A Pug’s Life: ASPCA Gives T-Rex a Fresh Coat

A Pug’s Life: ASPCA Gives T-Rex a Fresh Coat

Ten years ago, a special dog became a big part of Angel O.’s family.

Angel, a recently-retired truck driver who enjoyed watching the antics of the Pug, Frank, in the “Men in Black” movies, found himself looking for a companion animal. So, his wife, Magda, and son, Angel Jr., adopted a Pug for Angel.

Magda’s brother cared for the pup for two months until Christmas, when they presented him to Angel. The Pug’s playful personality endeared him to Angel and Magda—as well as their five grandchildren.

“It was the grandkids who decided to name him T-Rex,” explains Magda. “They were small and all into dinosaurs.”

One of the Family

As time passed, Magda notes, the family needed T-Rex as much as T-Rex needed them.

“We all love T-Rex—especially my husband,” says Magda. “He was initially for Angel’s benefit, but we all adore him. He’s family.”

Good-natured and comical, T-Rex loves to be petted. Though a neurologic issue he suffered previously makes walking and climbing stairs a challenge, T-Rex still follows people around the house and seeks out affection. 

“Whenever you move, he’s right behind you,” says Magda. “And he still gets excited when he sees his favorite blanket.”

Fur Fears

In August 2019, the family noticed that T-Rex was frequently scratching himself and losing clumps of fur, but their usual veterinarian’s office had unfortunately closed. On her way to the grocery store in her neighborhood, Magda noticed the ASPCA Primary Pet Care (PPC) vehicle, which provides outpatient medical services in communities with limited veterinary resources. Magda explained T-Rex’s problem to one of the ASPCA’s Patient Liaisons and made an appointment for T-Rex to be seen by a veterinarian.

“His skin was very irritated,” says Pedro Guzman, a bilingual Patient Liaison for the ASPCA’s Community Medicine team who saw T-Rex on his first visit. “He was definitely losing fur.”

An ASPCA veterinarian prescribed an antibiotic and a medicated shampoo, and recommended changes to T-Rex’s diet that included upgrading his food to include more natural and fewer processed ingredients. 

“The combination of all that helped,” says Angel Jr., who accompanied his mother on T-Rex’s three visits to the clinic. “Within two weeks he was perkier, happier and not scratching anymore.” 

“And he loved the suds,” says Magda, proudly sharing a photo of her granddaughter giving T-Rex a bath.

A Perky Pug

Angel and his family are grateful to the ASPCA for clearing up T-Rex’s skin problem in a way that was easy and free.

“We were preparing for the worst,” says Magda. “You could see the discomfort in his eyes.”

“He has a new lease on life now,” says Angel Jr., who works as a zookeeper and trainer at the Central Park Zoo, adding that the ASPCA staff’s sincerity, compassion and professionalism meant a lot to him and his family. 

“T-Rex’s story is a perfect example of community medicine in action,” says Dr. Lori Bierbrier, Medical Director for the ASPCA’s New York City Community Medicine team. 

“We find ways to make basic veterinary care more accessible to pet owners, which in T-Rex’s case made all the difference.”

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