Oscar was a petite, delightful, forgiving pug. He was a rotund little dumpling of a Pug, with a spirit that was just as sweet as it was relentless. Weighing in at only 14 pounds at the end, his tongue accounted for a large portion of his body mass, his most prominent feature for sure. It hung down past his crooked chin as he smiled. Everyone who ever met Oscar commented on this feature and instantly fell in love with him. The few lucky ones even got a big, sloppy kiss with that tongue. I especially loved Oscar’s round little belly. It was smooth and pink. His velvet ears sat perfectly on the top of his head. Oscar’s tail didn't quite curl up as a Pug’s should, but he had the most amazing buggy Pug eyes. All he had to do was look at me with those eyes.
Oscar's path to rescue was not easy. It has a unique story, and yet not that uncommon in rescue. He was surrendered to a shelter through no fault of his own after his family went through a divorce. Despite the neglect he had suffered spending most of his life living outside, the only family he had ever known had dumped him and now he was alone. A volunteer for Mutts Matter Rescue pulled Oscar from the shelter and he was taken into foster care. There he was able to get used to family life before getting adopted. Things were really looking up for Oscar. He finally had an owner that cared for him, but then something totally unpredictable happened. Just as his owner was suddenly diagnosed with a devastating health issue, Oscar also started to loose his ability to walk due to a neurological issue causing partial paralysis on his back legs. For Oscar, rescue was the difference between life and death, and he was surrendered back to Mutts Matter Rescue. My husband and I welcomed Oscar into our home to foster with our other dogs and he became a member of our family. Oscar developed a very special bond with my husband, who became his “chosen” person. I couldn’t imagine having spent the past year without Oscar and our lives are forever changed.
A very generous donor made it possible for Oscar to get his own wheelchair. He loved going for walks outside and he got to enjoy many more of them thanks to his wheelchair. Oscar also scooted around the house so fast, totally ignoring the fact that he was dragging his back legs. When my husband was cooking, Oscar acted as Sous Chef. When it was time for bed, Oscar insisted that he sleep in the big bed with us. I happened to meet an animal bodywork specialist, and when she heard Oscar’s story she wanted to help him by using her talents. She donated numerous therapy sessions giving Oscar therapeutic massages to help stimulate his nerves and heal his emotional scars. We noticed such a difference in Oscar those first few months. He had become the sweetest little goofy Pug, no longer sad and confused. I know that we gave him the best time of his life because he showed us so much love and gratitude. For several months, the prognosis for Oscar seemed very optimistic. There was hope that this little guy might overcome his physical ailments.
Then all of a sudden, it was like the dam that had been holding everything back suddenly broke. He declined quickly. Oscar couldn't stand in his wheelchair anymore. He had totally stopped scooting around the house. This wasn’t the dog that we had brought home. Instead he just looked up at me with this helpless look and would bark incessantly as if he were calling out for help. I felt so defeated like there was something more I should do, but there wasn’t anything I could do. The neurological mystery that had caused his paralysis was taking over in full force. Oscar’s body and quite possibly his spirit just could not take anymore. He had aged far beyond his years in a short amount of time. After everything, Oscar finally succumbed to the inevitable, to the forces of nature that we are not meant to conquer. He passed away peacefully in my arms.
I am not writing this to bring pity on Oscar, for he was one of the lucky ones. Many dogs never make it to a safe place. Many dogs never make it out of the shelter. Many dogs never know the simple pleasures of a second chance and a soft bed. Oscar was surrounded with the love of a family, a bond with his own special person, and the companionship of other dogs. These are things that he would have ever experienced if it weren’t for our rescue, and a foster home. I may not have a lot of money to give, but what I do have is just the right amount of love and patience for dogs like Oscar. I gave him something that no amount of money could ever buy, and he gave me just as much in return. My hope is that by sharing Oscar’s story, others might be inspired to foster a rescue dog, for it can make the difference of a lifetime to that one special mutt. Oscar crossed over the rainbow bridge surrounded by people that loved him.
."..If we never see each other again.. and you're out walking someday and you feel a certain presence beside you... that would be me.. loving you wherever I am" -Charles Bellow"
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Photos courtey of Cassie Reniers, Reniers Photography + Design, LLC