A few months ago, Leslie Smith, a volunteer at the Berkeley Animal Shelter in California, started chronicling her quest to help a lonely Pit Bull she called “the barber’s dog.”

Walking by his chain-link fence, she noticed he had bald patches and he was filthy and smelly, but, most importantly, she said he was terribly lonely. When she called the local animal services, the woman on the phone told her she wasn’t the first person to call.


“It’s not illegal for a dog to be dirty,” the woman told Smith. “He has everything he’s required to have. The notes here indicate there are even two doghouses on the property.”

But that wasn’t enough for Smith, so she began a mission to get this dog out of his lonely situation, where minimum care meant nights out in the cold and little affection. She did anything she had to: telling someone who came out of the house next to the barber’s shop that the dog reminded them of her childhood pet, and she wanted to take him for a walk, to reminding new employees of the shop to give him water.

On this first visit, Smith said the barber’s dog pushed his body into the fence and let out a soft cry as she walked away.


A woman passing the fence tells Smith the dog’s name is Fella. Smith brings Fella toys and a bath mat to lay on — all of which are gone after a few days.


After some time and no response from local animal rescues, Fella has fleas, so Smith leaves flea treatment on the barber’s porch with a note saying that she “Had a bunch of extras!”

Smith is also delighted to find out that Fella has other friends in the community, who throw him treats through the fence regularly.

Eventually, a woman comes out of the barber shop and tells Smith the owner said she could have Fella.

Though Smith can’t take Fella because she has three dogs, she promises him she’ll find him a good home.


Finally, Nancy Tranzow, founder and director of Pit Bull rescue ColoRADogs, tells Smith she wants to take Fella, because she can’t stop thinking about him. 

When Smith finally picks Fella up from the barbershop, he hops in her car and never looks back.


When Smith and Fella arrive in Fort Collins, Colo., Fella finally gets the star treatment he deserves.

Now he runs around in the snow with friends.

And gets to wear snoods knitted by nice veterinary students.

Thanks to Smith, Fella will have a forever home, and loneliness will be a thing of the past.


All image source: Leslie Smith/Life With Dogs