A very astute reader was able to identify the mystery dog from Saturday’s PhoBlog. I knew it was a great story but had lost my links and couldn’t remember his name. Well, she found him and I’m grateful to bring you this happy ending…
A DOG STORY
Oogy is not a horse. So, you may be wondering how a dog story fits into an equine blog…
Well, it doesn’t, really. But, I think ‘human kindness to all things’ fits here. So, this is a story about human kindness. And, truly, with all the sad stories about horses, it is nice to read something that lifts the heart.
I have attached the story below. But in short, when he was a puppy, Oogy was tied to a stake and used as a bait dog to train fighting dogs. His skull was smashed and his ear torn off. Part of his jaw went missing. He was then thrown into a cage to die.
When the police raided the place (Thank God), Oogy was brought to the nearby animal hospital. The rest is history…
I’m cutting and pasting this exactly as it was written… (except I added some photos from Oogy’s FB page).
Main Line Animal Rescue
Saturday, December 04, 2010
The Third Twin
When Oogy was four months old and weighed thirty five 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 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 and saved him. This coincided with the last weekend of life for our cat, Buzzy, who was 14 at the tine. My sons and I had taken Buzzy to AAH for his last visit. The staff had gathered Buzzy in when out comes this pup to be walked 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 does. It is not unusual to come home and find three teenagers on the floor playing a video game and 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 in 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 want 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?” “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 … But 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 this is. 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 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”. The Tech looked at me and said, “No, you don’t understand. I see hundreds of dogs each week, and every once in awhile there is a special one. And you 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 is 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 horrors of dog-fighting.
I found this on You Tube.
Here is the link to his book on Amazon. It just came out. I haven’t read it but I’m guessing it would be an inspirational holiday gift!
THE DOGO BREED
I was interested in Oogy’s breed since I had never heard of it. So, I googled and came up with this little article. Also, there are several photos of smiling and happy Dogos! I couldn’t resist this puppy photo. Anyway, here is the Dogo story!
Place of Origin: Argentina
Date of Origin: 1920s
Average Size of Male: Height: 24 – 27 inches, Weight: 80 – 100 pounds
Average Size of Female: Height: 24 – 27 inches, Weight: 80 – 100 pounds
Original Function: pack hunter, guard dog
Primary Current Function: guard dog, watch dog, police dog
Other name: Argentinian Mastiff, Dogo Argentino
History of the Argentine Dogo Breed
As the name suggests, this breed originated in Argentina. The Argentine Dogo was apparently developed in the 1920s by a doctor who desired a dog that was adept at pack hunting and also provided protection for the family. Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez began the development of this breed with the Dog of Cordoba, a breed that is now extinct. This dog was thought to be of Mastiff origins. Martinez further developed the Argentine Dogo by crossing the Dog of Cordoba with many other breeds, such as the Irish Wolfhound, the Pointer, the Bull terrier, the Dogue de Bordeaux, the Great Dane, the Spanish Mastiff, the Boxer, the Bulldog, and the Great Pyrenees. The result of this great mix produced a fearless breed that was capable of hunting big game. The Argentine Dogo also enjoyed popularity as a family guard dog and a guide dog, and it was also successfully used in police and military endeavors. Unfortunately the breed also gained favor with those who were involved with the “sport” of dog fighting, which resulted in a negative reputation in some parts of the world. In fact, in Britain, the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 banned three breeds of canine including the Argentine Dogo.
Size and Appearance of the Argentine Dogo Breed
A muscular dog of Mastiff proportions, the Argentine Dogo is known for its strong jaws and unique coat. The main feature of the large skull is the tenacious grip of the jaw. The teeth normally meet in a scissors bite, and the nose of this breed is generally black. Many times owners choose to dock the ears. The dark eyes are usually brown or hazel in color, and they offer an intelligent and intense expression. It is interesting to note that the skin at the neck of this breed is loose in order to help protect this breed from injury during hunting. The Argentine Dogo has a long tail that is often carried high while on the move. The short coat is thick and glossy, and it only comes in white.
Argentine Dogo Temperament
While considered to be both playful and intelligent, the Argentine Dogo is also a wonderful guard dog. It may be reserved with strangers until it knows who is accepted by the family. It is generally quite good with children. However, it can be aggressive with other dogs, although it usually won’t be an instigator. If socialized from an early age, this breed can co-exist well with other pets in the family. Due to its intelligence, this breed is fairly easy to train, particularly with consistent, firm training. This breed can excel as a guide dog for the blind, if properly trained.
Argentine Dogo Recommended Maintenance
While the short coat is quite easy to maintain, please note that the skin of this breed is quite sensitive to the sun. Be sure to provide shade for the dog if it will be outside for a long time. It is said that this dog does not have a “doggy odor.” To keep the coat in top condition, weekly grooming is suggested. Be sure to use shampoos specially made for sensitive skin or white coats when bathing. The nails of this breed tend to grow quickly, so be sure to trim on a regular basis. The Argentine Dogo is considered to be an average shedder. This breed is also known to drool. While this breed will do fine in an apartment dwelling if plenty of exercise is provided, a large yard with room to run and plenty of shade is highly recommended. It is important to keep the dog inside when the temperature outside is below freezing. This breed also loves to spend time indoors with its family. It will enjoy a long daily walk as part of its exercise regimen.
Argentine Dogo Health
Life span: 10-12 years
Major concerns: about 10% of dogs are born deaf
Minor concerns: None
Occasionally seen: None
Suggested tests: hearing
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