Ellie Mae was encased in a shell of smelly, matted fur that nearly equaled her body weight.

Veterinary staff at the Nebraska Humane Society freed the Shih Tzu mix of the grimy fur when she arrived in their care a few weeks ago.

Ellie Mae was found in the home of her owner who had died. The owner’s family wasn’t aware that the woman had a dog, Humane Society officials said on social media.

The dog arrived in a storage tote because she couldn’t walk or move. The shell of fur had essentially kept the dog prisoner.

“It was unbelievable,” said Humane Society spokeswoman Pam Wiese.

Humane Society staff sedated the pup to remove the matted hair. Veterinarian Amber Horn was concerned that they wouldn’t be able to save the dog’s legs. When the medical team clipped away the fur, the dog’s legs were still pink with blood flow. But under the grimy hair, they also found the dog’s 7-inch claws cocooned in hair, feces and grit.

It’s unclear how the dog ate or drank water.

It took an hour to remove the 9 pounds of matted fur from the 11-pound pup. Ellie Mae later underwent surgery to repair a hernia and for dental work. She was also treated for an infected foot. She’ll likely battle some arthritis from muscle declining in her backside after years of being immobile.

“Once we popped her out of the shell, she was in decent shape,” Wiese said. “She’s totally happy now and sweet as heck.”

She’s recovering well and has a friendly personality. She likes exploring and greeting people.

The dog, who officials estimate to be about 11 years old, bops around and recently showed her prowess by hopping off a curb. Though they’re unsure how well she can tackle stairs.

Ellie Mae has yet to find her forever home, but one person has expressed interest in adopting her. Those who might be interested in adopting the dog can reach out to the Humane Society.

“She’s a remarkable little dog,” Wiese said.

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