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Pugalug Pug Rescue: The social club turned rescue


By Irene Linnik

(Posted in 2014)

Starting as a social club for pug owners, Pugalug Pug Rescue has over the years helped hundreds of dogs find their loving homes. Blanche Axton, president of the Toronto-based rescue, shares her story and explains what has to be considered when adopting a pug.


Where does the idea of Pugalug come from? 

Essentially it started out as a social club for pug owners and was called the Pugalug Club. It brought together pug owners to celebrate the breed. We also did some things to support a pug rescue called Peachy Pugs Rescue, which was run by Dagmar Skala. When she retired, we took over her rescue and that's how everything started.


What moment has made you especially proud and happy about the job you are doing? 

Oh Lord, that would be very hard to say. We've had a number of moments, for example, when we were able to rescue two pugs, named Jake and Betsy, from California and through the good hearts of many people across North America they were transported from California to Ontario. Later on they were fostered and adopted by one of our volunteers. And of course, any of the puppy mill dogs we've rescued and found homes for,  ALL the blind and nearly blind dogs that have come through our rescue (My Hazel is one, she has no eyes). We have found homes for them all and shown people that their lack of sight is not a disability to them.


What major changes happened in the organization since 2005?  

The biggest change to the organization was when it went from being a social club to a rescue in October 2005 and then being registered as a charitable organization. The social club has become a recognized rescue.


What is the biggest challenge for Pugalug Pug Rescue today?  

Resources, both financial and human. We get above average number of dogs with serious health issues and it requires a great amount of money to deal with some of them (although most are issues that can be dealt with). The rescue also requires foster homes and people sacrificing their time, energy and ability to take proper care of the dogs.


Can people without experience of having a pet adopt a pug or would you rather choose an experienced person? 

Certainly a person who hasn't had a pet can adopt. But I will certainly suggest they read the article on our website called "What the Books didn't tell you about Pugs". I love this breed, but they can be high maintenance, and not many people are aware of that.


What are some details about the breed that people generally do not know? 

Sadly, one of the things folks don't know is that pugs are very smart and very trainable dogs.  They aren't pushovers, but if you feed into their motivation, they are just as trainable as working breeds. And surprisingly, people don't know how much pugs shed.  They shed like wild things. I've had LOTS of different breeds over my life and my pugs shed as bad or even worse than any of the heavy shedders I've owned.


What advice would you give to any new pet owner?  

Don't get a dog just because you like the "way they look" or you've known one and liked it. Get a dog that meets the abilities of your household. Research your breed of choice to be sure it's the right dog for you. Be realistic about what a dog requires. And take advantage of the many excellent force free trainers around. 

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