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Rescued dog to the rescue!


Interview by Leslie Emmons

Pugalug Pug Rescue is a Toronto-based rescue where a team of dedicated volunteers provides medical care, comfort, and food to surrendered pugs until they can find their forever home. The organization doesn’t take the adoption of their furry friends lightly and will only house pugs with committed. Pugalug puts all potential owners through a process that includes a home visit and references check among other things, to insure the dogs do not end up going through the adoption process again.


We spoke to Brenda Maguire about her experience adopting her pug Donnie-O from the organization. Here’s her story.


Many years ago when I first spotted a pug I was taken by their cute physical appearance. We were not thinking of getting a dog at that time, as we just were not able to give a dog the time and attention it would need. Years later when we did decide it was time for a dog I decided to find out more about the breed. Much to my delight, it seemed that a pug would be well suited to our lifestyle. They have a good natured, friendly, fun-loving disposition with a little stubbornness thrown in. Health issues are a concern with this breed but we have been very fortunate as both of our pugs have been healthy dogs.


Our first pug Buddy came to us at 7 and 1/2 weeks of age in 2007. At that point, I had not educated myself about rescue and I admit with some embarrassment that he came from a home breeder who advertised on Kijiji. Don't get me wrong, Buddy is a wonderful pug and I wouldn't trade him for the world, but it is not the way to find a dog. He had worms, parasites and all sorts of issues during his first six months, but in the end turned out to be a great pug.


We were talking with our vet (one of our many visits during Buddy's first eight months) and mentioned that we really were considering a second pug.  She immediately suggested going through rescue and specifically Pugalug Pug Rescue an organization she was very familiar with and endorsed wholeheartedly. I hesitated and told her we really would prefer a puppy. Well, wouldn't you know Pugalug had just taken in a very pregnant pug that had just given birth to the rescue's first litter. Within a couple of days, I received a call from Blanche Axton (Pugalug's current president) telling me about the rescue and the pups. As we talked we came to the stunning realization that the pug who had just delivered a litter of seven was Buddy's mother! The family that had her, bred her and sold the first litter surrendered her to Pugalug Rescue in 2008! 


From that point I went through the application process and a home visit and interview. I met with Blanche and we talked at length about pugs, pug rescue, and their homing requirements. We were notified a few days later that we had been selected to adopt one of the male puppies. At that time they were only three weeks old and so would not be going to their forever homes until eight weeks of age.  


He came to us with a little bundle of puppy 'stuff,' a blanket, some kibble, and toy. He had been to see the vet, had been microchipped and de-wormed. He was a 'typical textbook' puppy sleeping, playing, eating, pooping and peeing! That might not sound extraordinary but it was for us. Donnie-O had a great start with Pugalug and their foster family as compared to Buddy whom I believe may have had a somewhat bleak first few weeks of life which made his first couple of weeks with us far more challenging.  The two are good pals and brothers (literally) and terrific little pugs!

It is my understanding that all of Donnie's litter is doing well. He did meet his sister Maybelle a couple of years back and had some playtime with her. He did meet his mother Lorna for some playtime as well. I periodically see comments from some of the other litter adopters on the Pugalug forum but we have not had a Magnificent Seven reunion.


Donnie-O has always been very alert and quick to learn. In December of 2008 when he was just 7 months old we had gone to bed and he and his brother were asleep at the foot of the bed. At some point before midnight, he started pacing and looking towards the door and was agitated and would not settle. Finally, my husband and I got up and checked around the house and just prior to going back to bed looked out the window and saw smoke come out of the top of a hydro substation across the street. I called it in immediately and when the first responders arrived and realized it was a hydro substation fire they evacuated the entire street. 


Fortunately for us, the early detection allowed us and the pugs to get out and away prior to that building literally exploding in flames. Our home suffered some external and somewhat minor damage but was saved because the fire departments were here before it really got going. The heat was so intense that it melted our garbage pails and anything vinyl including our garage doors and even the neighbours vinyl siding. It even bubbled the paint on one of the fire trucks. To be honest, had we not have been alerted prior to the fire erupting I don't know how we would have gotten out of the house with such intense heat. Donnie-O probably could hear or even smell something early on as the fire burned inside the brick building that was not detectable by us. I do know that his pacing and panicked behaviour has only ever occurred on that one and only occasion! Sadly but not unsurprisingly, our other pug didn't even notice or if he did was not concerned!  I sleep very soundly now knowing Donnie is on the bed each night. I have often wondered who really 'rescued' who!!


I can't say enough good things about our experience with Pugalug Pug Rescue and about the wonderfully, dedicated folks who volunteer with this organization. Such dedicated, knowledgeable people who do their best for each pug that comes their way.  Even after adoption, they are a wonderful resource for all things 'pug'. I do keep up-to-date with them via their website and stay in contact with and see Blanche Axton on a regular basis. I have met many of the pugs in her foster care over the years and would not hesitate to adopt through this rescue in the future. They take such great care in selecting the right home for each pug that comes into their care to ensure a successful adoption.  


I am so grateful to have Donnie-O as part of our family and would encourage anyone looking for a dog to seriously consider and contact rescue organizations as there are some wonderful dogs waiting for a home!

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