by Pug Squad Volunteer Jennifer Popovich
Sometimes you sit back and reflect on why you are here…how did you 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.