He Was in the Pits, but Now, Fritz Is Puttin’ on the Ritz

3 min read

With his tangled, dirty gray hair and protruding hip bones, one could be forgiven for mistaking Fritz for an elderly dog.

PETA staffer holding small dog with matted hair

But this little poodle mix is actually just a year old. And once he’d had a bath and a haircut at PETA’s shelter, he miraculously transformed into a bright-eyed young pup.

Cute small dog in purple sweater being held by woman

Fritz’s owner had flagged down a PETA fieldworker—who was in a rural North Carolina neighborhood responding to another call—to inquire about our low- to no-cost spay/neuter services. But when the fieldworker saw the dog, she knew that he was in no condition for surgery.

Small dog with tangled hair gets some love from a PETA staffer

He was confined to a crate without any food or water. He reeked of urine, an indication that he probably spent most, if not all, his time inside the crate. When the fieldworker picked him up, she could feel every bone in his feather-light body.

Once she got him back to PETA’s headquarters and put him on a scale, she realized just how underweight he was. He weighed a mere 7 pounds, just over half of his ideal weight of 12 pounds. Many newborn babies weigh more than this frail little dog.

Adorable small dog in purple sweater looking up into camera

PETA’s vet determined that he was suffering from a severe case of intestinal worms, but that alone probably didn’t account for his alarming state of emaciation—he almost certainly wasn’t getting enough to eat.

Cute small dog in purple sweater takes a treat from a person's hand

If someone can’t afford to feed a 12-pound dog, they probably can’t afford the many other things that dogs need, including leashes, collars, harnesses, toys, treats, flea treatment, heartworm-prevention medication, vaccinations, and other routine veterinary care. Fritz’s owner agreed that the little dog deserved better and allowed PETA to find him a new home.

After nearly a week at PETA’s shelter, Fritz has already started gaining weight. He is still learning what toys are, thinks fluffy dog beds are pretty cool, and is fairly certain that it’s impossible to have too many friends. He buzzes around the office like a hummingbird, poking his nose into every nook and cranny and playfully challenging visitors to mock “boxing matches” by standing on his hind legs and waving his tiny paws.

cute small dog in purple sweater standing on hind legs

If you think Fritz fits your sitch, submit your pitch to [email protected] to get your mitts on this itty-bitty pooch.

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