PugHearts of Houston Blog

Oklahoma Pug Rescue

Monday, 5 March 2012 22:30 by karenr

On Thursday, March 1, PugHearts was contacted by Homeward Bound to help care for 32 pugs who were rescued from a hoarding situation. 

The story got significant news coverage in the Oklahoma City area.  KOCO news story.  

We were at a fundraising event for PugHearts and CAP that evening and began brainstorming about how best to help.  Keith Hall suggested that he could call local commercial rental companies and see if someone would donate the use of a van to facilitate the trip.    First thing Friday morning he got on the phone and spoke to Ann Rawlinson at PV Rentals who donated the use of a brand new cargo van for the trip.


The cry went out for volunteers to make the trip and help with supplies via Facebook and I soon got my co-pilot:  Becky Roark.  She was selected first from the many who offered to help because she was available first on Friday afternoon to pick up the vehicle and give her drivers license for the paperwork in person.  It may have been poor planning on our part:  the two shortest volunteers to climb in and out of the tallest vehicle either of us had ever driven! sugarland smiles

Saturday morning Becky and I loaded up the van in my driveway and headed to Sugarland Pet Hospital to pick up donated crates, harnesses and supplies. By 11 AM we were all smiles and ready to ride!

sugarland van

oklahoma van

By 5 PM we made it to Oklahoma!

By 8 we were checked in to the LaQuinta in Norman, OK, and got directions to the puppies’ location from Gail, the director of Homeward Bound.  She was very apologetic about not being able to be there in the morning, since she had an adoption scheduled.  She gave us the sad news that one of the puppies we were scheduled to pick up had just died.  We were so sad, but were ready to hit the road Sunday morning at 8 AM.

We then drove to Dana Scott’s beautiful ranch in Blanchard, OK.

ranch view

pups in blanchardThe younger puppies were crated in a beautiful sunroom, while the older ones were just outside in a fenced run where Dana was letting them go potty and enjoy the morning sun.

We had already decided the puppies were all to have candy names.  These are the four older pups (about 20 weeks). 

Top:  Bazooka

Middle:  Godiva and Hershey Kisses

Bottom:  Goober.







littles blanchard

The little pups:

Top:  Skittles

Middle:  Reese’s

Bottom:  Baby Ruth



Then we had to put harnesses on each one, picking the right size from our selection.   Later in the trip we would be glad we had a “handle” for each pup!  Here is Jujube (a shy, scared, young adult) getting pretty in pink:

jujube harness

dana scott and gooberDana had to say goodbye to each of the puppies.  Here she is with Goober.


Dale helped carry the pups to the van, where Becky and I started to make the first of many climbs in and out of the tall doors.  Finally we were all loaded up and ready to ride!van inside at blanchard

loaded in blanchard

baby ruth lapWe were worried about the smallest puppies, especially the little black female, who was quite lethargic and dehydrated.   We named her Baby Ruth.   Dana said she was the only one who didn’t drink that morning.  After a phone conference with Cindy, we made a stop at the closest Petsmart and got some puppy replacement milk and an eyedropper and got her to take about 5 droppers full.  I held her on my lap in the sun while Becky drove.

After an hour or so, Baby Ruth perked up and started looking around.becky n baby ruth

When we made it to Texas an hour or two later, we stopped for the first potty break, setting up our x-pen at the Texas welcome rest stop.

pen tx

The older pups all went potty and had a drink; then they wanted to play.   The two bigger fawn males, Goober and Bazooka, were VERY interested in JuJube, who is probably in heat.  Although she was still very shy with us, Jujube started to play with her male admirers!

jujube bazooka txjujube goober tx

jujube play tx2jujube play tx

Baby Ruth and Reese’s just kind of huddled together, while Skittles seemed the strongest of the little ones.  He sat up and was interested in the goings on, but did not participate.

reeses and baby tx

skittles tx2hershey n skittles tx

Godiva (she’s pretty and knows it; a bit of a diva) and Hershey (KIsses):

godiva closeup txHershey closeup

Bazooka who also has an injured eye:

bazooka closeup

Then it was time to load back up (did I mention how short we are and how tall that van is?).  We made it through Dallas, where we determined I’m a better navigator than Becky is.  We made no wrong turns on the way up, but missed the exit from I35-E to I45 twice coming home, allowing us to tour downtown Dallas on a sunny Sunday afternoon!.

Around this time the little ones started to vomit.  Each time, Becky crawled out of her front seat, into the back, took the little ones out of their crate (did I mention how handy those harnesses were?), changed the potty pads and put them back in.

We made the next stop in Centerville.  The bigger pups had lots of fun, and all drank and went potty as soon as released in the pen.  The little ones still looked pitiful, so they all got more milk by dropper.  Skittles was starting to look worse than at the last stop; his eyes had a discharge and he was less alert.  Reese’s and Baby Ruth both walked around a bit, which we found encouraging, although they are both so skinny it breaks your heart.  The bigger pups knocked over the milk can, and tried to lick every blade of grass with milk on it so we decided to feed the bigger pups some kibbles, which they all enjoyed.

skittles centervilleskittles centerville milkbazooka.

bazooka and gooberbaby ruth n reeses centerville

We changed potty pads in all the crates and loaded the babies up one at a time.  That van step is even taller carrying a wiggle-worm puppy!  Becky and I commiserated about aching knees and decided the next time we would bring along someone younger to climb in and out!.

Around Huntsville, the diarrhea started.  At least we were smart enough to reload the three sick little ones in a crate on the other side of the van so the door opened towards the front, making the pad changing a bit easier for me than it was for Becky.  By then it was getting dark, so  I sat on the floor in the back with a flashlight since we couldn’t figure out how to turn the dome lights on, and kept changing pads as each one got sick.  I think I’ll burn the jeans I was wearing rather than try to clean them (and they didn’t even have paint on them)!

We finally pulled into Sugarland Pet Hospital where we offloaded the three sick little ones to get some emergency subcutaneous fluid, and took the rest to their foster home in Katy which had an isolation room all set up.

We made it home about 10:30 PM.  It was one of the longest, most rewarding days of my life!

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Popsee’s excellent adventure

Friday, 19 August 2011 20:59 by karenr

Three days ago I smelled something WONDERFUL!  I forgot about my people, I forgot about my yard, I forgot about everything but trying to get to what promised to be the BEST thing that ever happened to me in my short life.  Being a smart, manly dude, I managed to get out to find the origin of that wonderful smell and all the heavenly rewards it promised.  I looked really hard, and ran really fast (more about how fast I can run, later), but in the end all I managed to find were my people.  I didn’t understand, but they were really upset.  They put me in the car which was really exciting (I love car rides), but they took me out at a noisy place that was full of strangers barking, whining, and smelling of fear.  My people left me and a stranger took my picture (not my best…you can see it below) and put me in a cage with strange dogs barking, crying, and smelling above, below, and on both sides of me.

kennel card 2BARC

They were always mopping the floor and the cages with sharp-smelling water that made me sneeze and my eyes water.  My people were no where to be found.

I didn’t like that place.   I really didn’t like that place when they put me on a table and poked me with something sharp and put stuff in my eyes.  But I got kibbles…and I love kibbles. Three long days and nights I spent in that awful place and then today somebody came and put a leash on me and took me OUTSIDE!  Waiting for me was another stranger, but she smelled good.   Lots of happy doggy smells.  And best of all she opened her car door and I couldn’t wait to get inside.  I jumped from the ground to the seat in one big leap and then explored the front seat, the back seat, and a big space behind the back seat all in about 15 seconds.  Then the good-smelling stranger got in and I had to show her I like laps and give big sloppy kisses.

IMG_0374I went for a short ride.  I tried to drive, but the nice-smelling stranger wouldn’t let me keep my paws on the steering wheel.  I did manage to find several things on the floor to chew, though….  But then it was time to get out of the car and I saw a green fence and a big red gate.  I couldn’t WAIT for the nice-smelling lady to open the gate, so I tried to help her…showing how tall I can stand on my back legs, and how strong I can scratch.  But FINALLY she got it open, and inside was PARADISE.   And best of all, she took off the leash and I could show her how fast I can run!


There was water, fountains, and plants everywhere.  I took a drink after making two laps around the yard so I could reload to keep marking this great place!  The water felt so good on this hot day, I decided to see if I could dig it all out of the bowl.  The splashing water was really fun!

water closeupwater

And then I discovered I wasn’t alone in this garden.  There were two neighbors, but they were on the other side of a fence.  They were pretty friendly, though, so I gave them some good sniffs.  I minded my manners, though, and didn’t bark.


The nice-smelling lady kept following me with this big black camera, so I decided to pose for her.  First I gave her the pose I saw on TV when I watched the the dog show, and then I broke out my best close-up smile.


Then it was time to run again.


She managed to catch me a few more times, especially when she called my name.posing2


I visited the water bowl a few more times, digging until it was empty and I was all wet.  Then I decided it was time to go get some petting since she was sitting on the step.


See?  I can sit still too!  Aren’t I a handsome boy?  And my brown color is so special, especially when you compare with that ordinary pug on the other side of the door.  By the way, isn’t it time to meet the rest of the pack I’ve been smelling out here in the garden?

So then the lady opened the door and I got to sniff all these other dogs.  I bowed my head and looked away when the alpha bitch checked me out, and then I found a playmate to chase me!  Can this day get any better?

And then the lady put a harness on me and took me for another car ride!  But this time I couldn’t get out of the back seat since she tied the leash to the seat.  But I managed to stretch it out and get my front feet on the console so I could give her kisses and rest my head on her shoulder while she drove.  It wasn’t as much fun as jumping over the seats, but it was a longer ride, so that was OK.

Then we pulled up to a new place.  It smelled pretty good, too, and there were more nice people there. 


My nice smelling lady told the new people my name was Popsee, which sounded pretty good to me.  I gave her kisses whenever she said it to show my approval.  I got to go outside and potty and then I think I smelled kibbles!  This has been the best day.

P.S. from the good-smelling lady:  Popsee is heartworm negative, young, boisterous, and a very unusual color.  He’s all boy, and needs to be neutered so he’ll never try to find those wonderful smells again.  Want to continue his adventure in your home?

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Friday, 19 August 2011 17:07 by karenr

I’ll never forget the fear and anger I felt in 2005 when my vet told me my newly-adopted pug, Chucky, was heartworm positive.  Since I’ve been involved with PugHearts we have taken in and treated hundreds of HW+ dogs, and I personally have cared for half a dozen pugs who have gone through the treatment.   It has never become routine for me, and I am angered each and every time.  This disease is totally preventable!  Monthly heartworm preventative costs so little compared to the treatment costs.

Heartworms are an internal parasite of both dogs and cats. These worms live in the bloodstream and cause life threatening disease. Heartworms are a leading cause of lung and heart disease in dogs and dogs are dying of this disease every day.  Just this month we lost sweet CoCo: 

Heartworm disease is caused by the parasite, Dirofilaria immitis. It is transmitted by mosquitoes and has been found in every state in the US. It only takes one mosquito bite for your dog to get heartworms and, without prevention; there is a 100% chance your dog will get it.

Last weekend we had an adoption event at Rover Oaks and I met an adorable little guy called Ricky.    This tiny little guy is severely heartworm positive, with an enlarged heart.  It broke my heart to watch him struggle to breathe.  This was much more serious than the cough we usually see as the first symptom.


The way a dog becomes infected with these parasites is the stuff of nightmares. Infected dogs are the breeding ground for the next dog to become infected.  When a mosquito bites an infected dog, it ingests immature heartworms known as microfilaria. Microfilaria is the larval form of heartworms that change within the mosquito to reach the third stage. It is the third stage that can infect your dog. When the infected mosquito bites your dog, it deposits third stage microfilaria on your dog's skin and the microfilaria enters the dog through mosquito's bite wound. The microfilaria then travel or migrate through the tissues (meaning skin, muscle, connective tissue) and mature to become a juvenile adult or fifth stage larvae.

heartworm copy

This process takes about 50-70 days in the dog. Sometime between 70 and 110 days after the dog is infected, the larvae reach the blood stream and end up in the arteries of the lung (pulmonary arteries). These juveniles then grow up to produce microfilaria of their own in about six months.

Heartworms cause the most harm just by being present in the major arteries of the lung, the pulmonary arteries. They wreak havoc in these arteries and the entire dog suffers. It happens on many levels and here is a list of the damages:

  1. Injury to the lining of the pulmonary arteries (pa).
  2. Pulmonary hypertension, or Increased pressure within the pa due to the presence of the heartworms, the thickening of pa walls, scarring and blockage of pa, and pieces of heartworm that lodge in pa or clots that form and lodge in pa (known as heartworm emboli). Pulmonary hypertension is then responsible for right sided heart disease, even right sided congestive heart failure. The severity of pulmonary hypertension is dependent on the number of adult heartworms, thus, the larger the number of heartworms, the more severe the disease.
  3. Changes within the lung itself. These changes include the infiltration of lung by eosinophils, a white blood cell that takes part in the immune response to allergy and parasitism. Eosinophils are capable of causing and perpetuating a severe inflammatory response which damages the lung and leads to scarring of the lung. Other white blood cells and inflammatory cells may invade the lung causing damage. The heartworms can actually block an artery (thrombosis) and, in areas where thrombosis has occurred, nodules made up of inflammatory cells known as granulomas may form.
  4. Vena Cava Syndrome. This syndrome strikes fear in the heart of every veterinarian. It can happen when there are excessive numbers of adult heartworms in the pulmonary arteries and the heart to the extent that they block blood returning from the liver and the back of the body. This results in severe pulmonary hypertension, the death of liver cells, and the destruction of red blood cells. Large numbers of adult heartworms can interfere with the closing of the valve on the right side of the heart (tricuspid valve) and cause increased speed of flow through this valve exacerbating these problems.
  5. Serious injury to other organs, especially the kidneys, due to the deposition of damaging immune complexes formed between heartworm proteins and antibodies the dog produces against them.

Our director, Cindy, recently sent out an e-mail telling all foster families that the medication we use Merialto treat heartworms, Immiticide, is going to be unavailable for an indefinite period of time.   Merial, the company that makes this drug, is working to correct the issue, but at this time is unable to fill any new orders for Immiticide.  According to a Merial spokesman, the company is “officially out” of the drug, following an unexpected run on the supply after sending a letter to vets warning of a shortage that may “last several weeks to months.”   

There is a small supply available at Sugarland Pet Hospital, but small is the key word here. It will be reserved for special cases. Cindy and Dr Hendrix will work together to make decisions about which fosters will go through this treatment.

What will the impact be for PugHearts?  Heartworm positive fosters will have to wait longer before treatment and even potential adoptions may be delayed, meaning we will have more dogs to care for.   What do we do when our small supply of Immiticide runs out?   The American Heartworm Society supports a protocol using a combination of a heartworm preventative and doxycycline (an antibiotic) to manage infestation — a protocol the society is expected to release as as guidelines for practitioners on treating heartworm-positive dogs without Immiticide.

imageDr. Tom Nelson, a past president of the American Heartworm Society and a practitioner at the Animal Medical Center in Anniston, Ala., notes that the use of doxycyline in combination with heartworm preventive has been shown to reduce pathology, the number of adult worms and the infective potential of microfilaria in canine patients.  Treating heartworm is tricky business. An infected dog, for example, must not vigorously exercise because an increase in heart rate raises the risk that fragments of dead worms in its blood vessels could cause thromboembolism — the formation of an embolism, in this case of dead worms — to the lungs, which usually presents as acute shortness of breath. The condition is treatable with steroids but may prove fatal. Nelson notes that Immiticide quickly kills worms, thereby shortening the time that a dog's exercise must be restricted.

Slow-kill therapies, such as the use of heartworm preventatives, potentially allow for greater opportunity in which worms might block blood vessels, leading to worse lung problems.  Exercise will need to be restricted during the duration of the treatment which may be over a year without Immiticide. 

So now, more than ever, it’s extremely important to keep your dogs on heartworm preventative and to give it monthly on a regular schedule!  Lets all say a prayer for our heartworm positive rescue dogs, too.

Categories:   Health | Heartworms
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Pug Rehabilitation – behavior modification

Tuesday, 2 August 2011 14:43 by karenr

I have shared with you how I assembled my pack of pugs/pug mixes, but once I learned how to be a good pack leader, I began fostering for Pughearts.  I’d like to share some of my techniques and successes in addressing pug behavioral issues.  This can often be a longer process than healing the physical results of neglect and abuse.

For the most part, pugs have wonderful dispositions.  Bred as companion animals, with a generally trusting nature, pugs really love their humans, and usually get along well with other 4-legged members of a family.  In rescue, however, you sometimes get a dog who who has issues with fear aggression, dominance, resource guarding, or socialization as a result of abuse or neglect in their past life.   

What is resource guarding?

Does your dog growl at you when you approach his food bowl? Is your pug possessive about toys and rawhides? Does he snap at you when you even step near him when he’s got a bone? Does your dog bare her teeth when you approach the couch?   The goal of rehab is to keep your pug in the blissful state of loving your approach to his food bowl or other prized possessions.  Something to understand is that resource guarding is an absolutely normal dog behavior. However, it’s not something we humans appreciate. Fortunately, resource guarding is also a behavior that we can change.jojo2

Meet JoJo.

JoJo was surrendered to Pughearts by his owner, who was left with him and two breeding females as a result of a divorce.  On the phone, he threatened to shoot the dogs if we didn’t come get them right away.  Upon arrival, we discovered three sick, very skinny dogs, living in a small rocky enclosure with no food bowls.  If the dogs ever were fed, apparently a small amount of kibble was thrown on the ground, and the dogs were left to fight over it.

You might think that pugs are about as far from the ancestral wolf as you can get.  But all predators come programmed to guard resources that are crucial to their survival.  Food was definitely in short supply at JoJo’s home and the two females were even skinnier than he was.  Broken toothed, scarred and skinny JoJo was still top dog in the pack, and it was beneficial to his survival to look after his food against other  members of his group.

Resource Guarding Myths

According to Jean Donaldson in her book Mine! A Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs, there are several myths we need to dispel:

  • Myth #1: Resource guarding is abnormal behavior.
  • Myth #2: Because resource guarding is driven largely by genetics, it can’t be changed.
  • Myth #3: Resource guarding can be cured by making a dog realize that resources are abundant.
  • Myth #4: Resource guarding is a symptom of “dominance” or “pushiness.”
  • Myth #5: Resource guarding is the result of “spoiling” a dog.

IMG_1222So how do you take a chewie away from a growling dog?  Simple. Make him understand that the approach of a human to his food, toys, chewies, space, etc. is a Good Thing. The process is called classical conditioning.  You probably have heard about clicker training.   Just as the clicker is associated with treats a dog’s mind, the approach of a human hand, face, or other body part to the resource he’s guarding should mean better food is on its way.

jojo3Details on how to do this are readily available in print (like the book I mentioned earlier), or online, such as the following article: Food Aggression.  I read these and everything else I could get ahold of, implemented a training regimen, and JoJo responded beautifully.  To maintain his progress I continue to feed him separately from the rest of the pack, make sure he sits calmly before getting his food, and several times a month I approach him while he’s eating,  pick up the bowl, and plop in a handful of treats before setting it back down. I do the same with toys or chewies.   We also practice “give” or “drop-it”, replacing the surrendered object with something else.


JoJo Rehabilitated

JoJo is neither aggressive nor truly dominant.  He readily submits to Cupid, my alpha bitch, and will play wrestle with hands or toys using gentle bite discipline.  He usually goes out of his way to avoid invading the space of the other dogs in the pack.  That said, he does consider his humans worthy of protection.  He is accepting of strangers if he’s properly introduced, but woe be it to the unwary meter reader who enters the yard unannounced!  In stressful situations such as adoption events, he’s somewhat clingy, and may snap at other dogs who get too close.  He also has been known to snap at children even after being introduced, so a home with little ones would not be the best fit for him.  He will need reinforcement of what he’s learned for the rest of his life, but he has so much to give to some special family.

nick and jojoRehabilitated From a hard life where no one took proper care of him, JoJo is now sharing his love and taking care of others.  We fostered a male pug with medical issues and a seizure disorder for a couple of months, and JoJo took it as his job to see that Nick was happy.  He would share his dog bed with Nick, and would come get us if there was something wrong:  alerting us in advance of an imminent seizure and giving him kisses in the aftermath.

cold jojoJoJo is now heartworm negative, healthy, and happy.  He has the softest coat, and loves to snuggle on the couch, or to share my pillow on the big bed.   Because he may require reinforcement training to keep him from backsliding on his resource guarding, he would probably do better as an only dog, or as a member of a pack with a more experienced (2-legged) leader and no small children.   He was a bit overwhelmed during a home visit with a family who had two large dogs.

JoJo has been waiting nine months for his forever home.   While he’s my best companion while I’m out in the studio painting, I would love for him to share his lessons with a new family!

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My Pug Story–Chapter 4 Chucky (Part 2)

Thursday, 7 July 2011 10:25 by karenr


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:

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:


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:

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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