By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY OK – Wrinkles came to Homeward Bound Pug Rescue of Oklahoma in January 2015. Gail Tucker rescued him when she learned that he was going to be put down by his owner. A calm, regal male, black pug, Wrinkles was diabetic and blind. Having saved one of the most devastatingly handsome and loving gentleman pugs ever, Gail loved Wrinkles and was very particular about finding the right home for him.
After 13 years, on September 18, 2015, I lost my beloved Ivy Jane, also a black pug. I was beyond despair. I had never chosen to foster a pug for fear I would not be able to give it up. Soon after Ivy’s death, I noticed on Facebook that Gail was looking for fosters for one week for her “special needs” pugs during HBPR’s annual Puggerfest fundraiser. I thought I could do that – and it would help Gail, the pug, and myself while I was grieving.
When I spoke to Gail, her first question was, “Are you sure?” I told her how lonely I was since Ivy’s passing. She had already found placements for her other special needs pugs and only had one left. I had a lot of questions and after a fairly lengthy conversations concerning all the details, I made arrangements to get Wrinkles. However, work had caused me to have to reschedule several times and Gail probably thought I was rethinking my decision.
Finally, I picked Wrinkles up on the evening of Sept 30. It was dark and I had never been to Gail’s house before. I got lost and had to call. When I arrived, Gail had his medicine, food, treats and a toy set out for me. She went inside and returned with a very handsome, furry gentleman who strutted proudly out the door, through her garage to meet me.
He was calm and reserved. We placed him in Ivy’s car seat and he proceeded to lay down. As I pulled away, he quickly fell off to sleep.
As I had always feared, I was the proverbial “foster failure” and one week turned into a few months. Gail and I agreed that I would be Wrinkles’ permanent “hospice” foster due to his illness.
Wrinkles was such a gentle, loving and sweet companion. Perhaps because of his blindness Wrinkles Roy Shelden – as I called him – was particularly clingy. He always wanted to be with me, touching me, staying connected, wherever I was.
Since I work from home, he was always right there with me and we both fell deeply in love.
Wrinkles adored being outdoors. He loved the sounds and smells of the wind, the birds, other dogs, even cars. He would sun himself and take it all in or sit on the porch in my lap during the evening. He seemed so content just to be with me.
Somewhere along the way, Wrinkles began howling upon my return. He would extend his little neck at a 90 degree angle and croon the most soulful, long, wailing sound. I would howl back at him and we would repeat this duet several times before I would be compelled to hug his little neck and stop the serenade.
Wrinkles had many good weeks, but spent a lot of time in the hospital fighting his diabetes. He was called a “brittle diabetic” by one doctor at Neel Veterinary Hospital.
Wrinkles’ modus operandi of having a couple of months of good health and then ending up back in the hospital was a pattern that would be repeated until his death.
In March 2017, he had to have his gallbladder removed. Then he underwent a second surgery in May to try to debride the serious infection he had developed, which unfortunately was unsuccessful. It was a long and arduous road of hospital stays, injection treatments, blood work, ultra sounds and other tests. But I was deeply in love and did everything I could to get Wrinkles on the road to recovery.
Even after most had given up and the bills were mounting, I fought to help Wrinkles get out from under this nasty infection.
Finally, after further in depth cultures of his infection were performed, an inexpensive oral antibiotic compound was found which I could administer from home. He began the new treatment in August and before the two month prescription was finished, the infection was totally gone. But he had been through so much.
From that point, after 6 weeks of health and happiness, he began to get sick again.
Wrinkles stopped eating one week before he left me. I had seen this before and hoped he would turn around once more. He was a tough little guy who didn’t show how ill he was. His tail was up and he would make attempts to eat a few bites of kibble now and then. His behavior patterns seemed so normal. But on the day before his passing, this downturn was accompanied by a series of seizures. I was devastated and unprepared even though I knew he was so ill.
The decision to end his suffering was very painful for me. Several friends came to my aid. Ivan, my best friend and a member of Wrinkles’ pack, went with us to say our final goodbyes.
I am saddened beyond belief losing my baby. Wrinkles was the best companion anyone could ever ask for. And I will get another pug.
My final thoughts are to say, don’t hesitate to adopt a rescue animal…even one with “special needs.” The rewards are unbounding.
Goodbye my sweet Rinky. You gave me so much love and I am forever grateful.