Pugs. They are a Snort Fest on four legs.
In the past several years, these little dogs have been quickly growing in popularity. Some pug lovers say this breed’s popularity really took off after a pug named Frank played a starring role in “Men in Black II”.
When the Puglalug Club in Toronto, Canada began in 2001, it had 10 members. Now, they have 250 members and 500 casual associates. The Canadian Kennel Club ranks the pug as the 15th most popular dog breed in Canada.
But with their increasing fame, some pugs are also paying a price. During the past few years, pug rescuers across Canada and the United States have been busy caring for stray pugs or pugs from shelters where they faced being euthanized.
Pug rescuers say some potential pug owners do not do any research on the breed and where they are buying the pugs from. Pugalug Pug Rescue adds that pug rescue agencies are swamped and drowning with abandoned pugs because many people didn’t know what they were getting into before owning a pug.
A spokeswoman for Pugalug Pug Rescue says the most common reason for giving up a pug is cost. People don’t realize that pugs may require costly veterinary bills. Besides birth defects, a pug’s eyes are easily injured which can cause corneal ulcers. Surgery can cost up to $2,000.
In 2005, Pugalug Pug Rescue had 8 pugs in the first six months. Now, they have about 70 and the number is growing. Even though pugs are cute, cuddly and affectionate, some owners cannot or do not want to deal with the high medical costs and give them up instead.
Pug rescue organizations recommend that before buying a pug, people learn what they are getting into and that they will be committing to a dog for his/her lifetime.
Pugalug provides a veterinary checkup, blood tests, vaccinations and people testing before adopting out a pug. It normally costs about $700-$800 to get a pug ready for a new home.
This spring, Pugalug made an incredible effort to save two elderly pugs, Jake, 10, and Betsy, 12 from California.
They had been taken to a shelter by their owners, who were moving and couldn’t take them. Both dogs were scheduled to be euthanized the next day. And the shelter didn’t have any interested adopters.
Within three hours, word got out and Pugalug volunteers around Canada and the United States offered to pay for the transportation of these two pugs and offered up their services.
A man from Reno, Nevada drove to California to get Jake and Betsy, fostered them for a few days until his school break, then drove them to Chicago, stopping at homes along the way for food and lodging.
A couple from the Cleveland area drove to Chicago to pick up the two pugs and took them to Toronto, where a Pugalug volunteer was waiting.
Both pugs are doing well and enjoying their new life in Canada.
To pay for rescues, Pugalug holds five major events every year: Pugentine in February, Pugtoria in late May, Surfin’ Pug in August, Pugoween in October and Pug Claus in December.
The president of Pugalug Rescue, who is the owner of a pug that was saved from being euthanized, says that he loves his pug’s snoring. When it comes to sleeping, “it is soft, gentle, rhythmic, much better than counting sheep and cheaper than a Craftmatic bed.”