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PugHearts of Houston Blog

Whitney's Story

Friday, 15 July 2011 10:27 by MaryL

Hello!  My name is Mary Ludwig and I have been actively involved with Pughearts since its first meeting.  When Cindy ask me to start doing this I was very reluctant, I'm definitely not a writer and I'm not in the least imaginative.  However, Cindy said all I have to do is talk about my fosters, well duh, that is my favorite subject so I think I may be able to handle this assignment!  I've thought a lot about who to start with and decided that I will begin with the foster I've had the longest, Whitney.  Or as I call her Whitney My Love.

I'll hit rewind and go back a few years and begin the story.  This poor, tiny five year old pug, who was a backyard breeder, came into our care in deplorable condition.  Her feet didn't look anything like they should, they spread out like fingers because she had lived every day of her life in a wire cage.  She had both eyes when she came in but one had stitches in it that had never been removed and they had busted lose.the remains were in her top and bottom lids.  She also had this HUGE mass on her back left hip that looked very bad.  Well the first thing that was done was her eye, it was beyond saving so it was removed.  Then Dr. Hendrix began the process of evaluating her mass.  As it turns out it wasn't a tumor but a huge abscess. He went in and cleaned it and put in drains to let it all get out.  But something wasn't right about it so he sent a sample off for testing.  When the results came back we found that Whitney had mass cell cancer.   We took her to the Doggie Oncologist and he said that there wasn't much that could be done for her but to give her prednisone and to love her.  At this time she was still in the hospital and hadn't been put in a home yet.  I had been hanging out at the vet and getting pretty attached to her so I told Cindy I would like to foster her.  I think Cindy thought I shouldn't take her, she told me that her prognosis was not good and that she would probably only live a few months. I know she wanted to protect me from the sorrow of losing her, but I was already attached to her and I wanted to make sure that what life she had left was going to be the best that any dog could imagine.  So I took her home..

That was almost four years ago, October 2007.  Whitney is amazing.  I call her my little blonde headed cheerleader, she's in her own rosy, wonderful world.  She is not aware that there is a thing wrong with her, she runs around and plays just like everyone else.  Her favorite activity is to play tug o war with anyone that will play with her.  She still has that mothering instinct from her early years, she keeps Daisy's ears spotless.she loves Daisy. For the first two and a half years she coasted along just like any other foster.  She had been taking prednisone every day for her cancer and it seemed to be holding it at bay.  Then she started losing her hair and after testing it was discovered that the prednisone had caused thyroid problems.  So now she takes two medicines every day and is still just as happy as a bug in a rug.  In the last six months she has almost completely lost the sight in her remaining eye (due to taking the prednisone for such an extended time), I think she can still see a little between light and dark but that is about it.  She has lost a little of that bubbly personality along with the loss of her vision, but she is still a very happy puggie. She was never really big into being held and cuddled but lately she has started wanting to get on my lap and just be loved.  I just love to have her sit on my lap so I can look at her cute little face, she is such a pretty little girl.  And she's happy.

Whitney is a perfect example of why there is a PugHearts, she would have died a horrible death without this rescue.  She is in hospice care so she will never be adopted but that hasn't changed one thing about the kind of treatment that has been given to her.  She is just as important to PugHearts as the cutest, most adoptable pug that has ever come in.  No one knows how long Whitney will be with us, but she has already beat the odds that were given to her four years ago.  And the most important thing to Whitney is that she has become someone's Whitney My Love.

PRINCESS WHITNEY

Categories:   Foster Stories
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My Pug Story–Chapter 4 Chucky (Part 2)

Thursday, 7 July 2011 10:25 by karenr

chucky3

Chucky was safe & happy; now we had to make him healthy.  First came the heartworm treatment.  My vet did it with two injections one month apart, and activity restriction/bedrest in between.  We kept him crated when we were at work, but when we were home his natural place was snuggled with us on the couch or in the big bed, so it was easy to keep him quiet.  He was a total love sponge.  The protocol deferred neutering until after the heartworm treatment, so we had two months to work on breaking him of his marking habit.  Since he was crated or leashed if he wasn’t on the couch or bed, timely verbal corrections took care of the marking problem in a couple of weeks.  Our pack was complete (or was it?), and I finally had my purebred pug.

Our pack

Chucky made it through his heartworm treatment with a minimum of coughing/distress, and then it was time for neutering.  Poor Keith, he suffered a bit in sympathy, and even made a couple of half-hearted attempts to convince me Chucky should be allowed to breed at least once.  After all, the arguments went, he had papers, came from a great bloodline, and had both a wonderful disposition and great conformation.

Up to 30% of animals surrendered to animal shelters are purebreds. There are not enough homes for all of these animals, including young, healthy and pedigreed pets.  As a volunteer for PugHearts, I have seen this outcome first hand.  But at the time, my husband needed some convincing.  One of the best articles I came across in my research can be found here:

http://webspace.cal.net/~pamgreen/why_neuter.html

We did the right thing.  Vet bills for immunizations, heartworm treatment, and neutering were now over $1000.  When Chucky’s former owner called me about getting his free mural, I told him in no uncertain terms that the debt had been paid in full!   I gave him an earful about the pain and suffering he had inflicted on this poor dog, which probably made no real difference, but at least it made me feel better.

head tail

Chucky never sired puppies, but I like to think at least one of the potential buyers of his offspring instead adopted a rescue pug.  He still enjoys sniffing bottoms, but smelling is all he’s going to do!

Categories:   Just Pugs
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My Pug Story–Chapter 3 Chucky

Tuesday, 5 July 2011 18:21 by karenr

Chucky was born on January 8, 2004 at the kennel of a prominent show dog breeder in another part of the state.   Both parents were AKC champions and he was sold to a family for $2000 at the age of 12 weeks after receiving his initial puppy shots.  Only the best would do for the status-conscious father, and the kids had to have a pug after watching the movie “Milo & Otis,” so the whole family drove across the state to pick him up.  And named him Otis, of course.

This family was an acquaintance of ours:  friends of a friend.  We first visited their house for a 4th of July BBQ when Otis was about 6 months old.    The kids were still carrying the pup around like a stuffed animal, and he was an adorable innocent, with a great disposition.  It was apparent they had done no work to housebreak the dog, and when he had an accident on the kitchen floor he was banished to the backyard with their jumping, unruly, adolescent Giant Schnauzer.  I tried to provide some instruction on training, and taught the little pug to sit while we were there.  He was so sweet and eager to please.

Over the next 6 months, I kept asking about the little guy’s well-being.   Our mutual friend told me that Otis’ owner had had half a dozen dogs before this in the years he had known him, and he had given them all away.  This was a red flag to me, and the next time I saw his owner at his place of business, I told him if he ever was looking for a home for Otis, to think of me.  The next time I saw Otis it was at a holiday party, and the dogs had both been banished to the backyard, full-time.  The adolescent males were both marking the house, and the mom had put her foot down.  The 100 pound Schnauzer was terrorizing the poor pug, who retreated under a garden shed; it was the only place he could escape the mouthing and rough play.   I again offered to take the pug, but I was told that the kids would be heartbroken.   But Otis was now over 20 lbs., and the little ones couldn’t carry him anymore, so he was left to his own devices in the backyard.

It was that backyard that eventually got me my pug.  The next spring, they decided to put in a pool.  With the fence open, the dogs had to be crated full-time.  Otis’ owner finally decided to give him to me in exchange for some mural painting I promised to do for him.    When I came over to pick him up, he was crated in the garage, not the house.  I held my tongue, happy to be getting my purebred pug at last.

When I got him home, he was so happy!  Cupid loved the intact male, and flirted hilariously.  Krissy immediately wanted to play.  He figured out the doggie door in about an hour, and kept going in and out.  When we settled on the couch to watch TV, he wormed his way in between us and started making puggy purrs.  It was the first evening of many we would spend this way.  He promptly claimed the pillow as his spot in the bed:

pug

My brother Charles had recently passed away, so we renamed our new pug Chucky in his honor.  Since the paperwork his owner gave me included no vet records except from the breeder, I took him to my vet the first thing the next morning.  Only a year old, and he was already heartworm positive.

More about Chucky in Chapter 4.

Categories:   Just Pugs
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My Pug Story–Chapter 2 Krissy

Monday, 4 July 2011 10:57 by karenr

Fast forward a year:  Christmas 2002.    My artist intern wanted a small dog for her kids.  I extolled the virtues of a pug (even though I only had a half-pug) before she began making the shelter rounds.  She called me from one with the report of a black pug.  She wasn't really interested, but she thought I might want to take a look.  With my 11-year old stepdaughter, we took a ride "just to see".  This pug was an imposter, too:  a chihuahua-pug mix (or Chug).  A purely pug body, but a face all her own (complete with an underbite and always-showing canine tooth).  We promptly dubbed it her "atti-tuth" and gave Krissy to her dad as a Christmas present after she was spayed.

krissyattituthkrissy 3

Krissy is sweet, hyper, and ball-obsessed.  She will keep bringing the ball back to whomever throws it.  She is especially good at seeking out little boys at the dog park:  she knows they will throw it longer!  Krissy is our media star:  A TV crew from The Animal Planet was filming out at the Millie Bush Dog Park during the annual Reliant dog show, and they were impressed by how fast she was chasing the ball:  she literally kicks up a dust trail.  One of the producers asked us “Will she do it again?”  Of course we told her, “All day long!”  Her segment was only about 5 seconds when the dog show finally aired, but we are proud of her, none the less!

Krissy is the playful member of our pack.  Depending on the personalities of our foster pugs she will wrestle, chase, play tug of war or keep away.   We swear she has ADD, and is more than a bit of a spaz…but we love her.  Here she is at play with one of our foster pugs:

Pug-jitsu
Categories:   Just Pugs
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My Pug Story–Chapter 1 Cupid

Sunday, 3 July 2011 19:08 by karenr

I plan to put a different spin on the Pughearts blog. I thought the best way would be to share my personal pug story so you will all know a bit more about the writer. The story starts back in 1998, when I was providing hospice care for my (almost) ex-husband, burned-out from my 60-hour-a-week hospital job, and looking for some unconditional love. I wanted a pug, so I contacted the local rescue group who was active at that time, but as a first-time dog owner my name was not high on their list as a potential adopter.

I hit my low point on Valentine's Day, but then I received a call from the rescue group telling me of a pug mix female who was in a high-kill shelter. A few hours later I brought home a year-old Jack Russell/Pug mix I named Cupid in honor of the date. 

cupid old 2cupid

I wanted a laid-back snuggle bug, but I got a dominant, high-energy alpha bitch. Little did I know, but this was exactly the dog I needed. Extremely intelligent, Cupid needed more than casual walks, so I broke out the roller-blades, bought a bicycle, and enrolled in obedience classes. I was lucky to have an excellent animal behaviorist lead my class, and he taught me everything I needed to know about becoming a pack leader. Cupid even learned dog agility.

As for me, I de-stressed, lost 40 lbs, and made it through the death of my husband. Cupid finally made it through puppy adolescence and chilled out, too.

Life-insurance and pension money in hand, I decided to leave healthcare and try to make a living doing what I loved: art. I started a decorative painting business, and began painting murals, doing faux finishing and reporting to no-one but myself. My trusty Cupid at my side, I made it through the rough first two years of start-up.  Here we are with one of my big murals on canvas:

cupid small

My initial partnership failed, but I had the tools and the client contacts to make it as a sole proprietor, and Cupid and I began dating. I soon met a helicopter pilot with a wicked sense of humor and the gift of gab who shared my love of animals.

Keith’s idea of the perfect dog weighed at least 60 lbs, however, and his experience as a teenage vet tech had left him prejudiced against "little yap-yap dogs". Cupid soon won him over with her big attitude. Cupid is 14 years old now, but she still rules the pack with her body language and force of will. It is because of her we make a good foster family: leading with body language and by example, she does most of the work showing a new dog the ropes!

cupid yawn

Categories:   Just Pugs
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PugHearts and Facebook

Friday, 1 July 2011 13:52 by richardc

We are changing the way we bring you updates. From this point on Facebook will be the location to find information on Events and day to day happenings at PugHearts. We ask that you take the time to join us on Facebook and ensure you are kept up to date.

The PugHearts website will continue to be the place to check on available dogs, successful adoptions and the very sad Rainbow bridge. We will also post more details information on events within the Blog, and donations and event ticket sales will also be handled here.

The move to Facebook Groups opens up PugHearts as community to one and all, a hub that will enable instant updates via the web, email and your phone. Its a move to the 21st century. Please join us.

Remember, if you do not want to join Facebook, then you will still see major updates within this Blog.

Cruelty is 24/7/365 - Please HELP!

Regards

Richard C
Webmaster – PugHearts of Houston Pug Rescue

Categories:   PugHearts
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Rescue Me Parade

Monday, 4 April 2011 21:03 by richardc

Last Saturday, PugHearts participated in the Rescue Me Parade at the Doggy Party on the Plaza at City Centre.

Our volunteers worked tirelessly to make an amazing float and we are very proud to announce that we won 2nd place! The prize? $2,600 in products such as $1,000 in pet food from Natural Pet Products and various gift certificates for veterinary specialists, boarding, and obedience training. 

Our float was made to raise puppy mill awareness and we had fun using our fosters as policemen and prisoners, with our puppy mill survivors following close behind. Here are some pictures!

Categories:   Events
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It is our birthday, again!

Monday, 14 February 2011 19:40 by cindyr

It is amazing to me that we are having another birthday.

Today PugHearts is 4 years old.

I have been thinking about this birthday a lot lately. Looking back at where we have come and what we have been able to accomplish. There are so many stories and so many pugs that have benefitted from our being here. PugHearts has rescued more than 700 pugs in the 4 years that we have been working so hard for the pugs in our community.

Let me remind everyone how we got here. I fostered for another group and was the foster to a special old man named Charlie Brown. I named him Charlie because I wanted him to know it was going to be a good life from that time forward. He was the worst first night I ever had with a new foster. Charlie screamed for 9 hours straight. It did not matter what I did. I held him. I crated him. I put him with my pugs. I put him in the bed with me. Nothing worked. He was scared, sick and the only thing he could do was scream. I cried.

Charlie was with me for almost 9 months. Then the hardest day came. Charlie had a family that wanted to adopt him. I was crushed.

I met the couple that wanted to love him. They were (and are) great. They had a pug named Charlie already. Charlie Brown became Alfie.

I called 3 months after he was adopted to see how he was doing. Richard and Robbi were great and offered to let me see him anytime. I jumped at the chance and met Richard in the park that day. Alfie's paws never touched the ground that afternoon. I was thrilled and over the moon to hold him and see him looking so great.

This photo was taken in January 2007. Richard and Robbi became board members. Richard is our webmaster.

PugHearts went "live" on the web Valentine's Day 2007. We took in 3 pugs that day.

I thank each one of you that helped us, supported us and allowed us to have the success that we have achieved today.

Happy Birthday to PugHearts and Thank You for travelling with us on this journey.  Just imagine where we will be in another 4 years. We are not going anywhere. The pugs need us. We need you.

Categories:   PugHearts
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Eloise

Tuesday, 28 December 2010 21:47 by cindyr

I wanted to take a minute to write about my dear little foster pug, Eloise. She has become so much a part of our family that I sometimes forget she is a foster.

Eloise came to PugHearts mid-May after being found in another pug owner's back yard. My husband and I were between fosters at the time, but were the ones to pick her up and name her. It became apparent very quickly that this little girl had been part of a home and was a pampered pet at some point in her life. She has not had one single accident in the 7 months we have had her and she is very aware of other house etiquette as well as how to demand to be spoiled. Sadly, after her first visit to the vet, she was diagnosed with kidney failure. Her prognosis is uncertain. It could have been only a month or two, or she could live several more years. So far, she seems happy. I don't think she is always comfortable and perhaps sometimes in pain, but she still enjoys all the little things in life; Food, treats, warm/comfy places to sleep, and toys. She goes absolutely nuts for her mini tennis balls.

It is such a great feeling to provide this little girl a warm and loving home, even if she possibly won't be with us much longer. I mean, how can you resist this face? 

Cindy

Categories:   Foster Stories
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Rainbow Bridge page

Monday, 6 December 2010 19:33 by cindyr

As many of you have noticed, we added a new page to the website. The Rainbow Bridge page allows us to be reminded of those that we have lost. This page has had a fair amount of discussion around it. We know that loss is a part of rescue and we cannot win all of the battles we take on. We also know that it is so hard to look at these faces and remember the love we feel for each of them. I was one of the ones that was not sure that we should put it out there. I do not like to lose. It is hard and I take many of these personally. We cry for each one that crosses the bridge. We try to figure out what happened and what we could (and can, in the future) do differently. Each pug in our care teaches us something. We try to hang on to those lessons. Sometimes, all we can see is the loss.

The last few weeks have added several new names to the Rainbow Bridge page.

Lilly_2 was an older lady in our care. She developed an intra-nasal tumor. This tumor eventually caused her to really struggle to breathe. We held her as she crossed the bridge to health and vitality.

Avery was my "perfectly adoptable beautiful 6 year old girl". She was happy, active and loved life. One day her neck swelled up...this was the beginning of the end. Avery was diagnosed with lymphoma and the condition grew worse quickly. The swelling became increasingly worse in her neck and began effecting her breathing. We released Avery 10 days after Lilly crossed the bridge. This is what makes rescue hard.

Avery and Lilly were both fosters in my home.

Now, we add BeBe's babies to the list of those lost. Last Wednesday night, our BeBe went into labor. We were thrilled when she delivered 7 babies early in the morning hours of Thursday. We all cried when we lost the first puppy immediately. The others were so small, cute and squirming (as puppies should be). Sadly, they did not thrive and by today, we have lost all the puppies. This is one of the hardest things to explain and even worse to go through. We are all devastated. I am including a photo of the happy moment after delivery. This is what we must remember.

So, why did I change my mind about the Rainbow Bridge page?

We need to remember the sadness, the love, the journey and the loss. It is all a part of rescue. It is not possible to get one aspect without dealing with the other. I would not trade one moment with any one of the fosters listed on ANY page of this website. I have loved each of them, for different reasons and at different times. I had a volunteer say to me: "We need a memorial page. The available pugs are listed. The adopted pugs are listed, but the lost pugs are just gone. I cannot see his face. He is no where." Well, they were a part of us and we need to remember them.

So please, take a look at our Rainbow Bridge page. Remember that we commit to all of these pugs, whether we win or not.

Please consider donating so that we can continue to help all these pugs, not just the ones that we can save, but the hospice, hopeless and helpless as well.

Cindy

Categories:   PugHearts
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