It was an age old question that has plagued men for decades; furrowing the brow and inducing the sweat as they desperately try to find the answer in time.
“What do I get my wife for her birthday?”
Darrin Wilson was one of those men struggling to find that perfect birthday surprise for his wife Janet. While contemplating the question he looked over at their dog Angus- a mini Boston terrier rescue- and it just clicked. Darrin decided to make a toy that looked just like Angus and give it to Janet for her birthday. He had no idea that a loving gesture would touch both of their lives in such an unforeseen and wonderful way.
Darrin made the Boston terrier in the downward dog pose- a tribute to Angus’ favorite stretching position. He branded the toy Wugadog gave it to Janet and she absolutely adored her custom made Angus toy.
“I opened the box and saw that the toy was in the downward dog position and I laughed. I knew that it was Angus right away and wanted to show it to everyone,” Janet said in a correspondence.
Honoring Angus seemed like the right thing to do. Darrin and Janet of Mississauga, Canada, adopted Angus from the Pomeranian and Small Breed Rescue dog in Toronto. Although it is impossible to know what Angus experienced before he found his forever home it is believed that he was born in New York City and was re-homed several times. Angus had a considerable amount of health issues- likely caused my bad breeding- and was never properly socialize leading to behavioral problems. He bounced around until he was finally rescued- but the likelihood that he would be adopted out was very low. Despite his poor statistics and lack of probability Angus was adopted by Darrin and Janet Wilson.
“When we got him he was very aggressive with other dogs and not good with children, which also may have been a reason he was unwanted,” said Darrin. “So my wife arranged regular play sessions with other dogs at the local dog daycare facility.”
This socialization along with a much needed stable living situation gave this terrier new spark. That fire was just what Angus needed to survive his crippling health complications.
“When Janet and I adopted him he had luxated patellas- dislocated kneecaps- which are a common problem in Boston terriers,” Darrin said. “His vet tells us that Angus was born that way and has adapted.”
Darrin and Janet chose the one dog that really needed to be “rescued” and they were aware that Angus’ poor breeding could have set him up for a lifetime of issues that would require specific care and veterinary attention.
“His conditions will likely lead to arthritis in his back legs which can require surgery or medication- that may have been one of the reasons he was passed from home to home unwanted,” Darrin said in a correspondence. “But my wife and I knew up front and will happily do it for him when he needs it.”
Janet posted photos of her Angus Wugadog on Facebook and soon they were flooded with questions as to where these Wugadogs could be found. The interest in the Wugadog struck a chord in the Wilson’s and the sound rang loud: Wugadogs for charity. They rescued and rehabilitated Angus and now Angus the first ever Wugadog can help other people- and dogs. They already gave to charity in other ways but Wugadogs seemed a more personal gesture.
In 2012 the couple personally donated 300 Wugadogs to The Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo in New York.
“One of the most impactful moments was at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo,” Darrin said. “We gave away 300 Wugadogs there. The feeling you get when you walk into a children’s ward and see a smile when they see you have a gift for them is unbelievable. But it was when Janet and I were methodically going from room to room giving out Wugadogs, everything was brought into razor-sharp focus; unexpectedly a nurse pulled us aside and whispered to us ‘You have no idea the good that you are doing. Sometimes all a child wants is something to hold onto. Something they can carry with them into surgery. Something they can squeeze to keep the fear at bay. Thank you.’”