Reunited, and it feels so good – senior Pug Penelope adopted into new family, ends up in home with one of her former pups

St. Stephen – Penelope the Pug just got the best Christmas present ever: she was reunited with her son, Cashy, and is now living the life of Riley with her new owners, Amy and Jeremy Townes of St. Stephen. She couldn’t have found a better home, and in just a week she has become a part of the family. Jeremy Townes said it is like she has lived with them her entire life, and they made sure she kept her original name.

“That’s been her name from her previous owner, and they continued to use that at the shelter. She’s a pretty old dog, so it would be difficult to try and teach her a new name. But, I think it’s cute. It suits her,” said Townes.

Townes said he and his wife saw Penelope’s story with a photo on the Charlotte County SPCA (CCSPCA) Facebook page, and they immediately recognized her as the mother of the pug they already have had for nine years, Cashy. They began following her story, and when Penelope came up for adoption a couple of weeks later, they knew she was meant to be a part of their family. So, like many other people who fell in love with Penelope and her story, the Townes’ applied to adopt the little Pug.

“It worked out that we ended up being the ones who adopted her, and she’s been a lovely addition to our home,” said Townes. “She’s fit in wonderfully. She gets along with our son. She gets along great with her son, Cashy. She’s very affectionate and cuddly. If feels like she’s been here her whole life, in terms of how she’s got on with everyone. It’s great.”

Aimee said she and her husband have received a lot of feedback from people who they have met while walking the mother and son duo. In fact, this is one of the reasons why their family was chosen out of many to be Penelope’s new family. They were well-known for their great care of Cashy, and considering Penelope and Cashy are mother and son, it only made sense that she be with this family.

“They’re reunited and they feel so good,” said Aimee. “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people as we’re walking with them. She’s the little one, so she almost looks like a puppy and she acts like a puppy. People think, ‘oh, is this Cashy’ they think that he is the mother and she’s the baby, and it’s the other way around which is hilarious. She’s this tiny little peanut. She weighs 15 pounds, and he weighs 44 pounds, so there’s quite a big difference. She is the snortiest, snorey little pug I’ve ever met in my life. I thought Cashy snored a lot. She sleeps in bed with us and the whole nine.”

Found roaming in Bayside, Penelope was brought to the CCSPCA on November 2. Her owner was identified, and there were concerns about her health and whether or not she was receiving veterinary care. Unable to confirm she was indeed receiving veterinary care (as initially indicated by her former owner), the NBSPCA made her a ward of the CCSPCA 10 days after she arrived at the shelter.

“She was found 10 km or so from her previous owner’s home,” said Townes. “She was quite sick when she was brought in to the SPCA. They had to wait a two-week period for the previous owner to claim her. So, she went to the vet, and they did a check-up on her. They found out she had an abdominal hernia and a bladder stone. She got a body score of of 3.5 out of nine, in terms of how malnourished and stuff she was. She had some teeth issues as well. Basically, once the two-week period lapsed she became the property of the CCSPCA.”

When found, Penelope was underweight, and her ribs were visible. She had a body score condition of 3.5 out of nine, which meant she was “below average for normal weight range”, according to CCSPCA volunteer Gail Flaherty. Penelope also had some dental issues, and a large bulge on her stomach. She was struggling to urinate, and her urine had blood in it. Following blood work, it was discovered that she had a urinary tract infection. The bulge was originally thought to be a mammary tumour, but after tests, the vet found that she had an inguinal hernia.

Penelope was treated for mites, as well as given antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications to keep her condition stabilized and to help relieve pain until she could receive the proper treatment. Her original owner did not claim her, and it was up to the CCSPCA to treat her health issues and find her a forever home where she would be loved and well taken care of for the remainder of her life, which is longer than originally anticipated. It was originally thought that she was about 14 years old, but after finding some older vet records, it was discovered that she is actually around 10 years old (turning 11 in February, 2021).

“They initially thought that she was 14 years old. It turns out that through old vet records, they determined that she is about 10 and a half. She still has a lot of life left,” said Townes.

It was advised the hernia needed to be corrected immediately, as it can be life-threatening. The option was to perform the surgery, or euthanasia, which just wasn’t an option for the little dog with a spark in her eyes and an incredible will to live and love. She was taken for another vet consult with Dr. Melanie Eagan of the St. George Veterinary Clinic, and it was decided that she needed immediate surgery, along with a spay, the removal of a large bladder stone, and dental extractions and cleaning.

This might seem like a lot for one little dog to be able to handle, but Penelope was a real trooper, and the only special need she will have is to be on an RX food for the remainder of her life to “prevent the recurrence of bladder stones”.

“We had expected that she would take a long time to heal, but she turned out to be a ‘super pug’. She quickly healed and was very keen on getting back out for her little walks and car drives,” said Flaherty.

The cost of Penelope’s surgery was $2,300, and the fundraising began. Flaherty said this story touched many people, and they ended up with enough to cover the cost of the surgery, with some left over which will be used for the care of another special dog.

“Upon posting her story, donations rapidly came in,” said Flaherty. “This little one really touched people. We had people do private fundraisers for her and donate the proceeds, people sending e-transfers and donating on Facebook and through the mail. There was even a couple of letters that arrived, with the envelope listed ‘Penelope the Pug’ C/O Charlotte County SPCA. In the end a little over $2,600 was raised paying for her care with the overflow going towards the care of Miko, one of our other dogs who is undergoing expensive treatment for a heart worm parasite.”

“After nine years apart Penelope and Cashy are back together again, and they couldn’t be happier sharing all of life’s little moments, walks, naps, cuddles and playing,” said Townes. “It’s wonderful seeing them so happy and content together. After persevering through being lost and her surgeries, she’s our little Christmas miracle this year without a doubt.”

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca