It’s hard to look into the eyes of a pug and not smile. There is something about their wrinkled grin that brightens up the day for many people. For those that love and rescue the breed, there is so much to love and for the general public, so much to learn.
“I fell in love with pugs the first time I held a little pug puppy about 16 years ago, but lived in an apartment and couldn’t have a dog at that time,” says Linda Elwood, founder of MOPS (Making our Pugs Safe). “When I moved into a town home, I felt I was ready and started to research the breed. I met some people at the Midwestern Pet Expo from the Great Lakes Pug Club and really learned a lot about the breed and rescue at that time.”
The Great Lakes Pug Club is the club for many respected breeders and until a few years ago, it also operated a rescue for the breed. The organization would take in owner relinquishments, rescues from puppy mills and dogs from shelters. When the organization stepped away from rescuing, Elwood decided to step up to the plate and start her own organization – MOPS (Making Our Pugs Safe).
“I am really passionate about caring for the dogs and making sure that we have great foster homes for the animals we rescue,” says Elwood. “Since these dogs are in my care and may not have had the greatest start in life, I want to make sure that they are going to be in a great situation and that they will be nurtured and cared for until adoption. I found a rescue with a very detailed foster family form and made a few revisions to create the five-page application that you must fill out to foster for our organization.”
MOPS has been adopting out dogs for about two years now and Elwood takes pride in working with the dogs and her fosters to find a good match for the pugs. She says there are some misconceptions and important things people should understand before jumping in and adopting a pug.
Shedding – Elwood says there’s a big misconception that pugs don’t shed, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Like with other animals, if you brush them more frequently, they shed less frequently.
Eye Issues – Tear productivity is a big problem with this breed. Pug owners need to pay attention and watch to see if tear productivity is down. If so, the dogs may need eye drops. What happens is the pug’s eyes won’t close all the way due to Pigmentary Keratitis and a film will cover the eyes. If drops aren’t used and the dog isn’t monitored, a dog could lose its sight due to this condition.
Nose, snout and palate – A pug’s nose needs to be cleaned on a regular basis and should stay dry. They also have a flat face and lack a snout, which causes problems with some pugs in the heat, especially if there are also issues with their palates. Dogs that get winded easily may need surgery. Their flat snout also gets them in trouble when they are on a sniffing expedition because sometimes they run into things and don’t have a nose to soften the blow. Elwood says her rule of thumb with these dogs is that if the weather dictates air conditioning or heat for you, the same is true for the health of the dog.
Good family dog – Pugs in general are very good with kids and make a great companion dog. Generally, if a pug isn’t good with kids, it’s because of issues the dog may have had in a previous home. This dog is also very stubborn and strong-willed. Because of that stubborn streak, many pugs will “break-out” from an invisible fence.
Good apartment dogs – Like with any dogs, Pugs do need their exercise, but they are good lap dogs and do well in small spaces like an apartment or condo unlike some other small breed that may have too much energy for a small space.
Socialization – Because they are social, these dogs don’t do as well when left alone for a long period of time without some human interaction. If you’re going to be gone 12 hours a day, a dog walker or doggy day care should be considered. They are social with other dogs.
Elwood’s organization rescues from a variety of places. They do take owner relinquished dogs, rescues from shelters and some dogs from puppy mills. In the past year, MOPS has found homes for 26 dogs (dogs available for adoption). Elwood says they are in need of foster homes, people that would be able to help with events and donations. Among items that are helpful to the group are gas cards – to help them ferry dogs back and forth to the vets. Learn more about the organization by following them on Facebook.
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