9/6/2002 - 8/15/2009
I first heard of Wrigley in early 2004 when his foster mom, Carol Sumbry, called to tell me that she had picked up this really shy boy. She described him as a true spook and probably the worst she’d ever seen. He was so fearful of people that if anyone approached him he would simply lose control of his bodily functions.
I first met Wrigley in June when Carol felt he had made enough progress to bring him to the kennel to expand his world. He was a handsome boy but you could see the fear in his eyes as well as the trust he so strongly had in Carol. He stuck to her like glue for the whole time they were there that day. A month later Carol asked me to take care of Wrigley for a week while she went to visit her family, she didn’t feel Wrigley could handle the trip so Wrigley vacationed at my home with my greys. After initially losing control of his bladder when we came face to face in the hallway a few times he settled in and seemed to get comfortable. He relaxed enough that by the end of the week he was running around the yard and playing with toys, something he loved to do all his life.
When Wrigley left at the end of the week I knew we would need to find him a home where he could truly be himself and that meant finding him a home with a fenced yard, another dog and one without men. This would be a tall order and would take time.
As fate would have it in late August a very shy female came into the kennel who was in need of Carol’s special skills. In speaking with Carol she admitted that she had taken Wrigley as far as she could because even after nearly 6 months Wrigley hadn’t gotten any more comfortable with her husband and an attempted placement with an experienced greyhound adopter who was a single mom with a young son and two greys wasn’t working well. Carol agreed to take the little girl if I would take Wrigley with me and we arranged for the exchange.
Wrigley came home with me on Saturday, September 11 as a foster and we began looking for Wrigley’s forever home. While I recognized that my home was pretty much made to order for Wrigley I hoped I would be able to find something similar with younger greys, mine were 10 and 12 years old and I joked that Wrigs was living in the geriatric ward. This didn’t seem to faze the boy at all. After a short adjustment period he was again running laps in the yard and playing with stuffies, entertaining himself as the 4 elders watched and kept out of his way.
In October Wrigley was diagnosed with Leptospirosis. Although easily treated with antibiotics the treatment period was long, six months, and the vet felt that his infection was so severe that he would in all likelihood succumb to early renal failure. As I drove Wrigley home from the vet the day we got this dire prediction I told him that it would be okay, he would simply stay with me for whatever time he had and that I and the pack would love him and take care of him. I had come to love Wrigley long before this day but couldn’t justify keeping him and expecting him to be willing to share me with my four other greys. The vet’s remarks allowed me to rationalize that with this new “baggage” it would be impossible to find someone willing to adopt this sweet boy so keeping him was the only option left. With that, Wrigley became my fifth, and I sincerely believed at the time, my last greyhound.
Wrigley settled into life at my house and we accepted him as a member of the pack without anyone skipping a beat. He loved car rides and walks but Wrigs really loved to run laps in the yard and play with toys. He tried to engage the other hounds in play, but the only one that was even remotely interested in romping was Stinger, the oldest of the pack, and that was only from time to time because Wrigley being a youngster played pretty rough. He didn’t seem to mind that none of the others would play; he just enjoyed himself and life, more with each passing day. I too basked in Wrigley’s enjoyment. As I watched him run laps or play with stuffies in the yard that he would wait for me to throw, I smiled and laughed. The dog that was so terrified in the beginning was busting loose and living life to the fullest.
A year after completing treatment for his leptospirosis the vet told me that she was pretty sure that we wouldn’t have to worry about early renal failure. Wrigs’ kidney values had returned to normal and had held for the last six months. Hearing this news I believed that Mr. Happy Pants, as I’d affectionately dubbed Wrigley, could easily be with me for ten years and that we would have a long and fun filled time together.
When Kimmy passed in May of 2006, Wrigley, to my amazement, took over the lead on our walks. He was out in front of the pack, kept us moving and always recognized home when it came into view. With the loss of Stinger in July of that year I introduced Tina to the three boys. I adopted Tina mostly for Walt who was totally lost without a female in the house but she and Wrigley quickly became the “dueling duo”. In the yard they would wrestle with each other and chase each other incessantly but in the house they would lay next to each other and often Tina would place her head on Wrigley’s body without any issues.
The pack changed again in November of 2006 when Walt passed and again in early 2007 with the adoption of Chance. Wrigley made it clear to the new boy that he was “in charge” on some level but he never challenged Rush who was my first grey and the alpha of the pack when Wrigley joined us. When Rush passed in late 2007 Wrigley took over as the uncontested alpha of the pack.
Wrigley’s pack remained the same until mid 2008 when Honey joined us until her passing ten weeks after coming into our lives. We adjusted to this loss about the time Peaches joined us in early 2009. With Peaches arrival Wrigley had a playmate that adored him and loved romping with him. Wrigley was in his glory and Peaches had a big brother to look up to and a willing partner in running, romping and general silliness. For all of us, all was right with the world, we were happy and laughing pretty much every day with the antics in the yard and in the house.
Wrigley passed 3 weeks and 1 day short of his 7th birthday and 4 weeks short of his fifth anniversary with me after a valiant battle with a fungal infection. The time we had together was too short but so very precious and amazing. As I think back on the boy I met in 2004 who was so nervous that he didn’t just shake, he vibrated when he was somewhere he didn’t feel comfortable I cannot help but be in awe of the spirit that resided in this boy. I will never know what caused him to be such a frightened dog in the beginning, I only know that he came to trust me enough to allow me the privilege of seeing the “inside” Wrigley, the truly wonderful, loving and happy to be alive being that he became. He didn’t show his true joy and excitement of life to very many people, only three besides me, and these are people he knew that I trusted too. His enthusiasm, energy and sheer joy garnered him several nicknames over the years. At various times based on the moment he was, Mr. Happy Pants, Wiggles, Wiggle Worm, and Mr. Barky Butt but he was always my Snuggle Buggle Boy. He earned this moniker when he started sleeping on my bed after Rush passed. When he settled in he would always get his nose up into the hollow of my neck and get his body as close to mine as he could.
Wrigley’s lesson to me was to never underestimate what you can do if you believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you, you can’t do something. I would never have believed, nor would anyone else who knew Wrigley 4 years ago, that he would become a pack leader. I am so grateful that he proved me wrong.
You can now run and live without any fear my friend and you can eat anything you want. I am so grateful for your love and trust and for the honor of having you in my life, if only for a short time. The house is too quiet and your energy is sorely missed. Know that you were and always will be much loved by all of us. We miss you but know that until we are all together again you will never be forgotten Wiggles.
With our love always,
Kathy, Tina, Chance and Peaches