Since the beginning of civilization, humans and dogs have had a close connection. Dogs have an instinctive pack mentality, which makes them good companions and allows them to easily fit into the family dynamic. So it’s not surprising that there are so many heartwarming stories about dogs. One dog, in particular, has a story to share that has pulled at the heartstrings and inspired people near and far. Keep reading to find out what this dog did, despite being abused for many years.
Even though humans and dogs have lived harmoniously for thousands of years, there are people out there who wish to exploit and abuse them. Dogfighting is one of the main ways that this is done. This illegal and inhumane bloodsport is held underground for money and sick entertainment. Not only are dogs badly abused, many are killed. Some of the victims of this “sport” are known as bait dogs, weaker dogs used to instigate the fighters. Most of the time bait dogs are thrown away, but occasionally, some of them live to tell the tale.
Oogy is one of those dogs. Police rescued Oogy during a raid. Usually, other illegal activities like drug-dealing operations go hand-in-hand with dogfighting. Oogy was in bad shape when police found him. The Argentinian Mastiff was left in a cage with no food or water and he was bleeding to death. Not only was Oogy bitten and attacked, his left ear was entirely ripped off. Hoping to save his life, the police brought Oogy to the vet. But it was Oogy that would be doing the saving!
Oogy was only a puppy. Because the attack caused quite a bit of damage to his face and head, and he was bleeding badly, Oogy had to undergo extensive surgery. Somehow, he survived the vicious attack. While Oogy was recovering, the Levin family was there to bring their cherished cat for his last visit. The family was obviously sad, but their spirits were lifted when they saw Oogy being taken for a post-operation therapy walk.
Oogy had just gotten out of surgery, so he didn’t look the greatest. He was covered in scar tissue and was missing an ear. But his personality shined through. He was an energetic, lively puppy. The Levins were covered by Oogy’s kisses and he was running around with excitement. The Levins instantly loved Oogy. Oogy fit right in with the family, including the twin 12-year-old boys. Oogy brought the Levins happiness, but he also inspired them to start a surprising mission.
They weren’t sure if Oogy was going to be an aggressive dog, because of his past, but the Levins loved Oogy no matter what. They talked to the vet about it, but he put their fears to rest. “This dog will never, ever, bite anyone,” said the doctor. Oogy finally gained a healthy amount of weight, and even though his scars would never go away, the Levins didn’t see them anymore. Oogy’s emotional story started spreading like wildfire, to the point it was receiving attention at the national level and you won’t believe from where!
By the time Oogy was a few years old, around 2008, Larry Levin and become an advocate to try to end dogfighting. Larry provided a dog rescue group with information about Oogy. Soon after, the producers of The Oprah Winfrey Show got in touch with Larry. The producers heard Oogy’s story and wanted him to appear on their Valentine’s Day show. Everyone loved him, so Oogy began getting a lot of attention!
After the appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry was approached by a literary agent about writing Oogy’s memoir. Larry knew that Oogy’s story was inspirational and he was extremely passionate about ending dogfighting. And he always did want to write a book. “Oogy’s ordeal shows us that we can go through the worst imaginable experiences and come out the other side okay,” Larry said. “We can come out and find love on the other side.” Larry’s book, Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love, made the best-seller’s list in 2010. It inspired the Levin family to delve further into advocacy.
The Levins had become passionate advocates for the bully breeds, including Oogy’s breed, and for providing medical care for those that are injured while dogfighting. Oogy’s book had become so successful that it inspired several rescue fundraisers! Larry even went to many schools to speak to children about standing behind the anti-dogfighting cause. While Larry was speaking to the children, they would learn what Oogy’s situation has taught us. Time continued to pass, and Oogy’s health started to decline because of age, so he wasn’t able to travel as much.
Due to Oogy’s injuries from dogfighting, he was required to have several surgeries throughout his life. Oogy had surgery to have some of the scar tissue removed because it caused him so much pain. As Oogy aged, he had to have more surgeries for common canine problems, like the ligaments in his legs. No matter what was going on, though, Oogy stayed happy. His smile was a reminder for the Levins that even if the world came crashing down, they could survive it all as long as they had love.
When Oogy reached 100 years old (in dog years, of course), he reached the rainbow bridge that beloved animal companions cross over. On Oogy’s last day, he was given one of his favorite treats: a bison filet. Larry put eye drops in Oogy’s eyes, and moisturized Oogy’s nose, put on his warm orange coat, and took him for a ride. In Oogy’s last moments, they were both reminded of how blessed they were.
“(H)e . . . kept our spirits up through the whole ordeal but he’s gone from us. He didn’t suffer. We went through so much together and I can’t tell you how much he meant to me. He gave me the life I have. He brought me joy every single day for the last 12 years,” Larry wrote at the end. Even though Oogy has paseed, his story will continue to inspire all over the planet, as people share his story, and other rescue dogs, all over the Internet.
Oogy passed away two years ago, but his Facebook page still receives loving notes of remembrance every day. People post, photographs, drawings, and other images to Oogy’s memorial. Facebook and other social media outlets have given people the platform to share inspirational stories like Oogy’s. You can find Oogy all over the Internet, especially on YouTube and Twitter. Oogy’s crooked face has inspired so many people to jump into action.
Even though Larry was apprehensive about the bully dog breed, Oogy inspired Larry to actually become an advocate for the anti-dogfighting cause. Larry never expected to become an advocate in his life, but couldn’t help become one once Oogy became a part of his life. Together they fought against dog baiting. They also educated the public about the dogfighting industry, and also raised money to help, as well. Because of his book exposure and his appearances on TV, Oogy started a movement to ban dogfighting. It spread like wildfire.
Oogy’s story even made it to the prison system. They were hoping that people who were formerly in jail would bring Oogy’s story with them to their communities and help end dogfighting. Like so many other societal problems, dogfighting stems from the greed of money. Larry hopes that by showing how loving and innocent these animals are, parolees will turn against the greed and this practice will be gone. Larry likes to underline that humans are the responsible “breed” for dogfighting.
Oogy may not have been a pit bull, but his breed sure does share some of the same traits, like his fast speed, incredible hunting abilities, and his strong jaw. At first, the Levins were afraid of Oogy, and so were others that didn’t know the amazing pup. Too many people have a built-in fear of mastiffs, pit bulls, and other breeds that are known as “fighting dogs.” Oogy’s story is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a dog’s kindness. Even after humans have kicked them down over and over again, most of them would still rather give you kisses than hurt you.