They cover his body with oil and run a spatula over him. Five hours later, they can’t believe what they see.

Two young Argentineans were going for a walk in Lanús, a province of Buenos Aires, when they saw something black crawl out of ditch. As it moved, it left behind it a thick, black trail — a gooey kind of substance with a strong odor. When they got closer, they couldn’t believe what they saw: it was a dog.

As they approached it, they made a shocking discovery — the substance it was covered in was in fact tar. This product is commonly used for the construction of streets and highways, but when it gets into the tissue it can be highly toxic. The boys desperately sought help and fortunately came across a police officer who took them to a local veterinary clinic and later to a voluntary animal shelter, Zoonosis Lanús.

The Zoonosis volunteers quickly put the dog in a bathtub and turned on the tap. It was only then that they realized how hard it was going to be to get the tar out of the poor dog’s skin. The viscous material was completely stuck to its coat, and worst of all the water seemed to be having no effect whatsoever. Quite the contrary, it made the material stick even more closely to the animal. How were they ever going to get rid of all that toxic poison?

They started by trying out different cleansers, grease-dissolving detergents, hot water, cold water, and special shampoos, among other things. And just when they were about to give up, they discovered something on YouTube that they hoped might just do the trick. It would involve pouring oil all over the dog’s body and then removing the tar with a spatula. And as luck would have it, it worked! Slowly but surely the black substance was removed.

“We bought a whole bunch of things, we watched tutorials and we tested the effectiveness of each product. At first, nothing seemed to help but then it started to loosen up a bit with oil. We used five liters. It was easier to use our fingers and then later spatulas. After three hours, we had only removed 30% of it and were a bit discouraged, because the hot water was having a negative effect on it,” said Myriam Ortellado, the coordinator of Zoonosis Lanús.

In the process, the small dog, who was given the name “Petróleo” (Petroleum in English), fell fast asleep in the bathtub where he was being treated. Everyone gave a helping hand, including the young guys who had found it in its awful state. It took about five hours for them to see the skin hidden underneath the thick layer of tar. Everyone was exhausted by the end of it, but also satisfied with what they had accomplished.

However, the arduous task was not over yet. Petróleo had also swallowed a lot of tar and the effects of the poisoning were still uncertain. Luckily though, the dog seemed to react well to the medication and was soon eating normally. In this photo it already looks like a completely different dog! Who could have imagined such a cute little fella was hiding beneath that thick, black layer of tar all along?

Petróleo was lucky to have crossed paths with the two young Argentineans who selflessly took the time to rescue it and help bring it back to life. But behind this story lies a harsh reality: every day new cases of animal cruelty come to light. And even though it’s hard to look at some of them, it is necessary to raise awareness and make people learn that animals deserve the same respect as humans. Petróleo is now looking for a loving home, one in which he’ll be able to overcome the trauma he experienced and make a fresh, new start in life.

If you want to see the incredible video of Petróleo being cleaned and treated back to good health, you can watch below:

Posted by Myriam Ortellado on Monday, May 15, 2017

We can all help to do our part in stopping these sorts of things from happening. That’s why it’s so important to report any cases of mistreatment, but it’s also just as important to take care of your own pets and always act responsibly.

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