TUGG: The Complete Story
Tugg along with Blake and Kim Ovard
“A Hero Among Us”
The sun was setting on a typically hot and muggy July evening, just a couple of days after July 4th, in Fort Worth, Texas when the call came in to police dispatch — a badly burned puppy, that was still alive, was wrapped in a blanket and staked down beside a busy six-lane road.
A single word, dog, was scrawled on a small sign attached to the stake that held the blanket and puppy in place.
Animal control was contacted, and was told a small, male, bull terrier puppy, about four months old appeared to have been badly burned and abandoned. The animal control officer arrived and carefully took the puppy to the animal shelter. The puppy was given food and water and made as comfortable as possible while waiting to see the shelter vet the next morning.
The puppy was evaluated, and to the relief of many, was found to not have been burned. But, while it was good news that he wasn’t burned, there was still a lot of bad news for this little puppy who was left for dead. He had an extremely bad case of demodectic mange — and a host of other infections and ailments, both internal and external. He could not
see because his eyes were swollen shut from the infections and scabs from open sores covered his head and upper body. Because his skin was so thin from all of the infections,
as he would move, sometimes the scabs would open a little, and would cause more bleeding and other fluids, which in turn caused more scabs and open sores.
The shelter staff put out calls to local rescue groups, including both the local bull terrier rescue and all breed rescues. Everyone waited, hoping a rescue would come forward.
In the mean-time, the shelter staff and vet gave the puppy some pain medications,
and tried to make him as comfortable as he could be in his holding cage.
A week went by, but most rescues said they were full and couldn’t spare the room,
or to treat the diseases and ailments would cost too much money.
Some even said that they didn’t “rescue” dogs in that bad of shape.
Time was up, as the shelter was extremely full and Euthanasia was scheduled on that Monday morning. Two animal control officers could not believe that not a single ”rescue”would help this poor puppy and decided that if still no rescue would help by Sunday, they would take this magical puppy home and care for him themselves.
They didn’t know how they would pay for the medical bills, that would be undoubtedly
in the thousands of dollars, but they could see that this little bull terrier had the spark of life and wanted to live. If this little dogs was willing to fight for his life, these two
officers would give him every chance to make it.
Sunday came, and not only did no rescue come forward to help this puppy, not most didn’t even return phone calls. The two animal control officers knew that this precious dog’s time was up, so they filled out all of the necessary paperwork and adopted the
pup from the shelter.
As soon as everything was signed, an appointment at an emergency vet a few
hours later in the day was scheduled. The emergency vet took her time examining the puppy, taking vital signs, skin scrapings, blood work and the like. The look on her face
during the exam told everyone she didn’t expect good news from the test results.
After the exam, the vet went to look at the results. When she came back, she said she had some bad news — she felt this puppy was too far gone and should probably be put down. She said that euthanization would end the suffering that he was having due to his condition.
Putting the puppy down was not an option, if there was a chance that he could get better. The officers had promised the dog that they would do everything they could as long as the puppy was willing to try to get better. It was a promise they would stick to, no matter what the final cost might be.
During the week, the officers and the vet tech at the shelter had tried to softly wash the areas around the pup’s eyes so that he could open them. He couldn’t open his eyes much, but in that tiny sliver of the puppy’s eyes being opened, the officers could see the spark within — the spark that said this bull terrier wanted to live.
An appointment for as early as possible the next day at the officer’s normal vet. The vet met the puppy early the following morning. As he finished the exam the vet smiled, and said the dog had a chance — maybe not much of one, but he had one. That was all the officers needed to hear. The vet said the fight would not be short, and it would not be
easy. It would take a lot of time, medication, love, good nutrition and money, but it could possibly be done. They didn’t know how they would pay for the medical care, but the officers, Tugg’s new mommy and daddy, Kim and Blake, would see to it that this puppy got what he needed.
Before the officers even got home with the pup, they knew he would not be like any of their other dogs. They knew he was special. On the way home, the puppy was named — Tugg, because he tugged at their heart strings.
The first few days were touch and go with Tugg. He ate, drank and went out to do his business. And any time not spent doing that, he slept. Every time they went to check on him, the officers weren’t sure if Tugg would still be alive. The vet had warned them, that the dog might not be strong enough to complete the treatment.
Friends and family of the officers asked for updates on Tugg’s condition as everyone was on the edge of their seat with every passing moment. The updates on the officer’s personal facebook pages seemed to not be enough, so they made a facebook page for Tugg as well. Pupdates and photos could be posted and every bite of food that was eaten, every time he went out and did his business, and every time he woke up from sleeping was celebrated.
That’s when Tugg also got his own facebook page.
There were only a dozen or so of the officers’ friends following Tugg’s progress on his new facebook page the first few days. His daily pupdates included a little about how he was doing with his treatments and a little about what he had gotten into that day, if anything.
Each day was a new day for Tugg, and he saw the world through his newly opened eyes, in a way that was full of wonder and amazement. Like a child wrapped in a dog suit, he also discovered that while he was getting better in the real world, in Tugg’s world, he was also a super hero.
Within a week, the number of followers had climbed to 100. By two weeks the number had almost doubled, and by a month Tugg’s page had almost 1,000 followers from all over the world, and soon eclipsed the 10,000, 20,000 and 25,000 marks. The number of fans increases daily as new fans discover the magic of this little bull terrier.
Tugg’s facebook page is where people come to get inspired, uplifted, supported, motivated and accepted for who they truly are. It’s a page of positive energy, happiness, empowerment, turning negatives into positives and focusing on the can-do’s in life.
There is no obstacle Tugg can’t overcome, and he always tries to see the good in every situation. Sometimes you’ll be moved to tears, others to laughter. Tugg promotes kindness, charity, philanthropy, responsible pet ownership, wuff and social responsibility.
Soon, news about Tugg and his message spread. Because Tugg understands rough beginnings, he created a self esteem and anti-bullying program for “people puppies.” Dozens of locals schools invited Tugg to present his programs and he has also been the guest at many elderly care facilities and children’s hospitals. The Dallas Cowboys heard about Tugg, and for two seasons, he was an invited guest at the Rally Days celebrations
before each home football game.
Tugg has been the special celebrity dog model at the Fashion Group International fashion show and has been the guest of honor at several large dog shows, including the Reliant World Series Dog Shows. In 2011, Tugg was nominated for, and won the American
Kennel Club Award for Canine Excellence, the most prestigious award a rescue dog can win, for Exemplary Companion Dog.
Because Tugg knows many people in the bicycle world, including Tugg’s “Grandpaw” Gary, and Tugg’s daddy, Blake, several members of various bicycle clubs came together and formed a bicycle team named in honor of Tugg and the many hardships he overcame.
Those hardships help motivate the riders to keep going and not give up. Team Tugg now has about two dozen riders that compete at various bicycling rides and races all over
the US and Europe, and has great team sponsors like Rudy Project, VCRC, ROL Wheels, SockGuy and Dali Decals, who all believe in the good that can be spread in Tugg’s message.
Because there were many requests for a Tugg children’s book or comic book, Blake and Kim thought a comic book was the way to go, as the adventure could continue as long as wanted, and to not only tell of his super hero adventures, but to also raise awareness and help rescue animals and “people puppies.”. Blake, an accomplished artist and illustrator for dozens of magazines, periodicals, and children’s books, decided he would handle the art, and both Kim and Blake would write the stories.
Tugg launched his own comic book, with ALL of the proceeds going back to help other rescues. Several well known artists in the comic book community, including Neal Adams, Joe Rubinstein, and Al Bigley all heard of what Tugg is accomplishing with his comic and wanted to help in a way they know how… by donating their time and talent and doing special covers for the comic! Al’s cover graces Issue #1, Blake did the cover for issue #2, Neal did issue #3, and Joe did issue #4. The series will continue from there, but the first four issue wrap up the first story arc.
TV host and extraordinary chef, Rachael Ray, heard about Tugg’s visits to schools and elderly care facilities, his new comic book, and invited him to come on her show so that her audience could know about Tugg’s message to “Wuff it Forward.” Tugg was flown to New York, and taped a live segment with Rachael and celebrity trainer Bob Harper. While in New York, Tugg was invited by the Carriage Horses of Central Park to tour their facility and to take a ride through the park.
The New York Daily News was also on hand and interviewed Tugg about everything he has
accomplished, running the story on page 1 the next day.
Within a couple of months of returning home from the Rachael Ray Show and New York trip, Tugg did what some said couldn’t be done, and opened his own adoption center where he helps those rescues that no one else will help, and who would otherwise never leave the shelter — like he was.
Tugg partners with his vet, and others to get treatment for those rescues, rehabilitates them, and then finds them loving homes, from an environment that is good for the rescues as well as the adopters. The adoption center has about a dozen meet and greet rooms, two large outdoor play areas, and lots of other areas where potential adopters can get to know each animal individually.
Since opening February 1, 2015 to November of 2016, Tugg’s adoption center has saved, rehabilitated, and found homes for more than 1,000 animals who otherwise would not have ever left the animal shelter. The adoption center is run purely on donation and the proceeds from Tugg’s comic book.
Tugg helps children, elderly, animals, firefighters, police, cancer research, Dementia research, his bicycle team has riders and racers who ride in charity rides all over the world, and the racers race in some of the toughest endurance races in the world. What will Tugg do next?
Who knows, but you can be sure you’ll read all about it in the pages of this
comic book series!
And, you can follow Tugg’s daily adventures on his facebook page at:
Facebook.com/TuggBullTerrier and find out all about Tugg’s bicycle
team, his animal rescue and more at his website: Tugg The Bull Terrier