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Adopt a Pug, Rescue an Angel

A "special delivery" leads to some trying choices
Angel & Aczar, my pugs
Published on August 16, 2010 : 2 comments

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It was sometime in the late summer many years ago. Around 8pm we got a phone call from my niece, MiLea.

Aunt Terra, I found a pug” I am sure she called because I had an 8 year old pug at this time, and I certainly was not looking for another one.

Oh I see,” I replied. “Honey, I am sure that she has to belong to someone, pugs are very expensive dogs, she must have gotten lost.” Now my niece lives out in the country, there are not many houses or people around, and “town” is a bit of a  drive. I figured that someone in that very small community must have lost this pug.

MiLea replied, “No, she’s not lost. I asked everyone if it was their dog, and they had never seen her before.”

MiLea, I question, “Where did you find her?”

My mom and I were coming back from town and we saw her running and she almost got hit by a semi truck, my mom said that we cannot keep her, and by the end of today I had to find a home for her, or she would have to go to the pound. She’s a really nice dog, can you please come get her, I don’t want her to go to our pound.” Now, I know Jackie, MiLea’s mom, cannot have any animals with hair around her, she is highly allergic to all animals. Since it was after closing hours for the shelter in her area, I knew at best this pug would be sleeping outside tied to her porch. I could not let that happen.

Okay dear, we will drive out there tonight,” I replied.

Dog Shelters, Dog Rescues, and…Adoption?

My husband Josh and I piled into the car, and drove out to the country side. We arrived at MiLea’s house around 10pm. Sure enough, sitting on the front porch was MiLea with this pug wrapped in a towel whose function, I‘m sure, was to keep pet hair off of MiLea.

One look at her and you could tell she had been lost for a while. She was THIN. The dog wanted nothing to do with me and everything to do with my husband. The car ride home was a unique one as she squealed like a guinea pig. You know that high pitch whistle noise they make? Josh and I just had to laugh. We had never heard such a sound come from a dog before. We get her home some time around midnight. “The pug weighs less than a Chihuahua,” I said. I grab a dish of food and some water, put them on the ground, and attempted to walk by. I have never seen food aggression like what she had. You could not get within two feet of her and that dish: she scared the tar out of my eight year old pug. “WOW,” I said, “We are going to have to work with that, there is no way that there can be a dog in this house that has that response to food.” Within seconds the dish was empty.

Other than the food aggression, which I kind of expected with how thin she was, she was a very well-behaved dog. She was house broken and did not jump up on furniture or anything like that; she has to be picked up and placed next to you. Still, she really did not want to warm up to me, only to Josh.

The next day, I called every shelter I could think of and reported that I found a pug, and that I would hold her for the next 30 days. This way, if it was some poor family on vacation that happened to be driving through or even a truck driver’s companion, it should give them enough time to contact the shelters and claim their dog. We went down to the shelter, had her scanned for a microchip, and nothing. Her picture was taken and placed into the shelters lost/found book. And we waited.

Several weeks went by. I called several times to see if anyone had called in looking for this lost pug, and nothing. Not one call. She was not lost: she was abandoned. I cannot understand the mindset of someone who lets their dogs loose in the countryside and expects it to survive. It’s a long and painful death sentence. You don’t want to take it to the pound because it may get put to sleep, so you torture it to death instead? There are many rescue groups out there, like Pug Partners of Nebraska, and many, many more that are willing to help. There is no need to drop your animals off in the country, in the hopes it will “find” a new home.

Angel’s food aggression was much better after a month of working with her. And we decided after the thirty days that we would adopt her. She deserved a good home, one that would not ever consider abandoning her, or giving her up. A family that would love her unconditionally.

About a week after we adopted her, Angel escaped out the front door. I was at a candle party or something, when we got a phone call. My husband called Ruth, his mom, while we were at one of these parties. She excused us, and we left. In the car, Ruth explained that Angel, had gotten hit by a car (later I would find out she ran into the car)

The World’s Most Expensive "Free Dog"

They were not sure how bad it was. We drove to the emergency clinic where my poor husband had blood down the front of his shirt. He was weeping. My heart sunk for him. We had no credit cards at the time and very little in savings. On top of that, my husband had lost one of his pets earlier and was still not quite over that grief yet.

The vet said it would be $1,200.00 to treat her. She had fluid building around her heart and two collapsed lungs. She was in pretty bad shape. They gave us less than a 50% chance to pull through the night, but if she did, they gave her a 75% chance to recover. Not good odds for a small dog. Ruth asked what we wanted to do. “If it was Aczar (my other pug—czar means equivalent of king in Russian ), I would have to give him that chance,” I replied, and with that Ruth paid for the emergency bill.

The vet told us to pick her up at 7am the next morning and transport her to the Ralston Vet Clinic. She was not to pant or have any heavy breathing as this may collapse her lungs again. We picked her up the next morning and rushed her up to the next clinic, where she stayed in an iron lung. The vet called after two days and was concerned because she had not gone potty. “Either we have the most well house trained dog on the planet, or there is something internally wrong with your dog.” My husband laughed. The vet said, “Oh, she’s not house trained?” and we replied, “No, she is very well house trained.”

So they took her outside, and sure enough, she went potty. Everyone was relieved, especially Angel I’m sure. She spent more time at the vet clinic and was upgraded to a oxygen enriched tank. The Ralston clinic noticed that she had little or no feeling in her right leg. This poor dog had gone through so much. We had only owned her a week, and all this.  

The Little Miracle Pug

After her time with Ralston’s Vet Clinic, we got to pick her up. She was still very weak. And she was going to have a long recovery process. Her leg, they recommended once her lungs were strong enough, may have to be removed. “Was there any other option?” we asked. “Well, you could try water therapy.”

The impact from the accident has crushed the nerves that run down her chest to her leg, and while there is no feeling, its non weight bearing. So, every day, several times a day, we did water therapy at home. We would allow water to run down her leg, we would massage her leg. At first we saw no improvement, and it looked like things were getting worse, as there was a lot of green and purple bruising and a slight odor, not a bad smell, but foreign.

The next week we took her back in the clinic. The vet pinched down with a pair of forceps, and then nothing. No response, no yelp, no movement: nothing. His recommendation again was amputation.  Josh and I looked at each other. There was this feeling, a really deep feeling, that this dog could do anything. That she would walk again on all four. We said we would try water therapy a little longer. Charles, Josh’s brother, LOVES animals. He helped out every day, several times a day. He would whisper to her.

I still to this day do not know what he told her.

That week, we saw a bit of improvement. She was able to put weight on her foot. She could feel her leg enough to put weight on it; her leg was not dragging behind her. It was very weak, but she was using it. We went back to the vet for another follow up. The vet was very impressed with her recovery. He had not seen anything like that before, and he called her “the little miracle pug.” The water therapy continued for several more weeks, and the bruising slowly (really slowly) started to go away. Today, she has only a small scar where her leg still has no feeling, but the rest of her is fine.

Why Angel had been abandoned in the middle of the country will forever remain a mystery to my husband and I. And although she is the world’s most expensive “free dog,” she will forever be a priceless gem in our eyes.

How angels come into our life, is quite a story. In my experience, they are not always people, and many times I find they are animals in need. I also believe that sometimes God has placed us here to help His lost angels find peace. This is the story of my lost and found angel. Please help other angels, by adopting from you local breed rescue groups or shelters, or by volunteering.

LuckyPugsTerra Hamlin


LuckyPugs says:

August 9, 2010 : 13 years 49 weeks ago

LuckyPugs's picture

a true story

Stacey Watson (not verified) says:

August 25, 2010 : 13 years 47 weeks ago

Stacey Watson's picture

Terra, I’m not sure who the Angel is in your story..the pug, or you and your family. Thank you for sharing Angel with us through yoru great post!

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