Author Archives: Owen's BFF

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,