What Is Pugalug Rescue?
Pugalug Pug Rescue is based in Toronto, ON, Canada and is a bridge between a pug's past life and its future forever home. It is a group of volunteers who are committed to helping rescued pugs by providing medical care, loving attention, comfort, food, companionship and a forever home. It is a process whereby the pug's needs are paramount both during its time in the rescue process and when its ideal adoptive home is being determined.
Our rescue organization has no building and no business hours; it is not an animal shelter where a potential purchaser can drop buy, choose a pug and take it home. Rescue is not a place to get a pug cheaply. Potential adopters are required to complete a comprehensive application, undergo a home visit, have references checked and agree to fairly stringent conditions before being approved. We want to make absolutely sure that the pug, who has suffered so much upheaval already, doesn't wind up back in rescue and have to undergo the process again because of an inappropriate adoption.
Where do these Pugs come from?
Many people ask why a pug would need to be rescued. The reasons are as varied as the sources the pugs come from. One common thread, however, is a lack of understanding of the pug's unique characteristics and requirements. Pugs are stubborn and require a lot of patience to train. If male pugs are not neutered at a young age, there may be marking accidents. They demand human attention and affection. They are not noted for playing fetch and Frisbee like some other breeds and get easily winded with heavy exercise because of their compacted respiratory system. Pugs shed year-round and often snore. They can be very costly to maintain because of their vulnerability to a variety of health issues, including allergies, eye problems, joint problems, thyroid issues, respiratory problems, etc. Owners who don't understand these things when they buy a pug may get more than they can or want to handle.
Too often a loving family may have to give up their pug because they can no longer provide for him - maybe because of health issues, a family breakup, financial constraints, etc. The owners may choose to surrender their beloved pet to a caring rescue organization rather than place them in a shelter or sell them to somebody they don't know. They know that Pugalug has the pug's best interests at heart and will screen potential adopters carefully.
Some pugs come into rescue by way of animal shelters, humane societies, newspaper ads, breeders and word of mouth. Pugs from these sources may come from good homes but are more likely to have come from abusive backgrounds such as puppy mills and backyard breeders. Sometimes extensive medical and emotional healing is needed before the pug is ready to be adopted.
What Happens In Rescue?
There are several steps in the rescue process - transport, fostering, and adoption. Each of these steps is handled by a team of dedicated volunteers whose sole interest is ensuring that the pug placed in their care is well looked after and successfully adopted. Another team of volunteers looks after Fundraising so that the medical needs of the pugs in rescue can be paid.
Transport - The rescue effort starts by a volunteer (or a string of them) picking up the pug from its owner or shelter and transporting it to a Foster Home. If this transport involves only one driver, it is easy to arrange. Often, however, the distances are great and several transport legs have to be coordinated, sometimes with volunteers from other animal rescue organizations. Think of it as the Underground Railroad for Dogs, of which Pugalug Rescue is part. Transporters receive no reimbursement for their gas or efforts.
Fostering - Once the pug arrives at its Foster Home, the Foster Parent is responsible for its care and health until it is ready to be adopted. Most of our pugs are not adopted until they are in good health; those with chronic conditions are adopted out to families equipped to deal with the health problems. A vet visit is scheduled early in the foster process to evaluate what, if any, medical issues need to be dealt with. All dogs in foster care are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. The Foster Parent arranges for medical treatments as required, including surgeries before going up for adoption. Behavioural and emotional evaluations are also done. Foster parents provide updates for the Pugalug website.
Adoption - When a foster home feels the dog is ready to be rehomed, they provide the application coordinator with detailed requirements and a short write-up about the dog. The dog is then placed in the "Ready to Adopt" section.
At this time, you can click on their bio and find out what their needs are. The adoption fee is also listed. On the bio, there is a link to the adoption application. On the top of the application, there is a list of the basic requirements for adopting from Pugalug. If you meet all these needs as well as the individual dog's requirements, you can fill out the application.
The application goes directly to the application coordinator. If suitable, the application will be sent on to the foster home. The top applicant will be contacted and if everyone feels good about the match, a home visit will be arranged. The rescue dog will be brought to the home visit. After the visit, everyone takes some time to decide if all is well. If the adoption is to take place, the adopting family comes to pick up their new furry family member and do the paperwork.
We do not contact all applicants, but you can watch the website for updates. When the dog is going for a home visit, they are moved to the "adoption pending" section.
We in rescue are too used to the "puppy mill to pet store to owner to rescue" cycle. Now that you are thinking of becoming part of the rescue solution, we would ask that you educate yourself about this cycle and refrain from supporting pet stores that sell puppies.
We also know how diet can affect the health of pugs. Pugs are notorious for allergies. Wheat and corn are the two biggest allergens in dogs; many also have reactions to beef. There are many good quality kibbles that are corn and wheat free on the market now. A raw food diet is also good. Whatever you feed, introduce new food slowly and watch for allergic reactions. From experience, we recommend that pugs be fed twice a day - morning and evening. Pugs on high quality kibble normally get between 1/4 and 1/3 a cup of kibble at each feeding. Pugs are known to be food-hogs so monitor and adjust amounts as needed. Excess weight puts an unnecessary strain on their respiratory and skeletal systems. You should be able to feel their ribs but not see them, and they should have a “waist”.
Treats are a good training tool for pugs. But only a small portion, the size of your fingertip, is sufficient. Yo u can break larger treats into training size or buy pre-cut training treats. It can be difficult to say "no" to that imploring pug face, but extra food treats lead to weight gain and then breathing and heart problems down the road.
Because pugs are a brachycephalic breed ("pushed-in" faces), they are vulnerable to respiratory problems including tracheal injury. We ask you not to use dog collars, to avoid pressure and trauma to the throat. Use a harness for walking and remove it in the house.
Pugs are also susceptible to vaccine reactions so please evaluate the need for the various vaccine versus the risk of vaccine reaction and do not over-vaccinate.
Please don't leave your pug unattended in a car in any weather for any length of time.
We're here to help with post-adoption advice. If you need special support, please contact us.
Pugalug Club Pug Rescue