By the time Oscar the Miniature Poodle was rescued by the NYPD, he was severely traumatized from a lifetime of abuse. Although his rescue signaled the end of a terrifying nightmare, Oscar still faced a long road to recovery—and it took more than a year of medical and behavioral care before he was able to feel comfortable in a loving home. Today, Oscar is not only thriving in his new life, he is living proof that every animal deserves a second chance. Here is his Happy Tail.
The NYPD rescued Oscar in March 2014. He arrived at the ASPCA with a severe wound on his muzzle, as well as an ear infection and damaged nasal cavity. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Oscar underwent multiple reconstructive surgeries to mend his snout and help repair holes in his palate and sinuses. Although his muzzle would never look completely “normal,” he was comfortable and physically functional. Emotionally, though, he was far from recovered.
Oscar’s trauma left him with extreme anxiety. He would cry, bark and urinate when left alone; he was afraid of strangers, loud noises and crowds, and he did not like for his sides, mouth or face to be touched. It is likely that the poor pup had never in his life experienced a stable, loving home, and we were saddened to see him adopted and returned two times over the course of the next year. In both instances the adopters meant well, but Oscar’s special needs were more than either one could handle.
Our behaviorists spent time working with Oscar to help him overcome his anxiety, and in June 2015—more than a year after his rescue—a third adopter was ready to give him a chance. Her name was Bethany, and she was determined to make his adoption stick.
Bethany spent the last ten years living in California, where a full-time job with long hours made it difficult consider dog adoption. Earlier this year, she decided to leave that job and move to Connecticut, stating, “My need for having a dog is what really pushed me to make the change.” Once she arrived on the East Coast, she began searching for the right pet immediately.
At the ASPCA Adoption Center, Bethany was introduced to a number of dogs, but Oscar immediately stood out. “All the dogs were adorable but Oscar was such a sweetheart,” she says. “I was told that he had high anxiety, would need medication and was a barker, but despite that, I wanted to have a one-on-one visit with him.”
During their meeting, the precious Poodle immediately took to Bethany and was very well-behaved. “I got to see just how friendly and sweet he is,” she says. “You would have no idea that he had suffered that trauma before coming to the ASPCA.”
Unlike his prior two adoptions, Oscar settled into his new life with Bethany immediately. “He’s so comfortable in my apartment, you would think I’ve had him forever,” she says. He goes with her to work every day, and he enjoys long lunch walks and games of tug-of-war with visitors. “People joke that he’s my shadow since he follows me everywhere, and I love it,” Bethany says. He loves to snuggle on her bed while hugging his favorite stuffed bear, and lately he’s been enjoying long walks on the beach.
“I just can’t imagine why anyone would ever have given Oscar up,” Bethany adds proudly. “I bring him to see my 97-year-old grandmother in her facility every week and everyone’s face lights up when he comes in. He really is a dream, so thank you for taking him in, making him healthy and training him to be so well behaved. I think it’s important for people to see that even a dog who suffered trauma and needs medication can be the best low-maintenance dog.”
We are so thrilled that this amazing pooch recovered from his past abuse and is living the happy life he has always deserved. And as for his unique muzzle, Bethany says, “The work done on his face left him with a permanent ‘Elvis’ half-smile that everyone comments on. He’s already such a happy doggie, and now he’s got the smile to prove it!”