Category Archives: Featured Rescue

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



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!



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

Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis, Pug Rescues Are Counting on Us

Pug Squad COVID19

Pug Squad COVID19

Nonprofits including pug rescues are being greatly impacted by the current international COVID-19 pandemic. Many organizations are being forced to postpone or cancel their upcoming fundraising events.

Making the decision to cancel important fundraising events to protect cherished supporters and the community at large is difficult enough, but then there is the added challenge of a rescue’s financial ability to continue supporting the pugs currently in their care and the ones that will need help in the future.

The coronavirus will not deter Pug Squad’s efforts to help pug rescues and pugs in need. Pug lover’s like you have sustained Pug Squad’s work with pug rescues for more than three years. We recognize this is an uncertain time, but we sincerely hope you will continue your support of our organization and pug rescues nationwide. Please consider making a contribution to one of the following pug rescues and help our community when they need it most.

Together we can weather this challenge – the pugs needing help are counting on us!

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.

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.