Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love

Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love****.*

by Larry Levin

I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.

This week’s letter assignment is O in Mrs. Matlock’s class, so I’m sharing Oogy’s story for Alphabe-Thursday~

“In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen–one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue–ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy’s charms, and decided to take him home.”

“Oogy”an affectionate derivative of “ugly”, is a heartwarming tail for dog lovers, or for those who simply enjoy pulling for the underdog.

I’m a sucker for dog stories, especially those with a happy ending, which I’m relieved to report is the case for Oogy despite his rocky beginning. I’m always anxious to know before getting emotionally involved & spending hours in a book if the animals or dogs fare well. This was a quick read and one I enjoyed and began with not a little trepidation.

The sad and ugly truth and facts of dog fighting and ‘bait’ for those fights~ any animal and often cats~ that can be found through ‘free to good home’ ads, strays, kidnapping, etc. is simply too horrific & hard for me to wrap my brain around.I think you’ll find, “the dog only a family could love” is one that you will love too.

Oogy spends his mornings keeping the boys & dad company during their routines of getting ready for school & making breakfast. He eats his kibble while the twins enjoy their breakfast of pancakes. . .

“He continued to heal and then began to flourish. His condition and the cruelty he had endured produced a heartfelt, deeply caring reaction among the hospital staff. His happy, affectionate nature was seemingly more pronounced because of the horror he had undergone.”

“The fact that a brutalized, mutilated pup had so immediately and so completely reposed his trust in us made all of us feel that we had been rewarded. He was one of us.”

Besides Pancakes, Food for Thought was plentiful, although not in the traditional sense. . .

“In his first six months with us, in addition to chewing up the futon couch, Oogy gnawed the middle out of the seat cushions of the two camelback sofas in the living room. He bit the eraser off any pencil he could find and would climb onto tables and desks to get at them. The decapitated pencils were left where they had fallen. He at a pair of my glasses. He chewed apart a wooden drawer in the kitchen. He ruined videotapes, countless CDs and CD cases, pens, crayons, and markers. He broke though every screen on every door in the house and scratched the paint off the doors when he wanted to get out. He ate the antennae off every landline telephone in the house and then ate off the replacements.”

My own house has gone to the dogs. . .

“He tore apart insulated galoshes, flip-flops, scarves, sneakers, shoes, plastic fruit, and the head of one of Noah’s lacrosse sticks. He chewed up hard rubber dustpans, flay swatters, and brushes. He ate books, barrettes, and toothbrushes, shredded newspapers, ripped apart magazines, tore chunks out of books.”


“I noticed that Oogy’s bag of food was missing, as was some cheese and the lunch meat that had been in the cold drawer. The fruits and vegetables had not been touched. The beverages and salad dressings had not been opened. What was left of the missing bags of food was in pieces underneath the dining room table, which is where Oogy likes to take his illicit treasure. He seems to think of it as his little cave, where no one can see him. . .”

“. . .Oogy had figured out how to open the refrigerator.”

“I put a bungee cord across the handles for the freezer and the refrigerator adjacent to it. It was the only way to keep him out.”

“On several occasions since then, though, when the last one of us to use the refrigerator has forgotten to clip the cord in place, Oogy has raided it. I can tell by his demeanor when I walk in the door. If he isn’t greeting me joyously but is skulking, his body low to the ground, head drooped but watching me, I know he is feeling guilty of something, and the first thing I check is the refrigerator. Then I go to the dining room and clean up the debris.”

“. .  . what appeals to everyone about Oogy is that he is proof that what we all know is lurking out there– the awful and, yes, inevitable tragic loss, the unexplainable savage attack, the seemingly insurmountable occurrence –can, in fact, be survived with love and grace intact, without bitterness or resentment, and with an appreciation for all that follows. Oogy is, right there in front of everyone he meets, tangible living proof that there can be happiness, love, and hope on the other side of unspeakable and unimaginable horror.”

“This is a story about what can happen when the worst in people meets the best in people and the best wins. In spite of its subject, this is a gentle tale of one man’s love for his dog and the angels along the way who brought Oogy into his life.” -Susan Richards, author of Chosen by a Horse

 Thank you for your visit & thank you to my husband who indulges my obsession with Food for Thought by eating like a preschooler :-)

 Visit Jenny Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday~ for more alphabet fun :-)

  22 comments for “Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love

  1. January 18, 2011 at 9:21 am

    How cute..pet lovers unite..youdaqueen of doggie treats:)

    Look at that chewed bar:) And yet you smile..:)

  2. January 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    We own a little “old lady” mixed breed who we think is now about 12 years old. We got her 11 years ago when a friend of ours ‘dognapped’ her from a place where she lived in a small airline dog carrier, too small for her size and was never let out…she was destined to become actually someone’s meal [the house where she lived (if you can call it that!) was one of a family from a culture that ate dogs and saw nothing wrong in keeping them in cages to fattten up]
    When she came to us she was always scared and would hide under furniture where she felt secure – if you even just looked at her she would wet on the floor. After all these many years of building trust, Phoebe has been the best pet we have ever owned. She is now a very loving and affectionate member of our little family.

  3. Pondside
    January 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    What a heartwarming story. We have had several rescue pets and they just seem to love harder than any other.

  4. January 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    oh you are brave to read this one, the cover scared me away, i truly can’t handle this stuff :( omg the video has me holding back tears already… just the word bait and i know i am unable to read this…

    but… your dog gone pancakes are incredible, how clever are you!

    your chair is a total crack, live action shots! how adorable are they even being naughty~

    i aodre your cut outs, you always to the best dog show in town :)

    and the fridge, you are just brilliant at this, jasper opens doors too, we have bungees… so does 2 off our cats, they turn the french door handles down and come and go as they please.

    another wonderful dog tribute by you and i still say you are brave~

  5. January 19, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Hi, I’m after you on the Alphabe-Thursday list. Sounds like a great book. I will have to check if my local library is carrying it.

  6. January 19, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I need to read that book! I have a friend who has a kennel license and adopts quite a few dogs. She has the time and the money to care for them and it is a hobby of hers to go to the animal rescue and pick out the ugliest dog there. She takes such good care of her little buddies that being an ugly dog in this neck of the woods can actually be an advantage…

  7. January 19, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    What a wonderful and inspiring story. I have never understood how people can be so senselessly cruel to animals.

  8. January 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    This is such a wonderful story. My two year old has learned to raid the fridge too. I love all the dog shaped foods you used in the story.

  9. January 20, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Oh, always looking for a good book. Will have to pick it up!

  10. January 20, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Wonderful, heartwarming story. And just the thought of each one of these photos makes me smile as I type. The pancakes ~ you are too clever for words. Love the chewed chair. Reminds me of days gone by when ours was just a puppy. Oh, this is such a fun post! ~ Sarah

  11. January 20, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Oh gosh! Loved this post!

  12. January 20, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Me too!
    I agree with all above.
    You rock.

  13. January 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Last April we adopted a mixed terrier whom we named Mulligan. He looked pretty scrawny when we got him, and we were told that he was bad about running away so we would have to watch him. The previous owner had been deployed to Iraq and had left him with family who had another dog that was mean to our Mulligan. He sat in my lap on the way home, and looked out the front window. When we got home, he didn’t try to run away. He just sat in the driveway, then he went straight into the house. He’s a great companion, a sweet boy whom we love. In the game of golf, a mulligan is a second chance to hit a better shot off the first tee. We gave our Mulligan a second chance for a better shot at life.

  14. January 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Sounds like a beautiful story.

    And some very loving and patient dog owners!


    PS. Not sure I could hang in with such mischief…

  15. January 20, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Oh I do like the pancakes! Love the post and its main theme- but oh, I do like the pancakes!

  16. January 20, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Mary, thanks for the comment on my post. We got Mulligan as a “transition” dog because we knew our Yorkie, our Precious girl, would not be with us much longer. She died in November. I was overwhelmed with grief, and so was Rod. It was the first time in all our married life that I ever saw him cry. We decided to get a playmate for Mulligan so we got a Yorkie puppy. Her name is Lizzy. They are so cute together and Mulligan takes good care of his little sister.

  17. Pat
    January 21, 2011 at 3:12 am

    What a wonderful book this is Mary! This family was so loving and patient with Oogy and forgiving of all his chewing. It takes a big heart to do what they did and bring this poor abused dog back to being able to live with a family.
    My son has a labradoodle that does not like to be home alone and will chew anything in his path whenever he is. They have been working with a trainer to try to prevent him from doing that.

    Love the doogy shaped cold cuts!

  18. January 21, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    What an outstanding stop on my little journey through Alphabe-Thursday.

    This book sounds tremendous. And the family sounds like they have the biggest hearts around!

    Thanks for sharing this and for the sweet little tray of treats you shared…I need to do this for my Grands. They would love it!

    Thank you for linking!


  19. January 21, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    That a sweet post and amazing story. I love your clever dog and bone-shaped food! Your poor furniture!

  20. January 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    What a riveting story! I loved it!

  21. January 25, 2011 at 12:17 am

    I loved this Mary! It reminds me of the time we rescued a German Shepherd mix named Shiva Marie. Shiva was a very smart dog…and so much of a PUPPY in every sense of the word…she chewed holes in the dry wall and chewed through all the powercords of the tools in the garage…she ate most of the cushions off one of the couches…fortunately it was an old one!! We loved her so very much…

    Wonderful Story! Thanks for reminding me of my beautiful Shiva Marie!!

  22. January 30, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Oh my :o) I came back to thank you for stopping by and for your sweet comment…and I am happy I saw this post… What a creative review of a heart warming story! It is always so good to hear how love triumphs over such a horrible beginning such as Oogy’s story.

    Thank you! and I had to laugh at this – “Thank you for your visit & thank you to my husband who indulges my obsession with Food for Thought by eating like a preschooler :-)”

    Blessings & Aloha!
    Your two pups are adorable…and they look sooo innocent :o)
    I would love (if you do have a facebook account) for you to take a look at some of the past orders of the dogs that I have drawn. Slowly, but surely, I am posting more into the different categorized albums on my FB art page. Here is where you can see other precious pets of some that I have done.

    Sorry for putting all this here, to turn into a mini novel of a comment! I tried to reply to your comment on my post, but it goes to that elusive “noreply” address. And I dont know if it is just me, but on your complete profile, when I tried to go to your blog link under “My Blogs”, it does not show any posts. but when I went to your blog under “Contact-My Web Page” I was able to view your blog posts. Please let me know if it is just me…I seem to come across something new all the time!

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