Benji had lived his life on the streets, and he had never known what it was like to live in a loving home. But that all changed once he was found by just the right people.

Rescue organization Hope For Paws, based in Los Angeles, California, got a call one day from a concerned citizen who had seen a stray dog nearby who was in bad shape. The dog had been a stray his entire life and was terrified of humans, so he would prove to be difficult to catch.

The rescue team found him hiding under a pickup truck, but as soon as they approached him, he took off running towards a busy intersection.

Fortunately, they managed to corner him and get a leash around his neck before he got hurt, but it was clear the dog was scared and untrusting. After a few minutes of calming him down and showing him they weren’t going to hurt him, though, the team managed to get the dog into the car to bring him to the vet’s office.

They named him Benji, and although he wasn’t seriously hurt, he had some of the most matted fur they had ever seen. So, the first thing they did once they got him to the clinic was give him a full makeover. After his fur had been trimmed and he got a much-needed bath, he didn’t even look like the same dog.

While Benji was no longer trying to bite or growl at humans, he was emotionally shut down and showed no interest in much of anything. He eventually let people pet him, too, but he was still scared and depressed.

It wasn’t until Benji started living in a foster home that he began to blossom. He got the chance to play with other dogs in a less stressful environment, and it was there that he learned how to just be a dog.

Within a few weeks, he was running around the backyard playing with toys and wrestling with his foster “siblings,” and he was starting to come out of his shell and learn what it was like to be happy and loved.

Eventually Benji also found his forever home, and he was adopted into a family who will make sure he feels safe and loved for the rest of his days.

Watch Benji’s full rescue and recovery in the video here.