When Bridesburg native Adam Gault began fostering Petey in September, things were looking anywhere but up.
The pup’s longtime, former owner, the late St. John Cantius pastor Rev. Joseph J. Zingaro, had passed away in May from health complications.
And, the 12-year-old canine wasn’t in the best health himself.
Gault knew he wanted to give Petey a place to lay his head and paws for the rest of his days, but he wasn’t sure if Petey could find peace in a new home.
“I kinda knew I would keep him for good when I got him, but it was more so how he would adjust,” he said. “Initially we were concerned about not having another dog with him, but we quickly learned that he has no problem being the one dog.”
Gault officially adopted Petey in the beginning of November, but the first six weeks were touch and go, even if his heart was set on Petey staying put.
“He turned 13 in December with Cushing’s syndrome, and it was a tough first six weeks,” he said. “We were still struggling with keeping food down, he was sick a lot. I just don’t think he was 100 percent comfortable yet with being at the rectory for 12 years.”
Six weeks marked a turning point, however, and Petey has been thriving ever since.
“I could see renewed energy in him, I could see he was comfortable and eating better,” Gault shared. “I think he made the decision that he knew it was a good place for him.”
Petey still deals with chronic health issues, but management is key.
“He takes medicine in the morning and he usually urinates a lot and drinks a lot of water,” Gault said. “The bladder stones have easily been the most persistent issue. He’s a trouper, but every month to six weeks, he’ll be straining to go to the bathroom.”
The issue warrants a trip to the vet, where the stones are flushed back into the bladder, according to Gault.
“Since he is 13, he can’t really go under the knife for surgery, so we monitor it that way and that gives him temporary relief,” he said. “And, he eats a special diet to break up the stones.”
Aside from those health issues, “everything else is great,” Gault added.
Petey gets on average two walks a day during the week, and three to four on weekends.
“Through this process, being able to walk as much as he has, and just some extra TLC, I think he has a little more renewed energy,” Gault said. “He moves around pretty well. I can get him to play every once in a while with a toy for a minute or so, and then he wants to lay on the couch again. But, I think he’s a happy pup.”
Happy to be king of the castle.
“He’s a really good dog. He’s set in his ways, but he’s sweet and has a great temperament,” Gault said. “He’s definitely King Petey. It’s his house, and I just live here.”
Petey enjoys a morning walk before Gault leaves for work, listens to music throughout the day, takes naps on the couch or in Gault’s bed, enjoys some midday playmate time with Gault’s cousin’s dog, Joplin, takes another walk with Gault before dinner, and then unwinds with playtime or a movie at the end of the day.
On the weekends, Gault tries to take Petey on trips to parks outside the neighborhood.
And, Petey still visits the rectory.
Gault is quick to give credit to all the staff at the rectory in putting Petey in a good position.
“Once we realized I was keeping him, he really needed to get used to his new home,” Gault said. “I try to take him to the rectory to see his old friends and everyone there who loves him so much at least every few weeks.”
There’s no shortage of love to go around.
“It’s nice to have this level of companion and friend again,” Gault said. “He gets a lot of socialization with other dogs. We had Thanksgiving with my aunt, my mom, and my brother and combined, there were six dogs between everyone. We’re definitely a crazy dog family.”
And, while Gault has been a saving grace for Petey, Petey has given Gault a new perspective.
“If anything I’ve learned from this process that I think other people could take away is that just be patient when you take in a dog, or any animal, for that matter,” Gault said. “Just be patient. Those first weeks were really tough. And, now, he couldn’t be doing any better. I just want to provide the best life I can for him for as long as he’s here with us.”