top of page

Giving rescue pugs their deserved hugs


Interview by Renata Cimpean

Mark Guertin is a volunteer at Pugalug Pug Rescue who takes the rescue’s mission to heart and has adopted many older pugs. Guertin and his wife started by adopting Bugsy in February 2009 at the age of 10 and enjoyed three precious years with him.


Soon after, the couple adopted Cooper at the age of 10 and enjoyed his company for four years. They are now the proud parents of an adorable fawn male pug named Chico, who is currently happy and healthy.


Guertin and his wife are very passionate about the breed and adopting older dogs. Some dogs can come with a rough past and it brings joy to see them change for the better and become great companions. Many of these older dogs wouldn’t have that chance if people like Guertin weren’t open to giving them the new life that they deserve.


What kind of work do you do with Pugalug Pug Rescue?


I’m currently their webmaster and take care of posting all of the content to the website (I think it’s been about 4-5 years now) and in the past I’ve done a fair bit of photography at events as well.


What attracted you to the pug? What special qualities do they have?

Several things really stood out with pugs for us. First of all they are just so cute! All the extra skin and smooshy faces. Secondly we really loved their temperament, we looked after a friend's pug a few times and just fell in love with the breed. Lastly the senior pugs are just our speed, they don't need tons and tons of exercise and are generally pretty happy to go on short walks and just hang out with you.




























Can you tell us a bit about Cooper’s story?

Cooper was a really special boy for us. We adopted him from Pugalug in January 2010 at the age of 10. We had him for just over four years. He had a very remarkable transition after coming to Pugalug and then to us.


Initially he was very overweight, was very, very anxious about loud noises and was typically very quiet. His coat was super thick and he was covered with fleas, he really seemed like he had a bit of a rough go at things in his recent past. Over the years he really came out of his shell, all traces of anxiety gone, became extremely vocal and rowdy and spent some wonderful golden years with us. We let him go to the rainbow bridge in March of this year. He had been diagnosed with very advanced bone cancer and at that point had lost use of his right front leg and was in quite a lot of pain and the pain meds had stopped giving him much relief — due to his age and issues with anesthesia he wasn’t a candidate for amputation so in consultation with our vet we decided that it was time to let him go to the bridge. 


What words of comfort would you have for someone who recently lost a pet?

People will always say "it will get better over time," but a wise person once told me that this is not true.  What is true is that we learn to live with a loss and it becomes part of us.  My best advice is to remember them fondly and remember the wonderful life you gave them and keep them in your heart.


Why do you choose to adopt older dogs? What would you tell someone to perhaps make them consider adopting an older dog?

Older dogs are wonderful dogs. They are generally quite mellow by that point in their lives, so you don't often have dogs with really tough attitudes that are tough to meld into your daily life. They are usually very happy creatures that are just grateful to have a wonderful place to live and wonderful people to share their lives with. They are also the dogs that don't get as much attention when it comes to rescue dogs … many people are so sure they want a puppy or a young dog so they can "bond" with them.  Firstly I have to say that the whole "bonding" this is a farce, you can and will bond with an older dog just as easily as a puppy. Secondly, puppies are a lot of work! They need training, tons of attention, tons of play time, etc. As my wife says, and to quote a famous Adam Sandler movie line … "puppies are the devil!"  On the other hand old dogs just want a place on your couch and some love (and of course some dinner!). In our experience they have been wonderful animals to adopt and love you to bits.


Do you have any advice for someone who is looking to adopt an older dog?

First I'll add something general about adopting ANY dog. Do your research first. Make sure that you are getting the type of dog that suits your lifestyle and time availability. Dogs are forever and not some accessory to discard when they no longer suit you or your family's needs. It's a big commitment and something you should not enter into lightly. Now as for specifics with older dogs … the most important thing is to know what you're getting into. In some cases (but not all) they can require more vet visits and/or medication or special diets that can cost you a bit more money. While this is not always the case it's important to know and take this into consideration.


Will you be adopting any pugs from Pugalug Pug Rescue in the future?

Absolutely. Pugalug is a wonderful organization and really goes the extra distance to help pugs in need.

Having both adopted from them and volunteered for them for many years I have seen both sides of the coin.  They are all about the pugs and getting them the best care and homes possible.  We love pugs and don't see that changing any time soon.





Share with your friends

bottom of page