That is so sad.Years ago when I worked in a heavy volume grooming shop we saw this kind of thing often. They would bring a cocker spaniel in once a year. Often thier story would be "fluffy got out and came back like this" You don't know how many times we heard that lie!
Once I groomed a severly matted toy poodle for my local shelter, only to have her owner come in looking for a cat, and could not understand why this little naked dog was going crazy for her. The woman didn't want the dog, but it was clear that it was her dog, by the way it was behaving. The shelter actually let her have the dog back. Nevermind she was not there to find her dog but to find a new pet!