I’m going to write about my pugs. There will be food involved (as there always is with pugs). I got the idea from Jaimie Christine who writes a healthy lifestyle blog. She wrote a post about her rescue dog Jasmine. Since I like to include a picture of one of the pugs doing a taste test, I figured I should introduce them.
In 2002 I organized a series of pug meetups in Toronto parks. The idea was for pug people to get together, share stores and information and watch the pugs play. The events grew and in 2005 I founded Pugalug Pug Rescue. It is a registered, all volunteer dog rescue orgranization that focuses on pugs. We don’t use shelters. The pugs come into people’s homes and stay until they are adopted. I have been a foster home since 2005, having cared for over 25 pugs.
Pugs can develop an allergy to certain ingredients in foods. In rescue there are stories of people who spend thousands of vet dollars trying to cure skin and ear infections. They then surrender them to a rescue because of the infections. A change of diet, because of an allergy to corn or soy, cleared up the problem.
I feed my pugs a grain free kibble. I’ve never had a pug of my own with allergies but err on the side of caution. Usually it is turkey or poultry based although I have also given them pork, beef and fish kibble to change the variety. I currently use the Open Farm brand. They do have an Ancient Grains formula that I’ve tried with no reaction from the dogs.
In addition to the kibble, I’ll give them a spoonful of wet, Tripett or Merrick’s are my usual. They also get treats throughout the day – Nature’s Harvest soft treats or Northern Biscuit – both made in Canada. Eve and Raisin also eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. When I’m sharpening the knife in the kitchen, they come running to the sound as they know I’ll be chopping veggies. Greta is not so big on vegetables – meat or cheese is her preference.
I adopted Dublin at 8 months old from Peachy Pugs Rescue in 2002. He passed away in October of 2017. Although he was not part of the food blog, his spirit was there in the kitchen with the other pugs. He passed away October 2017.
Dublin travelled with me to the Maritimes and Quebec. You can read about our adventures in my travel blog Parts Unknown Pugs. From lobster to poutine, we enjoyed what Canada had to offer.
A year after our road trip out east, Dublin passed on of natural causes at age 15. He quietly breathed his last sigh beside me.
I adopted Odin in 2006. He had fear issues that I had to work on to get him to trust me. We were successful and he became comfortable being around people. The key was positive reinforcement using food as a reward.
He was the quintessential pug clown, delighting people with his antics. We didn’t travel at that time but we did volunteer at the All About Pets show and at Woofstock for the Pugalug Pug Rescue booth.
He passed on at the age of 9, October 24, 2013 – his birthday. He suddenly found it difficult to breath. He was at the vet emergency for 4 days before they determined the cause – a blood clot in the lung. Nothing they could do. I commissioned a film in his memory.
Raisin is the social butterfly of our pack. When we go to a pug event, she heads off to meet as many people as she can (and get as many pets as she can). She will look up at them with her big eyes and long tongue, inviting herself into their midst. I let her wander but keep an eye on her. Eventually she makes her way back to me.
Raisin was in a high-kill shelter in Michigan. No American rescue could take her because they were full. Pugalug was contacted in 2014 to see if we could take her. I happened to be available so she came to me. As soon as I took her in my arms I knew she was going to stay with me. She had the little underbite that I adored. Today she has about 50% of her eyesight. In her early years she had low tear production that was not treated. She now gets regular medication to preserve her eyesight.
Raisin has travelled from coast to coast. With Dublin we went on a road trip to the East Coast, dipping her paw in the Atlantic Ocean. The, with Eve, we drove all the way to Tofino, Vancouver Island and back. At Pacific Rim National Park, she dipped her paws into the Pacific.
She is 14 now and still going strong. She needs to be lifted up and down the stairs as her back legs are weak. She wants another road trip this summer.
Eve was my foster and another one with fear issues. She did not like being touched or even looked at. It took a couple of days for her to settle down and be comfortable sitting next to me. It took a few more months to be able to pet her body. Again, it was positive reinforcement using treats.
She came to me in October, 2017 with a reported bite history. It meant she had bitten a human but no details were provided. She was 7 years old and very energetic. She loved to run, climb, socialize with other dogs. She developed a bonding trust with me so I decided to adopt her rather than putting her through the adjustment of a new home to trust.
Eve made a great travelling companion when we went on our western road trip. She loved the park trails and beaches. She has come to trust a few regulars we meet everyday on our walks. Some have a treat ready because they know her past behaviour. When strangers ask to pet the dogs, I tell them not Eve. Then I tell Raisin to say Hi and Eve is quite happy to let Raisin do the meet and greet.
Greta, an 8 year old puppy mill dog, came to me as a foster in March, 2020 – just before the lockdown. She had been kept in a cage, in a back shed and used for breeding puppies for sale. I could tell she had very little human contact, physical or emotional. She also had a fear of people. However, she quickly bonded with me once she realize I wasn’t a threat and I had good food.
Her ears really got me. They were like little wings, ready to fly her into the sky. She didn’t have a name. I gave her the name Greta for her tenacity. Through the pandemic I worked on building her trust. She responded well to the treat training. It didn’t take her long to learn how to use the pee pads. Being in a cage all her life, she didn’t understand the idea of going for a walk to pee. But it took her no time to use the pads. She also hates the cold so she used them all winter.
There are my 3 current furkids. Eve – 10, Greta – 8 and Raisin – 14. And, yes, we are planning a road trip this summer.