Pug Rescue Organizations
What if you want a pug but you like the idea of giving a home to a dog in need? A pug rescue group can give you the best of both worlds. A pug may be placed with a rescue group because it's elderly and has health problems its owners can't afford to treat. Many pugs in rescue groups are those whose sight is compromised in some way. Others are given up because of housetraining problems or because the owners have a new baby and don't have time for the dog. The Pug Dog Club of America supports rescue efforts by maintaining a list of rescue groups nationwide that help place lost or abandoned pugs.
A rescue group is not the place to go if you are simply hoping to find an inexpensive puppy. Rescue pugs are almost always six months or older. Most rescue dogs are adults, and some have even entered their golden years. Don't expect to find a one-year-old female that doesn't shed, is already housetrained, and doesn't have any health problems.
The important thing to remember is that pugs stay young for a long time. Pugs can live to be fifteen years old, and a three-, four-, or five-year-old pug can be as agile and active a dog as you could hope for — and is likely to stay that way for several years to come. Whatever their circumstances, pugs adopted from breed rescue groups usually go on to become wonderful family companions.
Breed Rescue Advantages
Generally, people involved in pug rescue are committed to the welfare of the dogs they work with. They try hard to match people with the right dog. They follow up with new owners after the adoption and offer advice and counseling as needed.
You also know exactly what you're getting. You know what size the dog will be, whether he's already housetrained or knows other commands, what his personality and activity level are like, whether he gets along with kids and other animals, and whether he has any health problems.
Breed Rescue Disadvantages
Puppies are rarely available, and the heritage of a puppy or dog adopted through a pug rescue group is rarely known. If it is known, it may not be of very high quality. Generally speaking, the people who surrender a pug to a rescue program are not the people who have carefully selected a breeder. Furthermore, you don't have the advantage of being able to see the health clearances on the parents. Eye disease or other hereditary problems often don't appear until later in life.
Adopting from a breed rescue group isn't as simple as going in, picking the dog you want, and writing a check for it. Like reputable breeders, breed rescue volunteers want to place each dog in the best possible home. This requires a period of evaluation that takes time. The length of the wait is influenced by the number of dogs available and the number of other equally or sometimes more suitable applicants.
Keep in mind that pugs placed with rescue groups often have health or behavioral problems that must be dealt with. You'll need to give a rescue pug extra patience, care, and understanding for the adoption to be successful.
Adopting a Pug from a Rescue Group
First, you'll need to find a pug rescue group in your area. Start by contacting the Pug Dog Club of America (see Appendix A for address). Or you can go to your favorite search engine, such as Google or Yahoo!, and type in “pug breed rescue [your city or state].”
When you find a pug rescue group, ask for literature on the program, such as a brochure or newsletter. Take a look at the adoption contract. It should state that the program will accept the return of the dog for any reason, should you be unable to keep it.
Expect to be treated respectfully during the adoption process. In return, truthfully provide all the information requested about yourself, your family, and your home environment. Be willing to permit the home visit, and don't be offended by what may seem to be personal questions. Just as you want a nice pug, the rescue group wants nice homes for its dogs so they don't end up being returned.
If you decide you're interested, you'll be asked to fill out an application. Most groups require and check references, usually from a veterinarian or dog trainer. Many groups also schedule home visits so they can evaluate the environment where the pug will be living, as well as your readiness for a pug.
Rescue groups may have specific adoption requirements, or they may consider each application on a case-by-case basis. Reasons an application may be rejected include unrealistic expectations, such as wanting the dog to live outdoors, or because the applicant's previous dogs were all hit by cars before the age of two. Requirements for adopting a pug may include having a fenced yard and letting the dog live indoors. Expect to be required to spay or neuter the dog (with occasional exceptions for age or medical conditions).
Adoption fees usually range from $100 to $150. The thought of paying that much for a homeless dog might seem outrageous to you, but the fees are important because they help support adoption efforts and pay for the veterinary expenses that many of these dogs incur before they're ready for adoption. An adoption fee may also include spaying or neutering, vaccinations, and a health check. That's a pretty good deal, when you think about it. Sometimes adoption fees are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Some groups waive the fee for elderly dogs or those that are facing expensive veterinary treatment.
If your budget allows, throw in a little extra on top of the adoption fee to help other homeless pugs.