DEXTER - 3 YEAR OLD MALE
STATUS: IN FOSTER CARE
PLEASE DO NOT INQUIRE ABOUT THE AVAILABILITY OF A DOG LISTED AS "IN FOSTER CARE".
When a dog is ready for adoption applications, it will be noted under their name and announced on social media.
Foster Update - April 11, 2023
While there isn’t a whole lot new to update on with Dexter, we are happy to report that he is healthy and happy and doing well in his little world of consistency and routine. As long as Dexter has a schedule, is comfortable in his environment and knows what is expected of him he is good. We try not to push him too far out of his comfort zone, so that we are able to manage his anxiety with very few signs of upset or distress. That, however, isn’t how life always goes!
This past weekend, our niece came for a visit and we thought it was a good opportunity to work with Dex on changes that will happen. As much as we can try to monitor his environment, life happens and things can’t always be exactly how we would like them to be. So testing out uncomfortable situations with a trusted person who Dexter knows and loves is a great opportunity to reinforce that he is safe - even when it’s under circumstances that he isn’t thrilled about.
The reality is, Dexter does not like it when anyone new comes into the house (even if he has met them before). He doesn’t like surprises and he doesn’t enjoy change. This is all very unsurprising given his chaotic past. When new people or situations arise he can become anywhere from mildly to extremely stressed out. It depends on the day and the situation, but his demeanor goes from calm and relaxed to hyper aware and vocal in varying degrees. He shows all the signs of anxiety - pacing, panting, barking and a general inability to settle. Depending on what is happening, he may settle in a couple of hours, or it may take longer. We do our best to reassure him, and since being on his anti-anxiety meds, he is now able to hear us when we call his name and comfort him and work to redirect him.
He makes very slow progress, but we notice all of his milestones! Dex is pretty attached to the resident crew of dogs and foster mom, since we are still hybrid work from home for most of the week. He does love his foster dad and snuggles with him regularly when he is home from work, but the default is to be glued to mom who is at home the most.
Foster dad gets up very early for work and goes to bed earlier than the rest of us. A couple of nights ago, mom was getting ready for bed and couldn’t find Dexter. She looked all over the main floor and the basement - she is literally always tripping over him, so this was weird. She went upstairs and peeked into the bedroom and there he was! For the first time ever, Dex had put himself to bed early (all by himself!) with his dad, snuggled with him on the pillow. This seems like a small thing on the surface, but for a dog with Dexter's past history this is a very big sign of trust and love and progress.
Dex has his next vet appointment in early May to have his annual checkup and to review his medication. We are looking forward to the warmer weather, because Dex and his foster sister Mable are big swimmers and can’t wait to hit Cherry Beach!
Thank you to all of the amazing Pugalug supporters who follow Dexter's journey and contribute to his ongoing care. He is a beautiful dog who is continuing to heal, and we are grateful that Pugalug was able to save his life and to give him the time and space to learn how to be a dog.
Foster Update - February 4, 2023
Over the holidays, Dexter celebrated one-year of being in foster care with Pugalug (Dec. 23 is his pugaglug-a-versary) and we took some time to reflect on just how much progress he has made with us in that time. He came to us a very shutdown and scared boy who had clearly suffered some unspeakable traumas in his short life. Over the first several months he slowly started to come out of his shell, showing us a little bit more of what can only be described as a very quirky personality. We knew that he trusted us when he decided he was safe enough to start yelling - at literally everything and everyone. And that is also when we started to realize that there was a lot of fear and anxiety inside of him. That his yelling, pacing, panting and general inability to be still and calm was a byproduct of whatever had happened to him in his previous life.
Over the summer we also started to realize that Dexter had no idea how to play with other dogs. Mabel would try to get him to engage in play, and Dex would either look confused, or get scared and run into one of his human’s laps. He would run and fetch with Mabel all day long, but the moment the situation became about another dog and not a ball, he would shut down. He has now been on prozac for two months, and the medication has been very helpful in managing some of his anxiety and related behaviors. The changes are extremely subtle though, and probably not noticeable to the average person. But for us, we can see that the meds have taken his anxiety down a notch. We can see him building some confidence and yesterday he actually had a little play session with Mabel! She's been trying so hard to teach him how to play, and slowly over time he has been testing the waters. But yesterday they had a full on wrestle and chase session for a couple of minutes and I will tell you - I cried tears of joy seeing him feel confident enough to let loose and just be a silly dog!
Dex had a bit of a rough time over the holidays, and clearly let us know that he far prefers the boring and mundane day-to-day routine over the randomness of new people stopping by for a visit, breakfast happening two hours late because the humans got to sleep in a little bit over the break, and other inconsistencies that happen over the holidays.
We have said it before, and we will say it again. Dexter likes his routine and he does really well when his environment is very controlled and he understands what the rules and expectations are. He is very fearful and nervous of the unknown and while we do try to introduce him to new circumstances, we do so in a controlled and safe way so that he has a positive experience with whatever the new thing is. However, even with that level of care, he will still sometimes respond with anxiety in situations that he has been fine with in the past. An example of this is our teenage nieces coming over to visit. He knows the girls very well, and is usually comfortable with them at our house. But a few weeks ago he decided that he wasn’t happy having them over, and he spent the 24 hours they were with us pacing, barking and having difficulty settling. We think it may have been too soon after the hectic holidays to introduce guests into the house again, and this was his way of telling us.
Dexter is a continuous work in progress, and we aren’t sure what his timelines are. He has a lot of baggage from an obviously traumatic puppyhood and some of his "quirks" will probably be with him for life. He has a lot of special care needs and requires a high degree of attentiveness to properly manage his fear issues. At the same time, he has become incredibly trusting of his foster humans and dogs, and shows so much love and affection to all of us despite his other challenges. His progress is very slow, but we do see incremental progress and that is really good news. Dexter is safe and he is loved, and he is getting the very best care possible.
Foster Update - Nov. 27, 2022
This past month Dexter went to our vet to see if anti-anxiety medication might be a good option for him. Given the obvious trauma he has suffered in his first couple of years of life and the escalating reactive behavior to various triggers that have developed over time, we thought fluoxetine might help him.
Many of his past updates go into some detail about his barking, pacing, and other fear reactions and it has slowly increased over time as he has settled into our home and learned that he could trust us. It’s good that he is comfortable enough to be himself (rather than the shut down shell of a dog who came to us that snowy night last December), but it’s heartbreaking to witness a dog living with intense anxious reactions.
It has been a month since he started his meds, and the good news is that we can definitely see that it is helping to take some of the “edge” off of his anxious behaviors. The changes are quite subtle, but it is nice to see him react less intensely to a wide range of triggers.
Prior to the meds, nothing could distract Dex from the anxiety loops that would present themselves as constant pacing, crying incessantly, or barking non-stop (at what appeared to be nothing). Now when he presents any of his anxious behaviors and we call his name, he will react to our voice, interrupting the anxious response and giving us a window to work with him on teaching him a new way to respond to his triggers.
It’s a slow process, with lots of “one step forward, two steps back”, but seeing even the smallest changes in his reactions shows us that he is feeling more comfortable and less stressed out - and that is a relief! He still freaks out at his triggers, but the medication is a tool that now allows us to actually work with Dexter on his training because he isn’t having full blown anxiety attacks.
Those who have been following along with Dex will recall that he is not a fan of guests coming over to the house. However, now that we are able to get his attention when he starts to pace and bark, we can distract him from the trigger and get him to focus on something else. Our teenage nieces came for a visit and once we redirected him from their presence, he was able to go back in the room with them and was visibly less agitated by their presence. We asked the girls if they could notice a difference in him, and the younger niece said “He is slightly less annoying”. We’ll take it!
We had a plumber over the other night, and Dexter went off on his barking and pacing reaction. But when I called his name, he snapped out of the barking, ran over to get a toy and then jumped up on the couch with me. It was like he took himself out of the situation, got something that comforted him, then came over to the human security blanket. This was so great to see!
We have also noticed that Dex has started to feel confident enough to go over to his dog bed and lay down by himself. Pre-meds he would either be glued to one of the other dogs, or a human at all times. This is very new behavior, and it’s wonderful to see him gaining a bit of autonomy and confidence to relax on his own a little.
While the medication has been helpful in managing some of Dexter’s “quirky” behaviors, he still has what can only be described as deeply ingrained trauma responses that are obviously a result of the abuse he suffered in his past. As I write this late in the evening before bed, he is running across the living room screaming at something I don’t see, but that is very much upsetting him. I can now call him over for a pet, a sit and a treat, and he is thrilled to be rewarded. Progress is great to see, and we are dedicated to working with Dexter for as long as it takes for him to build his confidence.
Foster Update - October 5, 2022
As Fall settles in, we are very focused on working with Dexter to maintain his daily routine. He thrives in an environment where he understands the rules, expectations and most importantly, the routine. We learned a lot about Dex when we took him to the cottage in August, and upon coming home, we found that he needed to re-learn a whole lot of things that had previously been standard practice. Even though our schedule on vacation was fairly similar to home, a new environment threw him for a loop, exacerbated his anxiety and there was a whole lot of regression upon returning home.
Dex has been with us for just over nine months now, and the changes in his behavior have been amazing to witness. He has made huge strides in so many ways - he is no longer shut down, and he clearly feels comfortable and safe with us. He has bonded with and is learning so much from the resident dogs (and cats!), so much so that they look and act like a gang. And he has recently started to feel comfortable enough to find comfort in his foster dad's lap for snuggles and love, and not just his foster mom. He came to us with a lot of fear issues, especially around strangers and men, so his bonding with foster dad makes us very happy.
The other side of his development, as he continues to open up, is that we are now seeing much more clearly the areas where he has some significant anxiety issues. Although we don’t know exactly what he had been through before coming to Pugalug, we do know that he was surrendered for euthanization with a major eye injury that had been untreated for days and significant scarring on many parts of his body. Complex trauma is quite evident with this boy, and Dexter has clearly had a very upsetting puppyhood that has left its mark. And yet, after everything he has been through, the fact that he can still find it in him to trust us and has learned that he is safe here feels like the greatest gift.
We can see that he was never properly socialized, and he is only now starting to understand a whole range of behaviors, commands and rewards that most dogs would have learned at a much earlier age. He finally understands the word “treat” and it sends him into endless zoomies and body wiggles (as well as pre-emptive yelling at the counter thinking treats will just rain down on him). It doesn’t matter if it's a raw carrot or apple, or a homemade cookie, he loses his mind in the best way possible when he realizes he is getting a reward just for being a sweet little man.
The complicated part of Dexter is that his anxiety shows up in a wide range of situations, with new situations introducing themselves regularly, and he needs his environment to be very methodically managed so that his fears don't escalate.
We have an upcoming vet appointment so that we can figure out the best course of treatment for his anxiety. Our hope is that with medication and a strong routine he will be able to help him feel less anxious over time.
Foster Update - August 26, 2022
Since our last installment in the Adventures of Dexter, he has now completed his first cottage vacation! We like to keep it real with Dexter’s updates, and in that spirit, we can tell you that the beginning of vacation was not relaxing and fun. Dex normally loves a good car ride to the park or the beach, but the extended car ride to the cottage had him extremely stressed out. He was panting and crying for the entire drive and I had to pull over a couple of times to check on him, and in both cases he jumped into my arms and pinned himself to me.
When we arrived at the cottage, we got the balls and lifejackets out, and he ran, fetched and swam until he was completely tuckered out. He settled for the rest of the afternoon and early evening and we thought all was well. When it came time for bed, however, Dex got very upset and anxious. He is normally the first dog in the big bed waiting to climb on my torso to sleep. This time, however, he stood near the door of the bedroom and just screamed at the bed non-stop. We have no idea why he was so upset, but he would not stop barking and pacing. I eventually went to the couch in the family room with him, and after a couple of hours he settled down enough to sleep there with me. Not a great start to vacation! By the end of our first full day, the dogs were exhausted from all of the swimming and fetching and country air (and the humans were exhausted from sleep deprivation from the night before!). Dexter settled in the big bed on night 2, and we all got a much needed good sleep.
He did quite well for the rest of our holiday once we got into a routine that was very much like our routine at home. We were able to leave him at the cottage with the other two dogs while we did some sightseeing, just like we do at home, and he was fine with that. Dexter definitely models the behavior of our other two pugs who are both very stable. They weren’t concerned about staying in a strange cottage by themselves, so I guess he figured it was safe for him too.
What we continue to learn about Dexter is that he does not like any kind of unpredictability or change. He gets very nervous and scared about so many things and continues to exhibit full on anxiety when new people come to the house, or when he finds himself in a new situation that he isn’t expecting. While we do try to (gently) expose him to new things to help him build confidence, it’s quite heartbreaking to see him react in fear or anxiety to small things that we wouldn’t expect him to. For example, he will run outside to do his business, but only after he eats. If we let the dogs out at any other time during the day, Dexter refuses to go outside and freezes. We have to carry him out and put him on the grass. He is fine when he is outside, but he will not go out the door on his own. It’s like his brain says, outside is after eating and that’s it.
We continue to be amazed at how far Dex has come in his ability to trust my husband and I despite his abusive and scary past. In the last few weeks, he has started going to his foster dad for evening snuggles on the couch which is brand new behavior for him. This is HUGE progress for a dog that has been glued to his foster mom 24/7. He still continues to be incredibly vocal, yelling and screaming at things for a variety of reasons, but he is starting to understand “quiet” and while he won’t totally stop yelling, he now pauses to acknowledge we’ve asked him to stop.
The more Dexter reveals himself to us, the more we see just how fragile this little man is, but we also see such an incredible depth of resilience in him too. We’ve included a bunch of photos and videos from the cottage and various other adventures.
Foster Update - July 16, 2022
Since our last update, Dexter has had what we hope is the last of his vetting procedures. He had dental surgery earlier this week, and had two rotten molars removed. He is currently on antibiotics and was on pain meds for the first few days, but he is now back to his weirdo little self.
His behavior continues to evolve. His barking has escalated significantly over the last month, and we are working with him on this. It’s been difficult to pin down the source of what triggers his barking - he will often just randomly start barking, seemingly out of nowhere, and continue for several minutes. I cannot underscore enough just how different his personality is from when he arrived back in December. He didn’t make a peep for the first few months. We can see now that he was incredibly shut down and on his best behavior, most likely out of fear of repercussions. As we have said many times in our updates, Dexter’s body shows the physical scars of a boy who has been through tremendous traumas, and recovering from that will most likely be his life's work.
The fact that he is now confident enough to express himself freely by using his voice is, despite being incredibly loud and annoying, a huge milestone. He is clearly trying to communicate with us, and we are doing our best to be observant and diligent in trying to understand what he is trying to say. In some cases it really does just feel like he wants to yell and scream…simply because he can. Sometimes it is clear that there is anxiety involved in his vocals, and in those cases we redirect him to come to us for some pets and love, which is usually followed by him licking us obsessively, before curling up on his mom’s torso for a nap. He loves to scream for his dinner, and he continues to scream when his favorite toys fall off of the couch or the bed. He has a voice and he is not afraid to use it!
We are noticing that Dex does not like any changes to his routine. If his breakfast or dinner is late, he gets anxious and barks a lot. If guests come over, he paces and whines and scatters all of his toys around the living room until the guest leaves. He is much better with visitors when they are outside in the yard and he will calm down quickly and accept pets and love. Inside the house is a very different story.
When we took him to the vet this week, he was in the car by himself. He is used to being with his foster brother and sisters, and when he realized that he was solo he got quite upset. He started to cry from the backseat, and then he gently put his head on his mom’s shoulder while she was driving and whimpered the entire drive. He was fine going into the vet office, but when he realized he was being taken into the back by himself, he got extremely anxious and started to bark. It was very difficult for his foster mom to witness that fear and not be able to comfort him. When he came home that afternoon, he was glued to foster mom, and slept on top of her for the entire night.
Dex is a very smart boy, and catches on to new training fairly quickly. We’ve mentioned before that he picks up skills well, and then regresses and that continues to be the case. With a whole lot of patience and consistency, we know he will continue to gain confidence in himself and the new skills that he is learning.
We are grateful that Pugalug allows foster dogs to be in foster care for as long as they need. Witnessing Dexter’s dramatic personality shifts over the past 6 months is a very good example of why some dogs need longer in their foster journey than other dogs. We learn more about this boy every single day, and we will continue to work with him until he is ready for his forever home. We look forward to Dexter's August update where he will have had his first cottage adventure with us!
Foster Update - June 15, 2022
Medically Dexter is doing well. He will have his dental in early July, and then his vetting should be complete. He is very active, loves swimming and fetching, loves his raw food and all veggies and berries. He is lean and muscular and a very athletic boy.
Behaviourally there are a lot of things going on and that is what the majority of this update will focus on. We see noticeable shifts in Dexter and his behaviour every few days. He has gone from being a "yes man" (quiet and submission) to having a very distinct, strong (loud!) personality. When he first came to us, he was quiet and subdued - unsurprising given his history, the surgeries, the recovery, and all of the changes. Up until quite recently he has been pretty subordinate and the guy that didn’t want to rock the boat. Over the past several weeks, he has really started to change.
He is feeling safe enough to show us that he has a voice (figuratively and literally). He no longer lets his foster bro be the fun police stopping him from playing - he barks back and asserts himself (and they actually play together now!). Dex has been testing the boundaries with the matriarch beagle as well. She is incredibly patient, but he has started to yell at her whenever he feels like it for whatever reason he sees fit. She gives a curt growl back, mostly just annoyed that the new guy thinks he can push her around, and it never escalates. Dexter is feeling more confidence to test his boundaries with everyone in the house and we think this is a good sign of some progress and growth being made.
He and his foster bro (a Pugalug rescue himself!) are now very bonded and they sleep together under my desk all day long and are glued together in the big bed at night. Dexter and his younger foster sis are both ball and swimming obsessed, and they love playing together. The other night she was on the couch, and he kept bringing toys over and putting them around her. It was very sweet, and then he curled up beside her for snuggles. We can see that he finds a lot of comfort in the resident dogs who, quite frankly, have taught him more about being a dog than us humans ever could.
It’s important to note that Dexter is now *extremely* vocal. He was silent for months, and now he literally just screams at all the things. He screams at the cats for attention, screams at the counter for strawberries, screams at dinner time for his food, screams when his toy falls on the floor and he is on the couch. We find it kind of hilarious, but it would be highly annoying to someone who wants a quiet dog or who doesn’t like the sound of a screaming pug.
We are working with him on this and are teaching him "quiet". When we are out at the park he screams for the ball, and this gives us a great (and very regular) opportunity to work with him on "quiet". He's a super smart boy and understands that the ball doesn't fly unless he's quiet. At home though, it's a slower track because treats and food don't seem to motivate him as much as his ball at the park does. The vocalizing has continued to escalate when this past weekend, he began screaming at the back door to open when he wants to go out. And then screaming at the back door when he wants to come in. (And when we say screaming, we mean it. At the park we have had several concerned passers by ask if our dog is ok because his screams are so freaking loud). It’s…a lot. In some ways it’s good that he has found his voice. In other ways, he has found his voice at a level 10 and needs to learn to bring it down to a 2.
He needs work on all aspects of his training, which we are doing. With all of the new behaviours we are seeing, he is obviously clueless in the “manners” department.
We are working with him on his basic commands. He seemed to know "sit” when he arrived but is still learning other commands (like "come". He hates that one because it means he has to leave the creek or the lake or the backyard). He picks things up quickly, but then he randomly regresses and acts like a puppy who has no idea what we are talking about even when we have seen him perform that task regularly. This past week the word “treat” seems to have stuck in his brain. This morning when calling him into the house before work, I said “treat” and he started screaming from the back of the yard right into the kitchen. Great that he knows the word, more work to teach him to be a little less yelly!
We feel like he's made quite a bit of progress, but at the same time we very clearly still see evidence of his psychological wounds. Having our pack with him has been very important and they are always teaching him how to be a dog. He leans on them as much as he leans on us. I can say that I've never had a dog need me so much. He is so funny and quirky, but he is also very much still healing and is very needy.
We are committed to working with Dex at his pace, so that he can learn the skills and confidence that will make him a great companion for his forever family. For now, he still needs time and patience, training, and love to get him set up for his long-term success. Thank you to Pugalug and to all of the donors and supporters who have made it possible for us to save this young boy’s life and to give him the time and the space that he needs to recover from what was obviously a very rocky start to his life.
Foster Update - May 15, 2022
With the weather getting nicer, Dexter has made it very clear to us that the only thing he is interested in doing is fetching and swimming. I say “fetch” but what he actually does is chase the ball with his foster sister, and on the odd chance that he actually gets to the ball first, he then proceeds to run into a wooded area or in the opposite direction of us so we can’t get the ball back. He is always very pleased with himself, though his foster sister thinks this is the worst game ever.
We took him swimming a couple of weeks ago, and he chased his foster sister directly into the water, and then, as he ran in, tried to jump over the water. It truly seemed like he had never been in water before, but he quickly learned the doggie paddle and just followed his sister's lead. When it was time to go home, he kept running back to the water crying because he wanted to stay.
Speaking of voices, Dexter has become extremely vocal over the past couple of months. If his ball or toy falls off of the couch, he lays there and yells at it. If there are carrots or berries on the counter, he sits in the kitchen yelling at the counter like he thinks he can command the snacks to throw themselves into his awaiting mouth. He barks obsessively at his ball whether it’s inside the house or out at the park. He barely made a peep for the first couple of months in our care, but now he is very comfortable expressing his many (many!) opinions freely. His confidence in general is also growing. He is now very comfortable telling his fun police foster brother where to go when Gunner gets on him about having too much fun. He very recently started to engage in wrestling and play with his foster sister as well, and it has been such a joy seeing him become a happy, carefree, noisy young dog.
As Covid restrictions have started to ease up, Dexter is now meeting more people coming into our home. He isn’t shy with adults, and will jump up and drop a toy on a guest’s lap or snuggle up for some pets. He turns into the busiest dog on the planet when we have guests over, but is generally calm and relaxed when guests leave.
We continue to see new aspects of his personality develop the longer he is with us, and have started to work with him on his training for some of these newer and less endearing behaviors. When we leave the house, he is totally fine and has zero separation anxiety. However, when we return (whether that be 10 minutes or 2 hours later) he loses his mind and freaks out that we are finally back home. It does seem to be a bit anxiety inducing, so we have been working on not making a big deal out of us coming home and just going about our business. We are keeping an eye on this, as well as teaching him that it’s not cool to yell at every single thing he wants to get the attention of. He has a very particular personality that some people would likely find highly annoying. We, however, love it :)
Foster Update - April 15, 2022
In our last Dexter update, we reported that he was not interested in going down the stairs and preferred the comfort of being ubered down by his people. We are pleased (and proud!) to report that with some work, gentle encouragement and lots of praise, Dexter is now king of the stairs and takes great delight in running up and down as he pleases (mostly to follow the resident cats because annoying them is one of his favorite activities).
The scars that mark Dexter’s body tell us that he has most likely had a pretty traumatic start to his life. He is sensitive to being touched on his sides or having his harness snapped at his side, though this has definitely gotten better over time. He doesn’t like having his back end petted or scratched. And he didn’t love being brushed initially, but we have slowly worked up to it. We have been brushing the resident pugs in front of him so he can see that it’s safe, and this past weekend he had a bath and a brushing and absolutely loved it. A lot of patience and love goes a long way with this guy as he learns that the world isn’t such a scary place after all. He is still a bit nervous out in the world, but loves his walks, fetching at the park and rides in the car. Large dogs and kids are two things that he doesn’t love, and will likely be on his no fly list when he is ready to be posted for adoption.
Dex will be going in for his dental this month which is a bit past our original schedule. Foster mom has been busy starting a new job, and we also felt that Dexter could use a bit of a break after going through such a traumatic enucleation surgery in December and then a complicated neuter surgery in early March.
In the meantime, Dexter is very happy and settled in his foster home, and thrives in the company of the resident dogs. We truly think that having him learn from our pack has done wonders for his confidence and has sharpened his skills on how to be a dog. He is a classic velcro pug who licks you like it’s his job and insists on touching his foster mom when he sleeps in the big bed (which, by the way, is the only place he will sleep). We adore this guy and feel privileged to be able to have him with us as he gets ready for his next chapter.
Foster Update - March 3, 2022
Our little one-eyed Dexter has had a busy month since our last update. He underwent his neuter surgery, which turned out to be quite the ordeal. As a cryptorchid dog, one of his testicles didn’t descend, making the surgery more invasive than normal. Once the vet finally found his missing testis hiding very high up in his abdomen, they also discovered that it was 5 times smaller than the other one and was also deformed. He also had a small skin tag removed from his upper right shoulder at the same time.
Dexter came home with a belly full of staples and was very woozy from the anesthesia, but after a good night’s sleep he was back to his perky little self. We were shocked at how little the surgery seemed to affect him despite the network of staples holding him together. He was shocked that we wouldn’t let him run around and fetch all day and was quite put out that he had to relax on the couch and deal with leash walks only for a couple of weeks.
His enucleation scar has healed beautifully and hasn’t put a dent in his stride at all. He will go in next week for DHPP vaccination and will have a dental appointment in a few weeks’ time.
We continue to see new elements of Dexter’s personality as he gets more comfortable with us. He is much better with the resident cats and only chases them on occasion when they try to play. He will even snuggle with them if they come over for some love. Since his neuter surgery, he and the resident male pug have become very close and are often found under mom’s desk snuggling during the workday or curled up together in the evenings on the couch. He is also much more interested in playing with the resident dogs and has more confidence in his interactions with them.
Some other Dexter quirks: he loves running up the stairs but refuses to go down them. He’s fine with 4 or 5 stairs outside, however, indoor staircases are not something he wishes to pursue at this moment. We carry him downstairs and call ourselves his personal Uber service and he seems very happy with this arrangement.
We have mentioned his love of fetching in his last update, and that obsession has only further intensified. Dexter’s favorite thing is going to the park and chasing his ball or chasing the resident female pug and her ball. Either way, running at the speed of light is high on his list of priorities and we love seeing how much joy it brings him.
Dexter also loves to chew on his toys, and he produces copious amounts of drool. His little chin often has a patch of drool on it, and while we think it’s hilarious, some folks might not be as fond of his constant saliva production. He is also an incessant licker and will not take no for an answer. If you have skin, Dexter will lick you. We are used to constant pug licking, however, given that this is non-negotiable for him, it’s important for folks to know that this is part of the package.
While Dexter has become very confident in our home, he still startles easily and reacts fearfully to certain situations out in the larger world. He remains leery of big dogs or vocal dogs, loud noises, anything that comes near him too quickly or catches him off guard. We stay away from dog parks, main streets and anywhere that might be too busy or crowded where he might become fearful. As the weather warms up, we will start to work on introducing him to various situations so that he can slowly learn that he is safe in the world and gain the same confidence he has built inside of our home.
Foster Update - February 1, 2022
We are happy to report that Dexter is fully healed from his enucleation surgery and has settled in nicely with the resident pack of foster sisters and brother. His personality is really starting to shine, and he is a lovely, energetic boy who is very playful and busy.
One thing that you need to know about Dexter. He LOVES to fetch. Balls, toys, a bundle of socks, you name it, and Dexter will fetch it. His foster mom bought him his very own chuck it (his foster sister was not interested in sharing hers) and he now happily sprints across the field chasing his ball, over and over. The only snag? Because of his one eye, the person throwing the ball needs to have very good technique to ensure that Dexter sees when you throw it. There is nothing sadder than watching him look confused because he doesn’t know where his ball went!
He had his first post-op vet visit in January where he got a clean bill of health and received his rabies vaccination. He will be going in for his neuter surgery on February 8th and will also be microchipped at that time. After he heals up, he will receive his DHPP vaccines and will also be booked in for a teeth cleaning.
Out in the world, Dexter is still nervous around large breed dogs. He walks well on leash and isn't reactive to anything. He is good with people and other smaller dogs, and greets any guests who visit us with enthusiasm and affection.
He has figured out the daily routine and curls up with his foster brother under mom's desk during the workday and barely makes a peep (though he is a very popular occasional guest on zoom calls).
For a boy that has seemingly been through a lot in his very short life, we are amazed at Dexter's resilience. He has stolen our hearts with his one-eyed charm and toothy grin!
INTRODUCTION - December 30, 2021
Dexter is a very sweet and spunky 2.5 year old male pug who was surrendered to Pugalug two days before Christmas. He was taken to a vet clinic for euthanasia because his right eye had popped out several days before, probably from an attack by another dog. After explaining there were other options open to Dexter, a very kind employee at the clinic reached out to Pugalug to see if we could take him in. We agreed and the surgery was done the same day.
He was picked up by his foster family shortly after the surgery. Because of damage to his head from the attack and because the eye had remained untreated for so long, Dexter experienced severe swelling around his head and chin and down his neck. Foster family took him to an emergency clinic on Christmas morning where the swelling was reduced with icing and IV antibiotics, and around the clock care was provided for three days. An ultrasound was performed to ensure there was no underlying infection and he was discharged late on December 27th.
We are very happy to report that Dexter is now out of the woods and is feeling fantastic! He is currently living with a male Pugalug rescue alum who is taking the job of fostering Dexter VERY seriously; he and his family are thrilled to be able to “pay it forward” by fostering for Pugalug! The two boys bonded quickly and are already playing, wresting and collapsing into a pug pile for a nap.
As soon as he was feeling better after his surgery, Dexter informed us that he LOVES toys. He is very confident running over to the toybox to pick something out, followed by running around the living room showing off his prize. He chases his tail in the morning when he gets excited for his breakfast, and he loves to play fetch with our collection of plush squeaky balls in the house. He was quite interested in seeing his pug foster sister playing fetch at the park, so once he has recovered a little more, we’ll see how he feels about fetching outside.
Dexter will be seen by a vet in a few days for a full assessment, blood work, rabies shot and to get his surgery stitches removed. He’ll also need to be neutered in February; because he is cryptorchid (one testicle not descended), the neuter planned at the same time as the enucleation was ruled out to prevent cross contamination with the infected eye site. We don’t know his vaccination status and will await the results of a titer test for distemper and parvovirus before booking a DHPP shot, if necessary, for about three weeks after his neuter surgery. He does have a prominent apparent burn scar of unknown origin down his right ribs which he will probably have for life but which doesn’t seem to bother him.
Dex is quite a muscular, fit pug. He is at an ideal weight, is very active and curious and, despite everything he’s been through, is very affectionate with both the resident dogs and his foster parents. From here on out, this boy is going to live the life of a king!