IS A RESCUE PUG RIGHT
by Roxane R. Fritz
If pug rescue groups had a dollar for every time they heard the request for a “young, healthy, fawn, female pug”, there would probably no longer be a need for fundraising. Unfortunately, some people think of rescue as a place to get an “inexpensive” pug that is already housebroken and up to date on all of their shots and medical checks. Unrealistic expectations waste the already taxed time of rescue volunteers and frustrates the person who has contacted the rescue group. Here are some common things that people ask about rescue pugs, and the reality for most rescue groups. Hopefully this can help you decide if a rescue pug is right for you.
Request: I want a young pug so I can have it for many years.
Reality: Pugs and pug mixes end up in rescue for many “reasons”. It is very rare for a person to turn a cute, cuddly, purebred pug puppy into rescue unless it has significant medical issues, such as a loss of eyesight or hearing, mange, or a need for surgery. If it was a “spur of the moment” purchase that is now regretted, even a backyard breeder will usually take back a healthy puppy and resell it. And of course a reputable breeder will always welcome back their dog, no matter what the age or problem.
There are no guarantees of longevity of life of any creature on this earth. PDE is a fatal disease that generally strikes pugs before the age of five. If a young, healthy pug is of prime importance to you, please contact a reputable breeder (you can contact your local Pug Dog Club for information on finding someone near you). A breeder that has studied the pedigree of the dog, done adequate physical testing, and knows the health histories of the mother and father (sire and dam) and offers a health guarantee is what would probably suit you best.
If you are adamant about wanting a young (and by young, I mean under the age of 2) healthy female pug from rescue, be prepared for a long wait. Many rescues have a waiting list of 2 years or more for a young female pug.
Request: Having a healthy dog is important to me since I don’t want to be running up a lot of vet bills.
Reality: Many of the pugs that end up in rescue were found as strays or turned in to pounds or shelters. They do not come with medical records indicating problems that the dog had in the past or may have in the future. Many rescues did not receive the best of vet care or nutrition at their former homes. While the rescue group will have a vet check the dog, and many groups will have known medical conditions taken care of before adoption, if they have the finances, there is no way to predict the future health of the dog. If a healthy dog is your primary concern, again, contacting a breeder who offers a health guarantee is probably a wise choice.
Request: I think a pug is the breed of dog that I want, but I’m not sure.
Reality: Dogs who are adopted through rescue have already been displaced at least once in their lives. Some pugs come into rescue after having been in many homes. It is important to the rescue organization that the home the pug goes into is its “forever home” if at all possible. You might want to volunteer to be a foster home for a rescue group. This way you get to see the true personality of a rescue pug and if it is the right breed for you. If you find out that you do love pugs, from there adopting a pug is probably easier since the rescue group already knows all about you.
Request: I will adopt an adult pug, but I expect it to be totally housebroken.
Reality: Many pugs that are turned into rescue have been kept outside most of their lives, or in the case of many males, were not neutered before coming into rescue. Even if the pug was kept indoors, any time a dog is getting used to a new environment and a new schedule, there will likely be accidents. If it is a male dog who has just recently been neutered, there may be a period of marking for a few more weeks. Be prepared to work with a rescue dog and be gentle and patient. The dog may also have been abused and have submission issues that the new home needs to work with. If you want a dog who never has an accident, a rescue pug is probably not for you. In fact, pugs as a breed may not be right for you.
Request: I want a pug that doesn’t shed/bark/snore/spray me with snot.
Reality: Uh, FAO Schwarz toy store has a lovely stuffed pug. Ty also makes a pug Beanie Baby. I think this is the best type of pug for you, as this is the only pug I know of who doesn’t shed, bark, snore and spray snot!
Request: I love older dogs who are more mellow than young dogs.
Reality: Rescue is a wonderful place to find an older dog from age 4 to 14. Many of these dogs have had a difficult time of life and are very grateful to have a good, loving home. They will show you their gratitude daily. An older dog is usually not as hyper as a puppy or young pug, and will do better in a small house or apartment. No matter what their age, they still have plenty of love to give!
Request: I have a special place in my heart for a dog who may have been neglected or abused or who has special medical needs.
Reality: Bless you! These are the majority of rescue dogs. Understanding that these dogs have some history behind them is critical in welcoming a rescued dog into your home. There are literally thousands of pugs and pug mixes who end up in rescue each year. Many have suffered physical abuse or have been severely neglected. These dogs need a patient person or family, willing to work with them in healing their bodies and spirits. Those who have adopted a rescue pug will attest that is can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences.
Request: I support the concept of rescue, but I have all the pugs I can handle right now. What else can I do?
Reality: There are other ways you can help your rescue organization. You can do home checks or transport dogs. Volunteer your time with doing mailings or a newsletter or maintaining a web page. Help with special events or throw a special party to raise money for the group. And the most important thing that rescue organizations need is financial support. If you can’t make a large donation, consider a small monthly donation, like $10 or $25. This can help pay for medicine to prevent a rescue pug from heartworm, or keep a dog flea and tick free for another month. All of these things greatly help rescue. As an added bonus, you will get a great feeling when you see the happy pug faces that your contributions helped on their way to their forever home.