Meet Master Splinter – A Blind, Hairless Senior Dog With A Zest For Life

Written by: Kellie Stevens

March 29, 2016

It has been almost a year to the date since Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue saw a certain spark in a small, hairless “lump” of a senior pup at the Shafter Animal Control and Adoption Center. This year, they are celebrating how far this pup has come out of his shell, thriving and inspiring so many to stay positive in the face of adversity!

A recent post on the Marley’s Mutts Facebook page showed a video compilation of the dog (courtesy of their very own Amy Klein), now known as Master Splinter:


Going to bed with Master Splinter and Trisha on the mind. Hope you enjoy this amazing video that our own Amy put…

Posted by Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue on Thursday, March 17, 2016

At an estimated eleven years of age when he was rescued, Master Splinter had spent his entire life in a hoarding situation, kept in a room filled with trash and feces while being severely neglected. He was covered in ticks that had embedded themselves in his ear canals, leading to partial deafness. He was blind. His paw pads were severely eroded and infected from all the time spent in unhygienic conditions. And he had a six-pound tumor related to testicular cancer and Cushing’s Disease that had left him hairless and was affecting his spleen.

Master Splinter

He was taken in by Shafer Animal Control, but seeing as they didn’t have the funds to get him the extensive medical treatment that he needed and no one was stepping up to take him home, they connected with Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue to find a solution.


Marley’s Mutts implored their many supporters to help them raise the money to take care of Master Splinter, and were able to raise an amazing amount over the next couple of months to cover all of his costs. This included a surgery where the tumor and his spleen were removed — no easy feat for certain, seeing as how the size of the thing had shifted all of his organs.

Master Splinter Tumor

(Left) Master Splinter with a large tumor in his stomach; (right) Bear, another dog with a dramatic backstory that was saved by Marley’s Mutts

Through it all, more and more people were able to watch his recovery process and see that Master Splinter was an amazing dog with lots of life and energy in him. One of those people was Trish Ekema.

Master Splinter blind

After adopting Master Splinter, Trish began seeing a change in herself as this little “yamadillo” (as she calls him, a combination of a yam and an armadillo) continued to fight the odds with his zest for life. He was so inspiring that she began posting pictures and affirmations on his Facebook page almost daily to help others see that not all hardships are a reason to give up.

Master Splinter hiking

According to his Facebook page, Master Splinter’s personal interests include a few licks of coffee, sleeping 19 hours a day, and daredevil acts like climbing on the sofa ledge when he can’t see.

Master Splinter asleep

Trish says:

“Splinter’s life now is filled with companionship, love, and adventure. What more could a “throwaway” dog ask for? Our hope is that by sharing his story, others will be motivated to adopt dogs from rescues or shelters and give them another chance at an amazing life.”

Trish went on to create a calendar of Master Splinter for 2016 to continue the positive messages (which have since sold out), and a number of other items such as coffee mugs, tote bags, and tee shirts.

Master Splinter xo

Most recently, Master Splinter has been having a difficult time with his feet due to chronic abscesses which cause him a lot of pain. Ekema has started a “Beat The Feet” campaign to help raise funds for diagnosis, biopsy, and treatment of the disorder. She writes on the page:“Our Splinter has been through too much for one lifetime, and it’s his time to BEAT THE FEET!”

Though only launched two weeks ago, their goal of $6000 has already almost been met by his many adoring fans and supporters! They plan to donate any surplus to Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue so that the rescue can continue helping more pups just like Master Splinter. Trish told BarkPost:

“We are so blessed to have so many people [who] love this hairless yamadillo!”

Master Splinter 2

It’s hard not to smile and shed a happy tear when we hear success stories like these, and we’re so thankful for the special folks that rescue, adopt, volunteer, educate, and inspire others to do the same. Keep spreading the love, Master Splinter! We’re with you 100% of the way while you Beat the Feet!

Featured Image via Master Splinter Facebook

Written by: Kellie Stevens

March 29, 2016