This is the tragic picture of cancer-riddled Tally just hours before she had to be put down after she was found wandering the streets of Londonderry.
The Golden Retriever’s sad eyes belie the true extent of her pain and the catalogue of abuse she had suffered.
Starved Tally who weighed just 20 kilos — less than half a Retriever's normal body weight — had protruding hip bones, kidney failure, was partially blind and deaf and had tumours on her mouth, side and back.
Horrified Louise Graham, a volunteer with Rainbow Rehoming Centre, who found the elderly dog, said it was one of the worst cases of neglect and animal cruelty she had ever witnessed.
“I have seen some terrible cases of neglect and animal cruelty over the years, but this case questioned my faith in the human race,” she said.
Poor Tally, named by Rainbow Rehoming Centre, was discovered wandering in the Shantallow area of Derry on Friday night after a call from a member of the public.
Ms Graham said: “I could immediately see that she was in a horrific condition. Her coat was extremely matted, absolutely filthy and soiled with her own dirt. In places the mats were the size of oranges, weighing her already frail body down.
“Her hip bones protruded through her smelly, scraggy coat, her ribs were easy to touch under the huge mats. Her eyes were foggy and we thought she may have been partially blind. She was very weak, confused and nervous of us at first, reluctant to be touched.”
Tally was taken to the rehoming centre, where she was fed, devouring the bowl of food but it was not until the next day the full extent of her shocking condition emerged.
“We gave her a cosy bed under a heat lamp, she curled up and you could see she was relieved to have some comfort,” Ms Graham said.
“Early the next morning she was taken to a dog groomer, where she was shaved so we could see the full extent of her pathetic body. When the matted coat was removed it revealed a body far worse than we could have initially imagined.”
Tally was taken to a vet where it was discovered she had no chance of survival.
“Every vertebra on her spine was clearly visible, she had tumours on her back end, mouth and side and lumps were clearly visible all down her side. She was well on the way to being blind and deaf.
“The vet thought she may have suffered a stroke; she had a weak heart, failing kidneys and crackly lungs. She weighed only 20 kilos, 30 being the average weight for her breed. This poor girl had clearly suffered for a prolonged period and was obviously neglected.
“On the vet’s advice she was put to sleep at once, it would have been cruel to keep her alive for any longer. This was the last kind thing we could to do for her. She died in pain, confused, starved and without dignity.”
Ms Graham has appealed to people to make sure animals are given a voice.
“You don’t have to be an animal lover to speak up, help or show compassion” she said. “Please don’t let Tally’s death have been in vain. If you see an animal suffering or being neglected, I urge you to get in touch with your local rescue centre or take it to a vet.
“Although Tally was wandering the streets in Shantallow, she had not been seen by local dog walkers in that area before; she may have got out or been let out from a yard where she was being kept.”
Anyone with information on Tally’s possible owner or any other information regarding this situation is asked to contact PSNI Strand Road or firstname.lastname@example.org or 028 7181 2882.