was with no avail. And the owner for Ripley never came forward to claim him, which in time meant he became a shelter dog. Once that happened Ripley was immediately set up to get a shave down to see how severe his problems really were under all the matted and mud covered fur.
Little did we know at that time what we had gotten ourselves into and what we would find under ever little patch of fur we shaved away from his body. After the first few passes we already could tell he had been this way for even longer then we had thought at first. His skin had red patches of irritation that came from lack of air being able to reach it as well as the fleas chewing away in the same area. When we got the body almost done we tried to work on his face some to help him be able to see a bit better. That is when we noticed that his ear had been split open by a tooth of another dog.
Soon after that we finished his shave down completely and we were able to find out he was an intact male Shih-tzu. It was hard to believe under all that matted mess that there was a cute little dog that always seemed to have a smile on his face. The fur that came off the dog filled up about half of a 10 gallon garage bag, that is a lot of fur from one little Shih-tzu.
Through all of this, Ripley never did lose the smile on his face. And because of this he was quickly adopted by a great and loving family that understood he had a rough life before them and came with a few quirks of his own.
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