Author Archives: Owen's BFF


Pug Camp 2024!


Year Eight came to us with a share of new challenges. First, we had a Board Member step down around Christmas. Then we were told by Camp Westmont that the 2024 schedule this year would cut back our time by a day. So if we wanted to keep our traditional weekend, we would have to lose Thursday. Not only would this put on a lot more pressure to get campers situated while we ourselves were arriving, we would be losing a full day of fundraising.

After considering an unpleasant option or two, we decided to move the event at the start of the season rather than the end, which cut our prep time down by nearly three months.


Changing that schedule cost us a good number of our regulars who travel from long distances and had committed to another event scheduled the week before. It was a gamble, but we hoped the change would open us up to people who had never been able to attend previously. We operated on that assumption and proceeded to plan the event calendar. Taking some camper suggestions to heart, we packed the schedule with events, shortened the running times of a few and made a few more changes while we were at it. Utilizing the Boy’s Camp to consolidate attendees and events, putting arrivals and auction drop offs in the same place and generally keeping everything livelier. The weekend arrived and we hoped for the best.

Actually, to be more accurate, we planned for the best. We wanted this to be our best Pug Camp Ever.

“That’s a tall order…”

Well, if you ask just about anyone, we accomplished it!

The weekend was a whirlwind of activities and, as usual, rain. But everyone remained in high spirits and, just as we hoped, we welcomed a great many new attendees. People who never had a chance to experience Pug Camp first hand were able to make the trip and everyone had a wonderful time!

“Price, one belly rub.”

We had eleven rescues running different events, with some new activities complimenting our usual favorites. We even had two meet and greets, which we felt was very important since we had so many new Campers.

The costume contest was great fun and some of this year’s outfits gave me belly laughs. The mimosa cart was, as always, super popular. We had Pebble Art, Pug Trivia, the Olympics and even a Hoedown!

As usual, the Camp Westmont staff took amazing care of us. We usually close out the season, this year we kicked it off and they were a little short handed. You’d never know it. Scott and Bari were on hand whenever we needed them, always happy to help or stop and chat. Of course, it wouldn’t be Pug Camp without Chef Cathy giving us the kind of food that nobody expect at an event like this. It’s always fun to see and hear the reactions of first timers as they walk out with Pasta Alfredo.

It’s truly amazing how everything fell into place and how everyone rallied to make it such an incredible event. The silent auction was a success, even battling dodgy Poconos wi-fi, but luckily, we had our crackerjack tech support on the job.

We even had a couple of special adoptions this time around. Dani Shafer of Wyoming Pug Rescue trucked a couple of Pugs cross country and united them with their new forever families. Marissa Perry and Peggy were happily united.

Not to mention Liberace, who found his home with me and Jodi.

He was a surrender from Las Vegas (hence his new name) and he immediately fit right in with his sibs Phoebe and Mugsy. Thank you so much, Dani. He’s such a loveable chonk who is the perfect McIntyre Pug!


It was an exhilarating weekend filled with love of pugs, camaraderie and fun, with so many long-time campers telling us it was our best Camp so far. Our new attendees were so thrilled to discover us and they, and we, hope they can come next year when we move back to our regular perch in August 2025. Where we hope to have record breaking attendance with both old and new friends!

Every year we strive to raise more money for rescues than the year before. Sometimes we do and sometimes it’s a struggle. This year, though, we shattered previous records and raised over $40,000.00 for Pug Squad and the participating rescues. That’s over $10k more than the previous year and when you consider we started in year one with around $15k, this is an insane number….with fewer attendees to boot! Not only do the participating rescues get to raise funds, but Pug Squad was able to replenish funds so we can continue to award grants to rescues nationwide throughout the year.

We couldn’t do this without the help of the rescues, donors, attendees and volunteers. We also want to give a huge shout out to new Pug Squad volunteers Carlene, Jamie and Joe, who were really instrumental in the planning and execution of the weekend. I personally want to extend my love and gratitude to my Squad. A finer group of people I have never met. You make this fun and I love you all.

See you all in August 2025!

Pug Camp 2024 Registration is OPEN!

Hey everyone!

Just a reminder that Pug Camp is earlier this year! Due to the schedules at schools and Camp Westmont, we had to move camp to June 6th through the 9th. But don’t worry, we’ll be back at our August perch for 2025.

We are hard at work coming up with the best schedule of events you’ve seen yet. Meanwhile, registration for Pug Camp 2024 is open now! Follow this link to join the fun!

While you’re waiting with baited pug panting for our line-up, take a look at this goodie reel from our 2022 Pug Camp!


We can’t wait to see you there!



FEATURED RESCUE: Arizona Pug Adoption & Rescue Network (APARN)


Welcome to another Pug Squad Featured Rescue! This time we would like to showcase Arizona Pug Adoption & Rescue Network (APARN). Based out of Mesa, Arizona, Terri Wood, President, Founder and unabashed Fairy Pug Mother, took a few minutes to chat with us.

“I’m sure every rescue feels they go the extra mile to make sure their pugs go to the absolute best home possible, and we are no different there,” she says. “I do believe that our creative fundraising makes us unique, in particular our Annual Cutest Pug Contest. Started in 2007, this annual fundraiser usually brings in $25,000 and provides the top 12 fundraising pugs for the following year’s calendar. We have worked with local professional photographers to provide the calendar photos, all fitting into an overall theme for the year. We started our Gimme Five program in 2011, where people are encouraged to sign up to donate $5 a month on automatic payments via PayPal.”


Like many rescues and business alike, the pandemic took its toll on and amount of work APARN is able to do. Pre-COVID, they rescued anywhere between 150 and 325 pugs annually. Now, they’re averaging around 50. However, wither it’s 50 or 500, the success stories remain.

“One of our greatest,” Terri says, “was the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement of 60 pugs from a puppy mill that the Sheriff’s Office busted in mid-November 2015. We took in pugs of all ages and issues. Some needed eye enucleations, a few had demodex mange, eye infections, ear infections, etc. There were a few pugs that needed socialization to overcome fear of people. One pug hid under the bed in her foster home for the first six months! They all got medical care and so much love.”

As with any rescue, nothing is easy and the challenges are enormous. One of APARN’s biggest is recruiting new foster homes and sometimes it feels as if it’s never enough.

“In the last 18 months, we lost 10 foster homes to out-of-state moves. There are so many rescues in the greater Phoenix area, and only so many foster homes to fill the need. So many people are afraid to foster because they believe they will get too attached to a foster pug, and be too sad to see it get adopted. We try to focus on the joys fostering brings, in addition to saving a life. Without foster homes, we just can’t take in pugs in need.”

One important point Terri brings up is the emotional toll of rescue. Often, people are unprepared for the challenge of facing the realities of rescue work. As she states, “It is heartbreaking seeing the abuse some of these babies suffer. It is important to keep the focus on the dogs, and do what is right for them, even if that means humane euthanasia when there are no other options. Rescue volunteers aren’t in it for the pay (there isn’t any) and we don’t do it to glorify ourselves; in fact, most of us are introverts who shy away from the limelight. It is all about the pugs and what is best for them.”

Terri keeps a quote by Margaret Mead to mind: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” She enjoys and takes pride in the sense of community that volunteering with APARN brings. She finds the time spent with others working toward common goals very fulfilling. “I have no doubt that working with rescue pugs over the last 22 years has made me a better person.”

As with any rescue, donations are the lifeblood of an all-donation-based group like APARN. In 2011 they started a program called Gimme Five. The goal is to enroll 2,000 people in a $5-a-month automatic donation, currently via Paypal. “Of course,” she says, “people are welcome to enroll at a higher level. Reaching the equivalent of 2,000 people donating $5 a month will provide $120,000 in annual operating funds. We are re-introducing the Gimme Five program this spring, with added incentives for those who enroll and refer others to enroll.”

Thanks Terri for taking the time and for all of the hard work that you and your volunteers do!

You can reach out to APARN via snail mail at 2747 E. University #30988, Mesa, Arizona 85203. Or send Terri an email: Please visit their website for much more information at


RECAP: Pug Camp 2022

It is hard to believe that we just finished our 6th Pug Camp. It’s our 5th at Camp Westmont, so in a way the first was kind of a shakedown; year zero as it were. But honestly, every year is a learning experience as we correct the mistakes of the prior events while making brand new ones!

Sorry, I won’t cop to any here. If you didn’t notice, then it didn’t happen.

As you all know, even though we do a number of fundraising events throughout the year, Pug Camp is our big one. It’s personally my favorite because it has the greatest in-person turnout and goes for just the right amount of days. The location is wonderful and we have time to spend with so many campers, friends and new friends alike. Not to mention all of the Pugs and honorary Pugs.

The Bonus Thursday has become a regular thing now and it’s worked out extremely well. It gives us an extra day to get ourselves on the Squad situated and set up. The added day also makes check-ins much easier.

Sunset over Camp Westmont is something to behold…

We had some wonderful events throughout the weekend. Board Game Night, Pugcasso Pug Painting where the Pugs did the art…

Signatures $5 Photo $10
“There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.”

Campfire S’Mores (always a treat) and Pug Night at the Movies. I have a soft spot for this one mostly because I love recreating the theater experience complete with pre-show theater intros. Generally, I try to entertain myself and hope at least one or two others go along for the ride! Did you catch the “Snort Subjects?” I make myself smile at any rate…

“Where me popcorn?!”

This year,we had a very special event. We had our first human wedding! Regulars Ashley and CJ exchanged vows in front of Campers, family and our furry attendees. This was, personally, my favorite event as I got to officiate! Yes, I became an Ordained Minister for the occasion (authorized to do weddings in Pennsylvania and New York) and it was an honor to start off two such amazing people on their lives together. We had perfect weather that day – all weekend actually – and it went perfectly. We even had a golf cart decked out and had a lot of great pictures taken of the couple by the lake. Truly a Camp to remember.

Beyond that, we had our traditional Olympics where Pugs competed in a variety of events; races, longest tongue and curliest tail. We all enjoyed the Costume Contest and I am always gobsmacked by the amount of imagination and talent that goes into every costume. I think every year gets just a little more elaborate.

Yeee hah!
Thankfully, no bees attempted pollination….

Saturday was kicked off with another Doga with Danielle, as she guided humans and their canine companions in a refreshing morning stretch.

Saturday night is the Pug Squad main event and, as always, we kicked it off with Candle Lighting Ceremony. This is always a tough one to get through, this year it was doubly hard as we paid tribute to our own Marianne Angelini who passed away last October.

Always missed…
Love you, Mare…







After that, the mood was lightened considerably with the Mr./Mrs. Pug Camp Pageant. In addition to all of that, we had our raffle and the weekend was peppered with the photo booth, a tie dye crafting event and the silent auction.

Ready for a close up…





Of course, none of this would be nearly as enjoyable without the fabulous Camp Westmont staff. They’ve truly become family and part of the weekend and we can’t thank them enough. Particularly Scott, Bari and, of course, Chef Cathy, who always makes sure we have an amazing menu. Her staff was incredible and even contributed a wedding cake!

We can’t thank our donors and attendees enough either. In a very challenging economy, we still raised an impressive $35K, all of which goes the rescues and Pug Squad, which will help save so many needy Pugs across the country!

Pug Camp 2022 was one of the very best Pug Camp’s we’ve done to date, a true success in every way and all of us in Pug Squad want to express our gratitude. We miss you all and can’t wait for Pug Camp 2023!!!

See you next year!!!


It’s been a minute since we turned our metaphorical Bat-Pug Signal on a rescue, so I’m happy to single out Kentuckiana Pug Rescue. KPR, like all the orgs we spotlight, is a volunteer-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit rescue organization. They have made the commitment to assist all Pugs in need in and around Indiana, Kentucky as well as helping out in Ohio and Illinois. They have a solid presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and their website is peppered with squishy little Pug mugs to “aww” at.


They have a dedicated group of foster homes who house their pugs until they find loving forever homes. They take in any Pug regardless of age or health issues and generally take in 45 – 75 Pugs per year.

When asked about their greatest success stories, KPR President, Annie Faircloth, said “[that’s] hard to choose! Captain had been our biggest medical case! Currently his bills have totaled over 14k. We pulled him from a shelter in Ohio with a fractured (in several places) pelvis and eye injury. We also were part of a group of rescues who brought Pugs over from China that had been saved from a horrifying fate. Or Lazarus, who was believed dead but showed signs of life when being scooped up with a shovel off a driveway. He was so flea infested you could not determine coat color. He was so weak and anemic, he literally could not support his own body weight. After a few weeks, though, he was happy and healthy and was adopted by a fabulous family!”

Naturally, like all rescues, the biggest challenges they face are finding volunteers, foster homes and raising money. And yet, she feels every drop of sweat is worth it.

“It’s not an easy job but it is a labor of love. There are sad days… but there are more good days so you cling to those happy days to get u to oh thru the rough days!” What she really loves about volunteering is “seeing the joy in the faces of Adopters and Pugs as they placed. It’s a pretty amazing feeling!”

They have a number of events coming up this year. If you’re in the area, or feel like taking a road trip, head on down to the 2022 Fort Wayne PUGfest on Saturday, June 25th. They have a Foster Pug parade, amazingly adorable contests, Pug Races, Costume Contests, raffles and even a Pug Hula. The entry fee is $5 per person or $15 per family. All proceeds go to KPR.

Then they have their annual PUGtoberfest on October 8th. In addition to some of the events at the PUGfest, they have a pie eating contest and a variety of human events, too!

Naturally, in addition to attending events and spreading the word, the best way to help any rescue is to donate. Wither it’s time or money, KPR would absolutely appreciate anything you can contribute. As Annie says, “Rescues depend on the support of Volunteers! Can’t donate money? Give up some time! Transport… Home Visits… working Events. There are many ways to be supportive.”

If you want to learn more about the work KPR does, go to their website and check out their events or look at their pugs, shoot on over to their website. Tell ‘em Pug Squad sent you!


In Memoriam: Marianne Angelini

On October 20th, we lost founding board member Marianne Angelini after a roughly year long struggle with cancer. Mare had been involved in rescue since she adopted her pug Tammy from Curly Tail in 2009 and volunteered for the organization shortly thereafter. Over the years, from Curly Tail through Pug Squad, she helped save countless furry lives.

The last few years have been marked by devastating losses in our community, but this cuts particularly deep. Mare had been with the Squad since the first “Hey, we have an idea” discussions after Curly Tail Pug Rescue folded. All of us on the board knew her since those earlier days, some longer than others, but we all considered her to be part of our family.

I will always remember her straight shooting attitude, how she never suffered fools gladly and her bawdy sense of humor. She could cut you dead with a glare and she was quick to use the middle finger emoji in text messages, but her heart was warm and welcoming. You never wanted to be on her bad side, and trust me, there were times when I absolutely and gleefully poked that bear. Mostly because her cutting rejoinders and deadly gaze were incredibly funny. She was a good sport and knew where it was coming from. She was a City Girl, after all.

For the last few years, those of us on the board close enough to make the trip would spend Christmas Eve together. Dinner, drinks and then Cards Against Humanity would be the tradition. Mare had been around the block a few times and offending her was difficult, but having her read the cards out loud was easily the highlight of the game. She would rarely be able to get through them without laughing hysterically. Which made us laugh just as hard. It would take too long to explain here, but there were some cards that just became “hers.” Buy me a drink at the next Pug Camp and I’ll tell you the whole story.

Her loss is deeply felt by all of us.

Nadine: I’m not going to share an anecdote or funny story about Marianne, most have been shared by others already. I am going to share how much I miss her, how much her being gone has affected me. I catch myself thinking about her often and at random times, walking the dogs or just thinking about the holiday season. I feel the empty space she has left deeply. My friend is no longer here. I have to say that to myself sometimes to accept that reality, but my love for her will always be.

Danielle: I loved her completely authentic attitude, her vulgar sass (our common thread) and her passion. I loved and appreciated exactly who she was and will miss the shit out of her and her infectious laugh.

Jodi: It’s hard for me to think of just one memory. We became friends through rescue and built on that friendship over the years. We would laugh…we would cry…would get mad…I smile when I think of her. Christmas Eve will never be the same. I miss you Marianne, plain and simple. I hope you know that we loved you. Rest easy my friend.

Mare was a devoted mom to Nikki and their two pugs Bentley and David. Mare and Nikki were friends as much as mother/daughter. They were inseparable. With that in mind, I’ll close with a quote from the last text conversation I had with Marianne:

“I am so proud of Nikki because I’m basically useless right now. At least I know I did one thing right in this lifetime.”

You did a lot right, Mare. We’ll always love you, miss you and remember.


Pug Camp Year Five!

Time, amirite? We flew through the height of the pandemic, we then spent months focused on the China Pugs…now we find ourselves only a month away from Pug Camp 2021! That’s insane. Well, no worries, we are right on course. We have all the events lined up and this year is gonna be packed with activities.

Last year, we were just hoping to have a good time and maybe have a decent showing. We were all still reeling from the Covid-19 outbreak, the other cancelled events and making sure we were keeping as safe as possible. We considered ourselves lucky to be able to even hold the event at all. So many others great Pug events had to cancel, but we held steady and thankfully, we were able to go forward. Pug Camp 2020 was an incredibly good time. Everyone was just so happy to get out and get together, and even with attendance down, we broke fundraising records.

We are hoping to do even better in year five.

Let that sink in a sec….

This is Pug Camp YEAR FIVE! Our fourth at Camp Westmont and they love having all of us as much as we love being there.

So, what’s on tap this year? Well, like last year, we’re adding on Thursday for people who want an extra day. That worked out really well, not only for attendees, but for us on the Squad. There was more time to set up and get situated so when everyone started checking in, it ran very smoothly. That first night will have a live sale and Board Game night. Friday, again for the early arrivals, we’ll have Red Light, Green Light and Paint by Numbers in

between Breakfast and Lunch. Then the Friday arrivals check in and the weekend officially begins!

Raffles, a barbecue, s’mores by the campfire, movie night, Doga with Danielle, a click training session, Pug Olympics, the Costume Contest, Crafting, a “Fashion Forward” fashion show, Team Pictionary and, of course,  the Candle Lighting Ceremony (this is gonna be a tough one). There will be free time to enjoy the lake and the pool. You can grab a kayak and row for awhile, take pictures by the water on the colorful Adirondack chairs, go to every event or go to none of them! Just enjoy the pugs and the peeps and have an amazing weekend in the mountains.

Shoot on over to the website for the official rundown of the events and times. 

I’m not one for taking a lot of trips. You won’t see me on a beach near the equator, along the canals of Venice or hiking in the Andes. Most of the trips are day runs, maybe heading a few hours North to hit a dog friendly winery or brewery. So this is generally my vacation. A working vacation, to be sure, but a trip I look forward to every year. We’re hopeful the weather holds out and we have clear skies. However, even with uncooperative weather, we always have fun.

It’s not too late to sign up. We still have bunks (the private bunks are long sold out) and plenty of room. Come on down and join us as we celebrate five years of sleepaway fun, mimosa’s and s’mores!

Go to our Pug Camp website to register if you haven’t already!

See you at the lake!


Cinderella's Sweeties

It takes a special kind of personality to work in the rescue community. It takes an even more stout constitution to actually found and run your own rescue. From an outsider’s perspective, it probably seems like it’ll be relatively easy to rescue adorable little Pug puppies and dole them out to waiting adoptees. After over a decade as a volunteer, I know the realities are much different.

You have to deal with nasty and uncaring surrendering owners, egos from competing rescues and hundreds – if not thousands – of people who question your motives. Members of personality cults who try to sabotage your efforts or savage your rep, crushing you under the wheels of their devotion to their leader. When it comes to the dogs themselves, rarely do you see happy little puppies waiting for homes; you have to face the harsh realities of the results being raised in puppy mills, dogs who have dealt with years of abuse and neglect simply so they can feed consumer demand and stock Pet Stores with young product. Then there are the owners who suddenly have children and “can’t handle” the responsibility of a dog, or who discard their one time faithfull best friends simply because they’re old. So when someone decides to start a brand new rescue, especially just before a major coordinated initiative like Saving the China Pugs, it deserves mention.

Jessica Aliff, the President and founder of Cinderella’s Pug Rescue, has been a Pug mom for many years. She says, “I first went into rescue because my first pug showed me how amazing it was to have the love of a pug. I wanted everyone to know that kind of love. I wanted every pug to find the best forever family.”

Cinderella is based out of Southington, CT and covers a wide area, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. However, they wouldn’t rule out adopting in other areas depending on the circumstances.

Cinderella Pug Rescue’s focus is on the senior and special needs Pugs. “Although we want to help any pug in need,” Jessica says, “senior and/or special needs pugs […]have so much love left to give and we want to be a part of their journey in finding the perfect place to enjoy their golden years.”

It can take a while for the average rescue to ramp up to full steam and just a few months in, but for Cinderella Pug Rescue, it was a case of “right place, right time.”

As anyone who follows this blog or Pug Rescue in general knows, a cooperation of rescue groups have been formed to bring over the Pugs rescued from the China Meat Trade, see that they get medical attention and then eventually made available for adoption. Cinderella’s Pug Rescue has taken four of the Cina Pugs and for an organization so small and new, this is a huge undertaking. It’s also a great start toward their goal to help twenty Pugs in their first year.

Jessica says, “If we beat that goal, even better! Being asked to join the mission to rescue pugs from China as our very first intake dogs has been quite a success story! What a way to kick things off for us! While we couldn’t take as many pugs as the other rescues, we are proud to have done our small part. The four dogs we saved will live the rest of their lives being loved and spoiled- as they should be.”

As with any rescue, the biggest challenge to face is fundraising. Medical needs, especially for the seniors, are always unpredictable. Pugs are well known to have eye problems, hip dysplasia, and respiratory issues. Not to mention the typical problems associated with age and neglect that come with cast off Pugs. As we all know, medical costs are a heavy burden and as a rescue, Cinderella’s Pug Rescue needs to make sure dogs are treated and as healthy as possible before going to their forever homes

As for dealing with those personality issues mentioned at the top of this blog, Jessica wants to remind people that everyone in rescue is a volunteer.

“Most of us have full time jobs and families- don’t be so hard on us if we can’t respond immediately. Also, each rescue truly wants what’s best for each dog in their care. If your application isn’t chosen to adopt a certain dog- know that it’s not anything you did or didn’t say or do. It just means another applicant fit the dog’s needs and behaviors better at this time.”

“What I love most, though, is the amazing people I have met through rescue. Many of these people have become the most important people to me. They have shown me what pure goodness and selflessness looks like. They inspire me every day to keep working hard to save as many pugs as possible.”

The best way you can help them in that nission is by “donating or participating in fundraisers; volunteering for transports, home visits, or other roles within the rescue so that all of the responsibilities do not fall on one person’s shoulders. Also, even if you aren’t interested in a particular fundraiser, or you can’t help with a party transport, be willing to share it with others who might be interested.”

To help out or if you want more information, feel free to reach out to Jessica. Those of us at Pug Squad have known Jess for years and wish her great success!

Cinderella’s Pug Rescue
Jessica Aliff, President

360-B Queen Street #191
Southington, CT 06489
United States

Click here to to go their website

Milo Day!

by Pug Squad Volunteer Jennifer Popovich

Sometimes you sit back and reflect on why you are here…how did yoMilo!u get here…what is your why…what rules your passion.

As I sit back and reflect on my Pug Squad Journey, it all comes back to this little man. A little pug named Milo.

I was involved in animal rescue before Milo. I was active in a local shelter and fostering special needs animals. A fellow volunteer, knowing that my pugs are my world, reached out to me to ask if I’d consider taking in a hospice foster. That is when my life changed.

Milo was a 10 year old pug with an inoperable tumor in his nasal cavity. That tumor tested positive for Mast Cell cancer. He was given a prognosis of only a few weeks to a few months to live. My heart sank. No animal should die alone and unloved in a shelter. But a pug? My world was shattered.

I immediately agreed. Soon after, this small, meek but full of life pug entered my home and my world. That is when I truly

 learned the goodness of the pug community.

The pug community is a community unlike any other. They rally around all pugs, being there to assist. People from all over the United States donated to this small Pittsburgh based rescue to donate to his care. A wonderful organization named Pug Squad reached out and offered him a mini grant.

Fueled by this outpouring of love, I was determined to make sure that Milo’s limited time was filled with life. I created a bucket list. I wanted to him to make it to Pugs Take Chicago. I wanted him to go to the first Pug Camp. Given his prognosis, I felt selfish to ask for much more.

Yet, the strangest thing happened: Milo thrived.

He survived a few weeks, then a few months, and now a few years. Sunday, March 28, 2021 is the fourth Milo Day. Milo is now 14 years old. He is full of life. His tumor, which is being treated holistically, is shrinking. He’s now just a little old

man pug having little old man pug issues, and I am blessed to still have him here to navigate these basic, normal senior problems. Four years ago I never would have dreamed that would have happened.

While Milo was thriving, I notice that something changed within me. I began to thrive too. I found my true purpose. After receiving the outpouring of love and generosity from Pug Squad, and the pug community as a whole, I decided to pay it forward. I dedicated myself to rescue, helping those with special needs like Milo. I became involved in Pug Squad and now count the other members of my family. I’ve been able to be involved in big things, such as helping to save over 130 pugs from the meat trade in China. I’ve made so many friends, both furry and human and helping fundraise for rescues at Pug Camp. My life has changed dramatically and for the better, all because of one little senior and special needs pug.

Happy 4th Milo Day, Buddy. Looking forward to hopefully many more. Thank you for starting me on this wild and wonderful adventure.

Countdown to Pug Camp 2021!

Just like that, we’re less than six months away from Pug Camp. We’re still seeing events being cancelled this year due to the ongoing concerns about COVID-19. Those events, as much as we love them, tend to be in closer quarters. That makes it much more difficult to be socially distant. Pugapalooza, for example, is a compact event, tending to be crowded in the confines of Wonder Bar as people mill about with their pugs and go from table to table. Or inside for food and Rum Buckets (man, I miss Rum Buckets). Sadly, Pugapalooza is suffering another cancellation this year, but we’re hopeful for a return in 2022 with a bigger celebration than ever.

Fear not, Pug Camp 2021 is on!

Pixel cannot wait!

Pug Camp 2020 was an incredible success. Because it is primarily an outdoor event spanning the entirety of Camp Westmont, we were able to keep socially distant more easily and masked up when indoors. As I previously, and proudly, reported, we broke fund raising records right smack in the middle of the pandemic. People were so incredibly happy to get out and do something and the Pug Rescue community has a reputation for being extremely generous. We also had a very high number of first-time attendees, people who were so thrilled to be there and had such a good time, they are looking forward to coming again this year.

To say I’m eagerly looking forward to this year’s event is an understatement. We’ve all been through a lot since August and this will be the getaway we’ve been waiting for – as always. We’re going to have the extra day again this year since it worked out so well last time. We will have the entire camp to ourselves agin, so we can really spread out and relax. Registration opened this week and the response has – once again – broken records. All of the Private Cabins sold out in just a few hours. However, there are plenty of bunks available, so please keep registering.

We are still planning the events, but the favorites will all be there: the Meet and Greet, Movie Night, the Costume Contest and Pug Olympics will all be held, as will the auction and candle lighting ceremony, which will be very hard this year. Don’t mind me, I’ll be the drunk guy sobbing while trying to talk.

“I broke his spirit and his body!”

I have to say, I’m looking forward to getting away, seeing all of my rescue friends, and spending time at the lake. Hopefully, the weather will allow us a good-sized bonfire for s’mores and laughter. Jodi and I don’t do a lot of traveling, so this is our yearly getaway. Spending it with people I consider family really elevates the experience. I joke among the Pug Squad board members that we should do it for a full week. I get all sorts of crap flung at me because the amount of work and effort will probably kill us, but man, the weekend goes far too quickly. What’s crazy is that this is going to be year five already, our fourth at Camp Westmont. Let that sink in for a second: YEAR FIVE! What started as a “hey, you know what might be fun” idea has blossomed into a major event that just keeps on growing. Everyone seems to have a really good time and there are few, if any, personality issues.

Pug Camp is a labor of love by all of us and we’re always so gratified when we have such a tremendous response. Every year we drive home on a high, closing out an event that is filled with people who love a good time, love to raise money and, most of all, who love Pugs.

Click the link to register. I can’t wait to see you all there.

Butkus cannot contain his excitement

Also, please remember, we’re still actively raising money to help bring the China Pugs over. Please consider donating at our simple website to alleviate that burden. So many rescues are involved, but they need your help. You can also sponsor a pug through the Freedom Flight fundraiser. Please help out any way that you can. If you can’t donate, spread the word! It’s too big a job for one person or rescue. Please follow us on all of our social media platforms to keep up with all of the raffles and fundraising opportunities. Thank you so much! Love to you all!

Help the China Pugs

Help The China Pugs!

When you work in the rescue community, you tend to grow a little used to horror stories and human cruelty toward animals. Sometimes you shake your head at how human minds work and often you feel disgust at the heartlessness of people. Sometimes it has to do with neglectful owners or the Amish and their puppy mills.

But there’s a special place in hell for the people in the China Meat Trade.

I’ll be honest, I was pretty ignorant about it until recently. I’ve been so focused on the American puppy mills and pet stores and people who insisted on shopping over adopting. Or those who would leave their dogs out in cold weather or discard a senior because he or she was “too old.” Suddenly, however, the “China Pugs” started getting my attention and I needed to know the backstory. What I discovered was horrifying. I almost wish I still had my head in the sand. 

The meat trade in Asia is huge. According to the estimation is, in China alone, 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are slaughtered for the dog meat trade each year.  And no, they’re not even slightly nice about it.

Acording to the Animals Asia website:

The dog meat industry has long claimed that it farms dogs for their meat, boasting more than 100 registered ‘dog meat farms’.

But in 2015, a four-year undercover investigation by Animals Asia into the Chinese dog meat trade exposed these claims as false. None of its registered ‘farms’ had more than 30 dogs on-site and such small scale operations cannot possibly meet such a demand.

Some dog meat farms had even been registered under multiple names to manipulate figures, and cover-up the widespread dog and cat thefts which sustains this dirty industry.

Where do these extra dogs come from of the numbers discovered don’t match the claims?

Dog and cats of all varieties, often family pets, are snatched from their families. Still wearing their collars, they are forced in to very small cages and transported great distances without food or water. When they reach their final destination at dog meat markets, they are forced to witness other dogs being bludgeoned to death or tossed still alive into vats of boiling water to remove their skins.

Read. That. Again.

Dogs. Cats. People’s pets. Every breed. For their meat. They are largely pets stolen and tortured to death. For money. The depth of inhumanity is unimaginable.

Why am I making you read this horror? Because right now there are hundreds of dogs coming over from China. Because right now there are 103 Pugs and 28 French Bulldogs waiting to be rescued from this horrible fate. Pugs. Frenchies. Those sweet, squishy faced little clowns we love so much. The cost to transport them is enormous. Over $1000 per dog just to get to get them here. It’s an impossible job for one person or rescue. It’s just not feasible for a single organization to fund and coordinate so massive an undertaking. Therefore, multiple people and rescues are mobilizing to help. They need your help as well. They need donations like never before. Once here, each dog needs to be medically checked and issues addressed. You know they’re going to need medical care. They’ll also need to be fostered and then adopted out. The cost is unfathomable. With this in mind, Pug Squad is partnering with many rescues to help raise funds and spread awareness.

Rescues we are working with personally are:

Pug Nation Rescue of Los Angeles
PugHearts Houston Pug Rescue
Pug Rescue of New England (PRoNE)
Green Mountain Pug Rescue
Buffalo Pug and Small Breed Rescue
Cinderella’s Pug Rescue

We have set up a simple website to make it easy for you to get your donation to the right place.  It really doesn’t matter who you send your donation to, as long as it’s truly going to a rescue who will help. As long as these dogs are saved, choose whoever you wish. If you have any questions about the legitimacy of a rescue or an individual, you can reach out to any of us at Pug Squad. Please donate what you can or simply spread the word. Be one of the hundreds of heroes who are working to save these angels from a horrific fate.

Please follow us on social media to stay up to date on this massive rescue effort. Thank you so much for your help.

A Personal Pause

 Well, here we are into 2021 and I’m going to be flat out honest, I had a hard time with this blog post. I probably should be talking about Pug Rescue of Korea and a few of the grants we awarded recently. However, I kept hitting road blocks and since this isn’t a “BlogBot” behind the scenes, I needed to pause from the business and talk about something personal.

In the last blog in October, I reflected on the dumpster fire that was 2020. COVID-19 came crashing down. Cancelled events, quarantine, businesses shutting down and the absolutely abominable loss of life.  And then there were the Pug losses. Cosmo!, the Mega E Pup was the kickoff for us, then Bella, Danielle’s best friend and her reason for becoming involved in rescue. This was a huge blow to us all. We miss that Sassy girl.

We hoped to get through the rest of the year unscathed. Why not? We made it ten months into the year, what else could go wrong?

I have learned to never ask that question again.

On November 14th, Jodi and I had a sudden and engulfing electrical fire which spread faster than we could have thought possible. Jodi was able to save Butkus and Kirby, as well as me, but she suffered second degree burns in the process and our home was destroyed. Much worse, two of our treasured pugs, Max and Anthony, were lost in the fire. This is a loss so devastating, I still can’t process it. We had Max since he was a puppy and Anthony, much like Danielle’s Bella, was responsible for us jumping into the rescue world. Max was a Velcro pug who delighted in giving kisses and getting rubs. He was devoted to his mommy but loved his daddy, too. Anthony was well known as the Mayor of Pug Town. He would roam events with his funny saunter and give drive by ankle kisses. He would fall asleep sitting up because he hated missing out on anything. Losing our babies would be horrible in any event, but it wasn’t their time and they took a huge piece of our hearts when they died.

Ever fall into a hole so large and so deep that almost no light can penetrate the darkness? That was us for a time. However, there was a light. A bright one. It was the enormous group of people who rushed to our side whether in spirit or in person, to make sure we were okay. Even when we weren’t much fun, even when the tears flowed freely, they were there.

We never would have gotten though it without our Squad. Let me tell you a little about them.

Many of us didn’t know each other before we got involved in rescue. Most of us came together out of the ashes of Curly Tail Pug Rescue and didn’t have a crap-ton in common at that time. We formed Pug Squad and after a shakedown year and some streamlining, we wound up with a smaller group, but one more focused. And along the way we became true friends.

A few weeks after the fire, Jodi and I secured a rental where we can hang our figurative hats until our home was rebuilt. An empty, unfurnished house. I don’t know if you’ve had to rebuild from scratch, but having to rebuy every household item from the ground up gets old quickly. The weekend after we moved in, our Squad shows up with “a few things for the house.”

A few things, did I say?

Two truckloads of items. Tables, chairs, appliances, silverware, and flatware…almost everything you can think of. They organized a collection and hundreds of people contributed. And they didn’t let us do anything. They set it all up and had lunch delivered.

It was a huge thing. We were in tears.

Did I say we were friends? I was wrong. We’re family.

Jodi’s burns have healed so much better than we expected and while the loss still hurts, we’re moving forward. We’re rebuilding and rededicating ourselves in Max and Anthony’s memory. Honestly, I didn’t intend for this first blog post of the year to be this self-indulgent. However, I couldn’t write about anything else until I had a chance to brag about my people.

To all of you out there who contributed and offered your help, who reached out, who comforted, who sent remembrances, good wishes and prayers, we thank you.

Most of all, thank you my Squad: Danielle, Marianne, Nikki, Shawna, Jennifer, Renee and especially my VEEP Nadine, who checked on me every day for weeks as I went from place to place while Jodi had to deal with her burns. Separated and alone, on my father-in-law’s couch with the two dogs, Nade texted and called daily until I was solid enough to function again. Just know Jodi and I love you all. You are the finest people I have ever known.

The next blog will be more traditional. I promise. May this year bring us greater peace and the ability to help even more Pugs.

What a Year


2020 has been a crazy year, amirite? So many of us went into January energized, ready to kick off a whole new decade with positivity and determination. Then, out of nowhere, Covid-19 came crashing down on the world and put a stop to civilization. It has impacted everyone; businesses large and small, families, non-profits…everyone. The losses have been staggering. I can probably take up 18 blog posts with a list of who suffered and how, but focusing on the Pug World brings it into sharper focus.

Crazy Cosmo – The MegaE Pup

With so many people taking hits as jobs cut their staff, people worked fewer hours and the economy crumbled, fund raising was practically unheard of. Veterinarians began having curbside appointments and, at best, only one family member was permitted inside at a time – particularly difficult when saying final goodbyes. Taking on the burden of adopting pugs became secondary to caring to sick loved ones. Beyond that, our own little community suffered so many Pug and Honorary Pug passings. The McIntyre Gumble lost Cosmo!, the Mega E pup, the day New York went into lockdown. A blessing in disguise, since he never would have been able to do curbside appointments. He was so wound up and attached to his mom, being dragged into the office without her would have given him a coronary. We hated to say goodbye, but the timing was as good as it could have been.

Other losses to the Pug Squad family included sweet Bella, Igor Pugdog, Stellie, Lulu, Finn, Nikki, Momma …good lord, the list goes on. It was a series of gut punches in a year of pummeling body blows.

Bella Girl

Pugapalooza, the annual event in Asbury Park, NJ, was cancelled, which was a huge disappointment to so many folks. It was crushing to lose the fundraising fun at the beach, the Pug Pink Promenade, and – of course – the rum buckets at Wonder Bar. However, in the middle of all this craziness, to our great relief, we were able to actually have Pug Camp at the end of August. We lost a third of our attendees and had to cancel two events, so we weren’t looking to break any fundraising records. We just wanted to finally have a fun get together and an escape from 2020.

Well, never say the Pug Rescue community isn’t generous. Pug Camp 2020 smashed the fundraising totals of previous years. Volunteers from other rescues stepped up to run some events to save them from cancellation. The auction was a major success with people bidding and bidding (and bidding!) on even the smallest items. We had the usual Olympics, the costume contest and even a Pug Wedding! The final amount raised for participating rescues and Pug Squad was $23,471.91! With this money, not only were the rescues in attendance funded, Pug Squad was back in a position where we are able to award grants for rescues and pugs in need!

After that, we partnered with One Hope wines and those fundraisers have been very successful (never underestimate the passion for wine – especially this year).  Virtual meetings and online charity efforts are the order of the day and, as usual, the rescue community has been tremendously generous. And the year isn’t over yet. We still have our virtual Holiday Party to look forward to.

I do want to pause for a moment and address the anxiety so many people have been dealing with. There are so many emotionally taxing events populating the year, from social to health to political. These are passionately held issues and emotions generally run high in times like these. How we react to the world and events unfolding around us is important. We should remember that we are all together on this giant blue spinning orb in space. Social Media has given millions of people a voice and a platform. The impersonal nature of words on a screen can cause many to forget the person on the other side. We react to these words with our own perceptions and preconceived notions. If you are feeling defensive, you will attach a tone to it which may not exist. On the other hand, often not being face to face with someone emboldens a person to the point of belligerence. What helps me react to an opposing viewpoint is to pretend I am face to face with them. Sometimes I just don’t rise to the bait. No matter what, it’s not worth a friendship to give a hasty and emotional response. It costs us nothing to be reasonable, polite and respectful. The world needs kindness now more than ever. This is a philosophy we on the board of Pug Squad live by. Honesty, respect and compassion. We survive adversity together because we love and respect one another. While I don’t expect everyone to love everyone else on the planet, respect should be assumed until you have reason otherwise. We’re all on edge. We are stronger as a unit. Let’s all remember that we have to face each other once the various crises have passed.

End of speech.

In closing, I can’t let this retrospective end without expressing the tremendous pride I feel toward my Squad. Every one of my friends has been hugely dedicated to raising money and helping Pugs and recues from one end of the country to the other. We wouldn’t be half the organization we are without our shared passion. I am very lucky to consider them friends, partners and family. Thank you Nadine, Jodi, Danielle, Marianne, Nikki, Renee, Jennifer and Shawna.

And thank all of YOU for being so generous and for all of your work and love.

With great appreciation,

Scott McIntyre – Pug Squad President

Featured Rescue: Guardian Angels Pug Rescue


We are thrilled to turn the spotlight on Guardian Angels Pug Rescue for our new Featured Rescue. Guardian Angels was one of the first Pug rescues on the east coast. Founded in 1987 and still going strong today, Guardian Angels Pug Rescue saves Pugs, Pug mixes and Pugwannabes (a term they affectionately call any dog that isn’t a Pug) when space allows. Also, Guardian Angels Pug Rescue aids in educating the public on proper animal/pet care and what is expected from an owner in regular daily care, veterinary care and emergency care.

WobbieGuardian Angels covers Pennsylvania, parts of Ohio, WV, MD, NY, surrounding areas as needed and as space allows. They have saved hundreds of pugs during the over 30 years since Patti Levay founded the organization. One of their greatest success stories is Wobbie the Pug. According to Patti, “Wobbie was born in a Mennonite Puppy Mill in Ohio, where she was destined to die a horrible death as she was born with hydrocephalus. After telling friends that I was full, and please don’t call me if they find any Pugs in this mill that needs rescued as my heart would break knowing I didn’t have the room, I received a photo text from my friend. In the text was a photo of the tiniest Pug, with the largest head I’ve ever seen.” Her friend mentioned the little pug was on her way to be euthanized. Patti immediately called her and had her friend being the pug to her.

“The little one would topple over as the weight of her head pulled her tiny body forward or sideways knocking the poor puppy to the ground. I had to help, I agreed to take her into my rescue and seek help for her. I named her Wobbie (pronounced Wuubie) because this is the sound she made when she tried to bark, it also reminded me of her being off balance.” The local neurologist reported that there wasn’t much hope. “She shouldn’t have survived as long as she did as Wobbie only has 1/4″ live brain tissue at the base of her skull and 1/8′ live brain tissue at the top and she had an open fontanel; meaning any bump to the head could kill her.

“The rest of her skull was full of spinal fluid. Surgery would be too risky as she wasn’t strong enough to survive, so they put her on meds and I drove the 4 1/2 hour drive back home with Wobbie. Then the meds they put her on lowered her immune system, causing pneumonia, again I drove to OSU with Wobbie almost dying in my lap, and again, they didn’t think she would survive. however, I knew little Wobbie is a fighter, so I told them do everything they could, she would pull through.. A few days later I made the drive again to go pick up Wobbie. Today she still has seizures from time to time from the hydrocephalus, but she is now 6 years old!! Wobbie has beaten the odds, she is a fighter, a survivor! I love this little puppy mill rescue!!”

Like many other organization s, the biggest challenge Guardian Angels faces is getting the money to continue to Rescue properly. “This involves not only the initial rescue, but the veterinary bills. Especially for the special needs Rescues or the injured or abused, neglected Rescues I take into Rescue. The initial veterinary visit costs from $45 – $58 just to walk through the door depending on which veterinary practice will take the Rescue on short notice. This is not to mention all the money spent on vaccines, heartworm tests, blood work ups, x-rays, spays and neutering and, when I am able, micro-chipping! Then there are the daily expenses of food, medicines, and keeping the shelter clean and repairs made as needed to make sure we can keep the rescues safe, comfortable and happy.”

Everyone has their reasons for starting, running or volunteering for a rescue. Patti has some very strong thoughts about what drives her. “If you want to do rescue, do it for the right reason – to save the animals and not for the so called glory, for praise or for bragging rights. It is hard, time consuming, heart wrenching and heart breaking at times, yet the rewards you feel in your heart when you know you saved that animal is the best feeling in the world. Knowing the unconditional love I receive from each Rescue I’ve helped… to feel the rescue sigh and relax, knowing the rescue knows it is finally safe… that feeling is unmatched by anything else.”

If you want to help Guardian Angels in their continued mission to save as many pugs as they can, please consider sending them a donation. Money is always needed, but if you’re local, and you wish to donate your time, Patti would welcome inquires about what physical help they need. Just a few hours a week could make the biggest difference in a pug’s life.

Guardian Angels Pug Rescue is based out of Latrobe, PA and you can contact Patti via e-mail.

A Day In the Life of the Average American Grumble

Grumble Life

The sun rises slowly over the flatness that is Long Island, light breaking through the trees. Birds sing softly as they awaken from their nightly slumber. Inside the house, the only sound is that of the snoring of pugs. Anthony and Dexter curl by the foot of the bed. Alexis and Max huddle against Jodi. Butkus presses against my side and Cosmo sleeps between my head and the wall, his chin resting on his own pillow. The peace is rudely broken not by an alarm but by the sudden lurching of Cosmo’s vomiting. All mental cobwebs are instantly cleared as we rocket from the bed to avoid the onslaught of pug regurgitation. This is life with a Mega E Pug. This is the start of a normal day in the life of the Average American Grumble.

pug on the beachYes, a group of pugs is called a grumble. I didn’t make that up, but it’s freaking adorable. Particularly because pugs are generally the least “grumbly” breed of dog (although we have had exceptions). Goofy and mischievous, the pug is a source of smiles and amusement. And, like peanuts, we can’t have just one. Or even three. We’re insane, so right now we have six. And one of them is projectile vomiting because he was born with Megaesophagus. Mega E, according to PetMD, “is a generalized enlargement of the esophagus with a decreased to absent motility.” In other words, food goes to the wrong place, often the lungs, and Cosmo has to “regurge” or – worse – he aspirates and pneumonia is a real possibility. These days, poor Cos has been struggling. Lots of coughing and sleepless nights. Today, he’s kicking the day off with energy and a real sense of purpose. We unbend from our pretzel shapes, ignore the popping joints and start our day. Yes – all six sleep in the bed with us. I’m not crazy, you’re crazy.

It’s almost 6:30 anyway, so five of them go into the yard to do to their thing. I carry Butkus, because he’s mostly blind and deaf and it would be half past Christmas before he actually found his way to the back door. Alexis has to be nudged because our First Pug is getting up there in age. One eye is blind with cataract and the other is nearly caught up. Max, Anthony and Dexter, though, are excited to bound outside on a chilly morning. Cosmo stops and get his first pill of the day, the one we hope will ease his constant hacking. A half pill every 8 hours, wrapped in roast beef, a pill pocket or cream cheese. On a good day, he’ll suck it down. On a bad one, he takes some coaxing. On an awful day, he doesn’t want it at all. He’s feeling pretty good, so he takes it and runs outside to join his siblings. Since he’s our most medically challenged pug, he comes back in quickly and gets another medication for his Mega E which needs to settle for 20 minutes before he eats. From there it’s a mad rush as Jodi makes their home-cooked breakfast and I run around putting belly bands on four of them. Yeah, we have markers. And when pug marks, it’s a free for all. Clearly, we don’t ever have guests…

At mealtime, our house sounds like a kennel with all the barking and whining. I keep expecting the ASPCA or the town to show up. Food and meds are done and everyone gets their own bowl. Cosmo has a special elevated bowl with soaked food. Anthony gets chicken because his IBS can’t handle much else. Dex gets beef because he’s allergic to poultry. Butkus had a prescription food for his UTI and crystals, but he’s a picky eater, so we wound up drenching it in chicken broth. Thankfully, he’s better now and just has chicken. Alexis and Max are letting us off easy, but you risk royal displeasure if you don’t give Alexis her food in the pink bowl. Finally, we have the peaceful relative silence of pugs eating. Five minutes to get dressed; Butkus gets his drops for dry eye, Cosmo gets wiped down and we hope he doesn’t throw up his food – it’s a crap shoot.

The peace is suddenly shattered. Dexter launches at Butkus for no apparent reason. Dexter is a tank with a strong jaw, so Jodi grabs him while I dive for Butkus, who is yelping in surprise and terror. We got lucky; no blood today. Dexter looks up at us with his most innocent look and vigorous wagging of his curly tail. It’s hard to stay mad as this handsome bully.
We set up the iPad cameras and then separate them for the day. Dexter, who loves to pick a fight just a bit too much, goes in his crate. Alexis, Max and Anthony head to the back of the house to sit in the sun. Cosmo and Butkus get the living room where they snuggle on a good day. If Butkus is feeling bold, he claims the dog bed for himself. Treats all around and Jodi and I leave for work for the day.

Well, Jodi does. I shoot back at lunch to give Cosmo his 8 hour dose and let them out – thankfully I work only 10 minutes away. Butkus sleeps the sleep of the deaf until he catches my scent. Then he wanders trying to find me. If I’m feeling like a scoundrel (most of the time), I dodge him and let him search. Then I put my hand in front of his nose and watch him freak out. He gently bites and licks my hand, stamps his feet and rams his face into my legs. They all go out and have a little fun while I have a light lunch. Then, they all put away again and off I go.

Back home again at 6:30. Cos gets another medication, I let them all out, do my thing with Butkus and then do a little snuggling. Butkus, Max and Cos lay on the couch next to me. Alexis and Dexter hit a dog bed and Anthony finds whatever remaining sunlight he can. An hour later, there’s some quick corralling and then I run out to get Jodi at the train station. Then it’s back home for din-din. This is a little easier since most of the meds are dispensed in the morning. But still, they get their special meals. All but Cosmo, who gets his meds and a lite snack to keep the vomiting to a minimum overnight. After that, things calm down as we and the pugs settle in for a night of TV. If we’re lucky, Dexter won’t pick a fight with anyone.

Weekends are less hectic but still filled with activity. More playtime for pugs, a little less time home alone, unless Jodi and I have plans we can’t take any of them to. Jodi likes to sleep in, but I prefer to get up early and hit the gym. I skootch out of bed as quietly as I can, but Butkus won’t have it, so he comes with me to go out and then have a pre-brekkie snack (I spoil him). Before I go, I make sure Alexis and Anthony go out. This avoids a mid-workout text from Jodi along the lines of “are you still here?” I come home with coffee so she can tackle their breakfast routine with a smile. A happy wife is a happy life. Other than that, things proceed normally. After TV time and whatnot, everyone is ready for bed. We wriggle back into our pretzel shapes and finally, blissfully, fall asleep.

Until Cosmo’s vomiting starts the day for us again.

Pugapalooza Is Almost Here!!!

Pugapalooza Asbury Park Wonder Bar

I don’t know about all of you out there in Pug Land, but I am super jazzed about Pugapalooza next month!

Wait, what? You don’t know about Pugapalooza? Welcome back to Earth! Let me catch you up on what you’ve missed while you’ve been away…

Pugapalooza Asbury Park Wonder Bar

Pugapalooza is a weekend party for Pug lovers and their furkids (and other small breeds) in Asbury Park, NJ. It runs from May 4 – May 6 and it’s a crazy good time filled with fun, games and booze. There will be a meet and greet on Friday at Dark City Brewery, the Main Event at Wonder Bar (Home of the World Famous Yappy Hour) on Saturday with vendors, gift baskets and music – not to mention a Rum Bucket! A $10 donation at Wonder Bar is required which will benefit Pug Squad and, unfortunately, nobody under 21 or dogs will be allowed at the bar. We’ll wrap it up on Sunday with brunch and Pink Pug Promenade on the Boardwalk.

So, you ask, what does the donation to Pug Squad go toward? It gives us the funds necessary to help other rescues.

mini grants awarded first quarter 2018We award grants to worthy rescue groups and fire off donations to help support pugs who need urgent medical care. It is the core of what the Squad was created to do. However, we like to put the FUN in FUNdraising, so come on out and party down with The Squad and the bunch of celebrity Pugs who will be in attendance (who, you ask? No spoilers here).

With any luck, the weather will cooperate and we’ll all be able to look forward to an amazingly fun-filled weekend on the beach. Me, I’m looking forward to hanging with my Pug Pals and eating my face off. Just cruising the Yelp profile for Wonder Bar has me planning my carb overload. Wonder burger with cheese? Fried pickles? Foot long Shickhaus Hot Dog? Lead me to it…

Hotel space is limited, so if you want to spend the weekend (and who wouldn’t?), act fast. For more info and to keep up to date, head over to the Facebook page.

Convinced yet? You know you wanna go. We hope to see you there.

Mmmmmmm….Wonder burger with cheeeeeeese…..

Featured Rescue: Pug Rescue of Austin

Pug Rescue of Austin

Our Featured Rescue of the Month is Pug Rescue of Austin. Based out of Texas, they service Austin and San Antonio, Texas – although they do sometimes venture out further on a case by case basis. They have rescued a total of 156 dogs in 2017, including a total of 25 puppies. In addition, they adopted out 162 dogs in 2017. They are entirely volunteer based and donations and grants made to the rescue go directly to needy pugs.

David Norris, one of the Board of Directors and the Marketing Director, says what sets his rescue apart from some others “is that even though we are the Pug Rescue of Austin, we rescue pug mixes and also operate in many other parts of Texas for the intake/rescue part of our organization.”

What success story best represents Pug Rescue of Austin?

Victor“I feel the strongest representation of what [we do],” David said, “is a recently adopted senior. His name is Victor, and he’s the most calm, trusting and loving dog you could meet. At age 10, we knew taking him in would be tricky in regard to landing him a forever home, but we save all the dogs we can throughout the year. 

“It wasn’t until January of this year that he finally got the forever home he deserved. It took him 5 long months to get that home! I know there are a few factors that can land these wonderful wallflower seniors a home and it’s a mixture of updating their images often online, taking them to adoption events to show them of and more.”

Asked if Victor was settling into his new home, David shared this from his new mom:

“Victor is amazing. He’s just a cuddle bug. I couldn’t have chosen a better dog. It keeps snowing in KC, so I hope we get to go to the dog park soon. We’ve just been taking walks around the neighborhood for now. He’s eating well and loves sleeping and being pet. I pet him so much [that] I’m surprised he still has hair.” 


But the success stories don’t end there…

Marta, a young black pug, is one that David considers one of Pug Rescue of Austin’s greatest success stories. Marta was found battered and left for dead in a Wal-Mart parking lot. “It’s assumed she was harmed by other stray dogs,” David said. “She had to have intensive surgery” which included the removal of both eyes. However, that didn’t impede her recovery one iota. She fully adapted to her blindness and was adopted by a former Pug Rescue board member. “Marta is living the good life now, and we are so proud.”


What are the biggest challenges facing your rescue?

One of the biggest challenges is financing the medical care. “We are always at the mercy of pugs being an expensive breed to care for,” David said. “We always need more money so we can rescue more and more pugs and pug mixes each year. We are not short on volunteers or passion. “

Currently, they are caring for Dex, a one-year old stray who was found in very bad shape. Initial donations from the public have helped him start him on the road to recovery and the plush life he always deserved. As of this writing, the fundraiser to cover mounting costs of Dex’s medication and a heart specialist to treat his murmur is ongoing. Please donate if you can to


Adopt A Senior

One thing David wants people to know about animal rescue is that, as per usual for our line of work, Pug Rescue of Austin has many senior pugs up for adoption, David said. “Many of these seniors have non-extraordinary histories and were simply surrendered because of their age and no fault of their own. I’d like people to consider opening their home to one of these seniors after researching the time needs, care and costs of senior animals.”

“[I love] when that special needs and/or senior pug that’s been with us for over a year gets adopted. It never gets old. That is the feeling that keeps me going.”


Help Pug Rescue of Austin

Pug Rescue of Austin is a dedicated and hardworking rescue that we are proud to have as our Featured Rescue. Please consider donating or simply spreading the word about what they do. They are also looking for motivated volunteers to help with events and other important tasks, especially a dedicated grant writer.

For more information, browse their website – and see some amazing pictures!

We are always looking for new pug rescues to collaborate with. Learn about how we can help, and fill out our short online application to request financial assistance through a Pug Squad mini grant or event.

Dear Owen

Owen the Curmudgeon, the Also Prez of Pug Squad, and my best friend, left us on January 12th. I was going to write an essay on what he meant to me, but instead, I felt I would like to share a little something that helps me deal with this devastating loss.

Dear Owen,

Time goes by so quickly, doesn’t it? Just over two years ago, my entire life changed forever. You came through the door and we became instant best friends. The next 27 months were filled with fun, adventure, new friends and many, many pictures. I would wake you up just to take another photo. You’d rock every outfit like a pro.

Oh, the fun we’d have. Remember our first trip into Northport? You met a pig at the farmer’s market. Or the time we got ice cream at PetSmart? You were the best, crankiest elf to my Santa at the photoshoots.

It wasn’t always fun. You were cranky. A lot. You hated getting out of bed, being put outside to do your morning business or having your dry nose cleaned. Then, there was our bad patch. I don’t like to talk about that, but it happened. You were mad at me. For what felt like months. You would constantly snap at me if I picked you up, gave you a kiss or looked at you. I was crushed. I was worried. Even Mommy knew something was wrong. We took you to Dr. Johnson, we put you on medications and you still were mad at me. Then came Pug Camp.

Owen wins pajama contest

I don’t know what happened. Maybe the meds kicked in, maybe it was the clear, crisp mountain air, or maybe it was the fun and quality time we spent together, but you came back. The old you. My Owie boy. You had so much fun at the events. You reveled in the spotlight at your Pup Style book signing. You ran your little legs off in the Pug Olympics. Then came my proudest moment; the Pajama Contest. Wearing your bunny PJ’s with socks, you competed with the other seniors and padded across that stage like a champ…AND WON! You took home the prize and I almost cried. That was the best weekend in our lives, because my BFF came back to me. After that, you never left again.

Until you did.

I didn’t see it coming, Owie. I didn’t have time to prepare. One minute I’m cradling you as we walked through the house, looking into your eyes and telling you how much I loved you, making your egg sandwich for dinner and the next, you’re on the floor, gone. No goodbye, no final words. Your little heart just gave out.

You took something with you, a big chunk of my own heart. Letting you go was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t even think I really have. I don’t want to let you go. You were always more than a pet, more than just another Pug. You were my cranky little curmudgeon, my little partner, my best friend.

I’ll miss you forever.

Love always,


Dear Dadums,

I’m not really sentimental. So, this is kinda hard for me to write, but whatever. Yeah, time went by really fast. When the lady brought me to the house and we met, I was like “yeah, this is the guy.” I don’t wantcha to get too fulla yourself, but you were pretty okay.

Look, I know I was cranky and snappy. Especially that time I was always mad. I wasn’t really mad at you, Dadums. I was just really achy and I didn’t know how to tell you. I know it upset you and I’m sorry, but what do you want, I don’t do English well. Remember how I’d feel better when we went to bed at night? That’s because you always propped my chin up with your arm and hugged me all night. I wasn’t cranky then, was I?

You were right, though, the camp…that was a lotta fun. And, can I say this? I loved how proud of me you were. I really just wanted us to be pals and have fun and be happy. That weekend was so great and after that, I felt better. Even when I didn’t, I tried not to take it out on you.

You’re wrong about one thing, though, Dadums. We did say goodbye. You remember that night. You had one of your plays. I wasn’t feeling good all day. I just wanted to rest. But, I wanted to see you one last time. I waited for you. You came home, I was so happy. You picked me up and carried me to the kitchen and the whole time, I was looking at you. Remember? You said, over and over, “who lubs you? Dadums lubs you!” You kissed my face a lot. I grumbled, but only because I had a rep to keep up. You made me an egg sandwich just the way I like it. But I wasn’t really hungry. I wanted to lie down. But I knew you’d be worried, so I went to the bowl. I knew you’d feel okay and go do what you had to do. I didn’t want you to be sad. That was my goodbye to you. That was the only way I could tell you how much I loved you.

I know how much you hurt, Dadums. I wanted to stay, but I couldn’t. Don’t be mad, and don’t feel guilty. It was so fast, even I didn’t know it happened. Please don’t stay sad for too long. Just remember all our good times and never forget that you saved my life and made it the best years I ever had.

I’m not gonna say goodbye, because I’m always going to be looking out for you. Whenever you think of me, whenever you smile at me, I’m next to you. Trust me.

Love you, Dadums. And the lady, too.

Your pal forever,