Oogy


This is an incredible story which proves that
dogs are the most wonderful animals!!!
My sincere thanks for the hearts of gold
of the adoptive parents and the Mail Line
staff and their wonderful work!
Thanks also to Ardmore Animal Hospital.



When Oogy was four months old and weighed 35 pounds, he
was tied to a stake and used as bait for a Pit Bull. The left
side of his face from just behind his eye was torn off,
including his ear. He was bitten so hard that a piece of his
jaw bone was crushed. Afterward he was thrown into a
cage and left to bleed to death.

I am not a religious man, but I can only conclude that, at
that moment, God turned around and paid attention. The
police raided the facility, found Oogy, and took him
to Ardmore Animal Hospital, where Dr. Bianco stitched him up,
thus saving his life.

This coincided with the last weekend of life for our cat,
Buzzy, who was 14 at the time. My twin sons and I had
taken Buzzy to AAH for his last visit. The staff had taken
Buzzy in when out comes this pup that looked like nothing
more than a gargoyle. He covered us with kisses. The boys
and I fell instantly in love with him.

Life goes out one door and in another. "This is one of the
happiest dogs I've ever met," Dr. Bianco said. "I can't
imagine what he'd be like if half his face hadn't been ripped
off." Then, Dr. B said, "I am not going to tell you the things
this dog has been through." Dr. B's assistant, Diane, took
Oogy into her home for several weeks to foster him and
make sure he was safe and to crate-train him.

Once Oogy came into our house, for my sons, then 12,
it was like having a little brother. Whatever they did and
wherever they went, there was Oogy. Oogy had to get
involved in whatever the lads were doing. He became
known as The Third Twin.

Dr. B thought Oogy was a Pit or Pit-mix and would get to be
about 45 pounds. By the time of his first check-up, Oogy
weighed 70 pounds. When we walked in the door for the
visit, one of the women who works at AAH exclaimed,
"That's a Dogo!"

I asked, "What's a Dogo?"

She said, "I'm not sure."

We went on-line and learned that the Dogo Argentina is
bred in Argentina to hunt mountain lion and boar. Oogy can
run about 30 miles an hour, all four legs off the ground like a
Greyhound. His leg muscles are so strong that when he
sits, his butt is a half-inch off the ground. Dogos hunt in
packs. Dogos hurl themselves against their prey and swarm it.

Oogy has a neck like a fire hydrant to protect him when he
closes on his prey. He is built like a Pit Bull on steroids, with
white fur as soft as butter and black freckles. Fully grown,
Oogy is 85 pounds of solid muscle but he does not know this
and sits on us. He absolutely craves physical contact. He is
full of kisses and chuffs like a steam engine when he is
happy. He has a heart as big as all outdoors. One of the
traits of the breed is that they fully accept anyone their
family accepts. It is not unusual to come home and find
three teenagers on the floor playing a video game with
Oogy sprawled across their laps like some living boa.

Oogy hated the crate and would bark and bark whenever
we put him in. This puzzled me because I had been told by
people with crate-trained dogs that their pets love the
crate and feel secure within its confines.

When Oogy was about eight months old, we hired a trainer
who also happened to be an animal 'whisperer'. We
introduced her to Oogy and she sat on the floor for a full
five minutes talking to him. We could not hear a word she
said. When the trainer lifted her head, her eyes were
brimming with tears. "Oogy wants you to know," she said,
"how much he appreciates the love and respect you have
shown him." Then she asked about his routine. I started by
showing her where he slept in the crate. She said
immediately, "You have to get him out of that box."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because he associates being in a box with having his ear
ripped off." It was a smack-myself-in-the-forehead moment.
Oogy never went back in.

Given what Oogy endured and what he is bred for, people
are constantly astonished that he loves animals and people
as much as he does. Walking with Oogy is like walking with
a mayoral candidate. He has to meet everyone. A number of
people we encountered in the neighborhood early on told
me they were afraid of Oogy because, when they would
walk or jog by the house, Oogy would bark at them and trot
parallel to them and, given his size and looks, well, everyone
falls in love with Oogy. By the end of their initial encounter
they are rubbing, petting, even kissing him on the nose.
Oogy kisses them back. Because of the way he looks, when
people meet him for the first time they almost always ask if
he is safe. I tell them, "Well, he has licked two people
to death."

For the first year and a half of his life, part of Oogy's face
was normal and the other part looked like a burn victim's.
People who saw him in passing could not grasp the duality.
As Oogy grew, the scar tissue spread. He could not close
his left eye so it wept constantly; his lip was pulled up and
back. Dr. B said Oogy was in constant pain. So, in January
2005, Dr. B rebuilt Oogy's face. When all the scar tissue was
removed, there was a hole in Oogy's head the size of a
softball. After removing the scar tissue, Dr. B took grafts
and pulled the flaps together and sewed Oogy back up. Now
Oogy has a hairline scar but, other than that, looks just like
any normal one-eared dog.

An essential part of this story is the fact that AAH has
never taken a dime in payment for anything they have done
for Oogy. I never asked them for such an arrangement.
When I went to pay the first bill I was told, "Oogy's a
no-pay." I never asked why. Oogy is their dog. We are just
lucky enough to look after him.

Because some of his jaw bone was removed in the initial
surgery, some of Oogy's lower left lip droops and is a
repository for dust and dirt. It is second nature to us to pull
the detritus off his lip when we sit next to him. One day I
told my sons that when they tell their children about Oogy,
they will remember this routine act of kindness. I think that,
on some level, every day we try to atone for what
happened to him.

Last summer Oogy had ACL surgery; his body ultimately
rejected the steel plates and developed an infection so his
leg had to be opened up a second time and the plates
removed. When I went to pick him up following the second
surgery, the technician who brought Oogy out said, "This is
a great dog, I really love him."

I said, "Yep, we're lucky to have him."

When I related that story to Dr. B he said, "But we already
knew that."

Oogy's name is a derivative. The first day I was told we
could adopt him I was thinking, "This is one ugly dog." But we
couldn't call him Ugly. Then I went to a variation of that
from my youth, 'Oogly,' and his name followed immediately.
Two years after we named him, we learned that Oogy is the
name of the Ghost Dog in the film "The Nightmare Before
Christmas". This is not inappropriate.

On a recent Saturday afternoon Oogy was curled up on the
couch asleep, his head in my lap, and I was thinking about
his life now as opposed to the way his life had been before.
Would he have sensed he was dying? Was he conscious
when the police put him on a rubber sheet and took him to
the Ardmore Animal Hospital? Oogy went to sleep in a
world of terror and searing pain and awoke surrounded by
angels in white coats who were kind to him, who stroked
him gently, and talked softly to him. Instead
of people who baited and beat and kicked him; he was
surrounded with healing mercies. I realized then that Oogy
probably did not know he had not died and gone to heaven.
So I told him. I said, "Listen pal. It only gets better
after this."


This incredible dog now lives on the Main Line with
his adoptive family, Larry and Jennifer and their
twin sons, Noah and Dan. Noah and Dan are
pictured here in the above photograph with Oogy.
Main Line Animal Rescue would like to thank Larry,
Oogy's proud father, for sharing his story and
helping us educate people to the torture that some
animals go thru.

Made with love August 15, 2008.



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