Covered in mange, suffering from severe malnutrition and with claws so long he couldn't walk Hobo was given just three days to live.
Weighing 40lb, the neglected German Shepherd was in such a bad condition vets could only guess what breed he was.
But Hobo has fought back and the 12-year-old now faces the new year with a spring in his paws happy in his new home with animal-lover owners Peter and Val Butcher.
This mange-riddled ball is Hobo after his arrival at the PDSA Pet Aid Hospital in Northampton. Weighing just 40lb, his condition was so bad vets could not tell what breed he was
This is Hobo now. His claws clipped, his coat groomed
How Hobo came to be dropped off at the PDSA Pet Aid Hospital in Northampton in such a terrible condition last summer remains unclear.
Vets there wanted to put him down straight away, but gave him three days to see if he improved.
Student vet nurse Ruth Bates, one of the first nurses to look after him, said: 'None of us thought he was going to make it but we thought we'd give him a few days.
'It was really bad, I had never seen anything like that before and I have been in the veterinary practice for about six years.'
She said the neglect must have been going on for months and months and months.
Ms Bates said: 'We started by feeding him up, he was always happy to eat and that's what gave us hope.
'We couldn't treat him for the mange straight away because he was just too weak for the chemicals but he soon got stronger.'
Hobo was treated at the hospital for several weeks, until he came to the attention of the Butchers in July through local media.
Mrs Butcher, a fan of the German Shepherd breed, said: 'I cried, his condition was so awful. For days I could only think of him.
'We both wanted him and knew we would have the time, patience and love to help him recover.'
Mr Butcher said: 'We do a lot of work with the RSPCA and we home dogs as well, so I phoned them up and arranged for us to take Hobo.
'We got him on August 29 and that's what we class as his birthday now.'
Hobo's new home on the couple's farm in Shillington, Bedfordshire, has seen him move in with an array of other animals including ten dogs, ten alpacas, seven goats, 17 ponies, and 240 parrots.
He has been on courses of antibiotics, skin treatments and painkillers and is now up to his maximum weight of 66lb.
This is Val Butcher who nursed Hobo back to health. At this point the German Shepherd was still in the process of recovering and had not yet reached the level of health he enjoys today
The average weight of a German Shepherd Hobo's age is between 57 and 66lb.
Mr Butcher said: 'At the moment he's in perfect health and perfect condition.
'To be honest now we class him as a perfect dog. It's very rare that he's in the house, he just wanders about on the farm.
'He is happy, perfect to train, all he wants to do is to please you.
'He had never been trained before he came to us and now he does a perfect sit, a stay, he walks on the lead properly. I only ever have to tell him off once.
'You would never know he's gone through everything that he has.'
Mrs Butcher said Hobo still took medication for pain caused by arthritis and antibiotics for his skin but has made 'wonderful' progress.
She said: 'Hobo enjoys life. He is so bright, he loves to help us and he loves to play.
'Hobo is a special dog who has gone through hell but still loves and trusts people.
'We love him to bits and know without a doubt that we are so lucky to have him.'
The couple have even funded a prosecution of Hobo's former owner who has pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog.
Joy Battison, of Orchard Hill, Little Billing, Northants, is due to be sentenced in January at Northampton Magistrates Court.
Here's to Hobo! Neglected German Shepherd is nursed back to life from brink of death | Mail Online