Senior Pug Was So Medically Complex, The Shelter Couldn’t Tell If It Was a Boy or Girl

Christy Solko of Surprise, Arizona was scrolling through Nextdoor when she saw a post from a dog rescue advocate with an urgent plea for help. The county animal shelter had a 72-hour hold on an 8-year-old stray Pug who had been found wandering the streets of Phoenix, and if no one came forward to foster, they would be euthanized, possibly before the 72-hour mark. 

According to the post, the Pug was male and had complex medical needs. A willing foster would need to have some medical experience and be prepared to care for a dog with ingrown nails, an eye problem, and a large mass on its abdomen. 

This Senior Pug Was So Medically Complex, The Shelter Couldn’t Determine If It Was a Boy or Girl

Christy had never fostered a dog before, but she did have experience with medically complex dogs and currently owned a senior Pug with diabetes. It seemed like an instantly good fit, so Christy applied. 

“I had always wanted to help in the past but didn’t have the time or availability to help. The timing was perfect for me this time,” says Christy Solko. 

She wouldn’t have to wait long—the rescue reached out almost immediately, and they wanted to warn Christy that this Pug’s health was so poor it could become a hospice situation. Luckily, Christy wasn’t deterred, and she headed to the shelter to pick up what she thought was a critically ill male Pug. What she found when she arrived was not what she expected. 

Gender Reveal: This Pug Is a Girl!

Almost immediately after picking up her new foster dog, Christy realized that this Pug was female, not male. Mabel had a large mammary gland tumor, and it hung so low that it nearly touched the ground, and would swing from side to side when she walked. It’s likely that in the chaos of animal rescue work, the shelter had misidentified part of the tumor as testicles, labeling Mabel male instead of female. 

Dog Rescue: This Senior Pug Was So Medically Complex, The Shelter Couldn’t Determine If It Was a Boy or Girl

Beyond the enormous mass on her stomach, Mabel was also suffering from nails that were so overgrown that they couldn’t be trimmed normally—they were wrapped around her paw pads. Mabel was dirty, missing patches of fur, and covered in open sores and scabbed-over wounds. Everywhere Christy touched her, she felt rough, inflamed, and sore skin. 

Mabel was in bad condition—the drive home was uncomfortable for her, and she began howling, crying, coughing, and dry heaving/gagging as they drove to her new home. 

Spa Day For Senior Pug Mabel

When they got home, Christy got right to work making Mabel comfortable. She gave Mabel a nice gentle bath, washing her multiple times with medicated shampoo and conditioner to give her some relief from the itch and pain. To help her stop coughing and soothe her throat, Christy gave her slippery elm syrup, which helps to repair and soothe mucus membranes and is known to be beneficial for dogs with irritated throats

Of course, Christy also started to love on Mabel immediately—she was hard to resist, even though she looked a little scruffy from her tough life on the street. 

“She has the sweetest face,” says Christy, gushing over Mabel. “I can’t imagine how anyone could not give this little lady everything she deserves.”

The Long Road To Recovery: Vet Visits, Surgery & Medication

Dog Rescue: This Senior Pug Was So Medically Complex, The Shelter Couldn’t Determine If It Was a Boy or Girl

To address the more serious issues with Mabel’s help, Christy immediately got her veterinarian involved. Mabel was given allergy shots to relieve her skin of itching and scabbing, and was put on medication for a bacterial infection—both treatments worked quickly, and Mabel’s skin started to clear up. 

Her long, ingrown toenails broke on their own before they could be removed, but they are now easy to take care of, even though Mabel’s feet are a little deformed. According to Christy, Mabel’s feet don’t stop her at all, they just make her a little less graceful. 

Mabel’s eyes needed to be addressed by a specialist, and they discovered that one of her lenses had become detached. Luckily, the solution to this is pretty simple, and Mabel now is on an eye drop routine to prevent the problem from progressing or irritating her from day to day. 

Finally, Mabel’s tumor needed to be removed. During surgery, they also discovered that Mabel had never been spayed and that she had advanced endometriosis. Thankfully, the vets were able to successfully remove the mammary tumor, spay her, and relieve Mabel of what was undoubtedly a lifetime of abdominal discomfort. 

A New Leash On Life for Mabel the Pug

“I honestly feel like her life has been saved,” says Christy, who still has lovely Miss Mabel in her care. “She looks and feels like a new dog—you can tell she feels better. She plays, she eats, she is happy and lets us know about it!”

A typical Pug in many ways, Christy and her family were in for one more surprise with Mabel. 

Dog Rescue: This Senior Pug Was So Medically Complex, The Shelter Couldn’t Determine If It Was a Boy or Girl

“We thought she was just a typical stubborn Pug who didn’t like to listen,” says Christy. “She is definitely food driven. She loves meal time, snacks, trash, her siblings’ snacks…it took us a few weeks to realize that she was deaf!”

Despite her poor hearing, her disfigured feet, and what appears to have been a lifetime of hardship, this now 12-year-old Pug is thriving. Mabel has chosen Christy as her person, and while she loves the whole family, she follows Christy everywhere. 

“If she is napping, wakes up, and doesn’t see me, she rushes around the house feverishly looking for me,” says Christy. “As soon as she finds me she gets so excited—she does this every day!”

Mabel is also learning to open up to other people and has become an official part of nightly snuggle time on the couch with Christy, her husband, and all the dogs. Occasionally, Mabel will lie on Christy’s husband’s chest and gaze into his eyes, almost as if she is trying to communicate telepathically. The message is definitely “I love you.” 
“I know she has been through a lot,” says Christy of her new best friend Mabel the Pug. “On the street, where she came from, in pain from multiple issues—yet her spirit is not broken. She trusts and loves—she is the sweetest dog I have ever met!”

Related Posts:

Shampoos To Keep Your Dog Clean & Fresh

5 in 1 Dog Wash

Oatmeal Shampoo for Itchy Skin

Hydrating Butter - Conditioning Treatment

Antiseptic and Antifungal Shampoo