I first got involved with PDWRA in 2016, and became a VAC in June 2018 after welcoming my very own PDWRA rescue into our family.
My day job is running a charity providing care and support to older people, once you see how much of a difference a charity can make, volunteering becomes addictive! PDWRA quickly becomes part of your life and it doesn’t feel like work (although we do a lot of necessary paperwork!) and the colleagues you meet quickly become friends.
I got my first pug as a puppy in 2016, my daughter couldn’t choose between the names Bruce and Alfie, but we settled on Bruce. I feared he wouldn’t learn how to walk with 4 doting adults in our home, he was forever in our arms or on our knee – not that he complained! When he was 1, we started to talk about getting him a chum. We went to a Christmas Party in aid of PDWRA and spoke to the VAC there. After making our application we waited in anticipation. The day we got the call that there was a pug that needed a forever home was just the best, he turned out to be called Alfie too! We have never looked back and thank PDWRA from bringing him to us.
There are so many challenging and rewarding stories! One in particular, was a few days before Christmas when a family split up, the mum was left with 4 dogs (3 pugs) and 3 children. She simply couldn’t cope with everything. She had to put the phone down 5 times while giving me all the details because she was so upset, it was quite an emotional evening. We were quickly able to collect the pugs to rehome, it broke my heart picking them up because I know they didn’t want to let them go, but I knew that it was the right thing for the pugs and it had been a very difficult decision for the family. It’s comforting to know they are cherished by their forever homes. Every month or so I get a message from the surrenderer to say they are thinking about them because it’s raining and they don’t like the rain (show me a pug that does!) or she will find a photo that brings back a happy memory and needs to share it with someone. I always hope I can bring her some comfort.
My favourite part of the VAC role is hearing how the pugs have settled in, how they flourish and how much joy they bring their new families.
Being the first VAC purely for Yorkshire, came with its challenges and opportunities. Under the careful mentoring of Jo and Jackie from the North East I started to build up a network. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy, but it has paid off as after 2 years building it up, and with lots of encouragement from the national network, we are going from strength to strength. We have been out at Events promoting the work of PDWRA and holding fundraising activities. We have built a great partnership with DIGS Student Accommodation and regularly hold wellbeing events which the students love! Our fundraising this year has generated around £2k, people are so generous! It was great when a second VAC, Louise, was brought in early this year to help to carry on the work in God’s own county.
Having retired and moved to Devon, my husband Malcolm and I, who are retired vets, thought it would be good to do some voluntary work. Since we had a resident pug, Hugo, and we knew of all their health issues, I decided to contact PDWRA, which is when I ‘met’ Jane McAllister, who was then looking after Wales as well as the South West. That was in Spring 2018. She asked if we’d like to foster Suki (who, of course, never left!), and it quickly escalated from foster carer, to VAC for Wales, Veterinary Advisor, and a Trustee. I also regularly help out in other areas, including Central presently.
It takes up a huge amount of time, but is very rewarding, especially when, either through fostering or veterinary advice, a pug’s quality of life can be transformed.
Malcolm has also really supported the charity with his specialist orthopaedic and neurology advice, sadly too often needed with pugs.
Our resident pugs are Hugo, now 8 years old and our original pug, along with our 2 PDWRA rescues Suki now 10 years old, and Doug, who is 5; however between fosters and our youngest daughter visiting with PDRWA rescue Prince, we can have 6 pugs around at any one time!
We would like to thank Katy Price, who very kindly and generously donated this stroller for a pug in need.
Gorgeous Peppa who has had back surgery and struggles with control of her rear, is so appreciative and absolutely loves it!
Thank you Katy, it really helps when she gets tired from using her new set of wheels, which provides extra freedom and builds her confidence.
Please have a look at our new stock of delightful greeting cards from Janie Wilson, featuring her little black pug Olive!
There are 11 designs to choose from – just click here to visit our online shop. There are lots of other gift ideas as well, to support pugs in need!
PDWRA would like to extend a big Thank You to Claire Riseborough who has just had a birthday.
Instead of giving her any birthday presents, at Claire’s request her husband and her sister-in-law have both donated to pugs in need.
So a special Thank You goes to Tracy Linger and Mark Riseborough for their thoughtful donation, which is so much appreciated.
Timi was found wandering as a stray in 2017 and was released by the local rescue kennel to PDWRA for rehoming. She was approximately 3 years old and was adopted by an older lady who is a very experienced pug owner.
Timi had occasional epileptic fits, but her companion pug Penny seemed to know when these were likely to occur. Timi would then rest quietly in her basket with Penny until she had recovered.
We were told: “Timi is such a dear little girl, and has settled in so well. She has bat-like ears, always sticking up, and is always full of herself, but very obedient. Lucky Penny and me to have her”.
After 3 happy years in her adoptive home, Timi’s epileptic fits became too frequent, and her owner had to let her go last month.
“She is so sadly missed in so many individual ways that she had – a small girl with a great personality is the best way I can describe her”.
Timi’s ashes will go in her favourite place in the garden.
Our VAC covering Scotland is Sandra. Here’s her story.
I have been involved in foster and adoption for 3 years now, adopting Elvis first in 2017.
Elvis had a few previous foster homes but unfortunately with no success. He is both epileptic and deaf, both challenging conditions. However, he settled into our home instantly and became such an amazing and loved family member.
Then came the fosters, 10 so far to date and I also confess to being a failed foster more than once.
Little Poppy came to us having been kept caged for up to 23 hours a day, this was to stop her shedding her hair in her owners’ home. She has severe allergies which cause her to scratch continuously. She had no hair from her chin to her tummy, her legs and paws were bitten. But with TLC, the right medication and diet, we got her onto the road to recovery and into our hearts.
My favourite part of this journey is seeing the joy and excitement when the new families come to pick up their new companions. The dogs’ reactions are just as amazing. You feel their sense of knowing they are going to their forever homes. This fills me with such happiness. It makes all the work so worthwhile.
We are proud puggy parents to 5 darlings. Olly was my first pug, now an old man of 11, still the tiniest pug I have ever come across. A small dog with a big attitude! We also have 2 fosters with us at the moment. They are all treated the same way as part of our family.
PDWRA has also been like a family. Everyone is so kind and helpful. Emma our other VAC in Scotland has now stepped down, but her advice and guidance has been invaluable to me.
I live in the South West of Cornwall with my family, and three older rescue pugs: Teddy, Poppy and Kitty, I enjoy walking, sailing, kayaking and being in the company of my pugs. My day job is as a part time Early Years Practitioner. I find there are many similarities between small children and pugs – both require a good sense of humour and much patience.
My introduction into the charity began in 2014. I volunteered myself to hold a local sponsored pug walk as part of a PDWRA National fundraising event. I had adopted two failed K9 Crusaders foster pugs, Teddy and Poppy, and now smitten with the breed, was keen to meet other pugs and their owners, and support those in need. The walk was a huge success, and as a consequence we founded the Cornwall Pug Meet. We meet regularly over the cooler months.
Having volunteered in kennel based general dog rescues over the years, I was keen to know more about volunteering for a foster based rescue.
I began my career as a PDWRA Volunteer Rehoming Co-ordinator in 2016 – working with Wales and West founder, and now PDWRA South West VAC, Maureen. I thoroughly enjoy working as part of a National Team – working together to find pugs the most suitable home.
My first surrender and foster was an exuberant and unforgettable pug cross called Betty. She left her mark in the form of gnawed door architraves and missing kitchen door knobs. I found her a nice rural farm home.
I think my most challenging, and equally reqarding case to date was a little pug cross called Jenny. Jenny was merely a pup, failed by her owner who left her outside all day and all night in extremely poor conditions, and without regular food and water. I worked hard with Jenny’s caring neighbour to keep her safe, and six months later she arrived in the care of PDWRA. Jenny went on to be adopted by a wonderful couple who were previous adopters; here is the link to her story.
One of the most rewarding parts of the role for me is seeing those all too often misunderstood pugs turning a corner with the support and patience of a PDWRA foster carer. Patience, time, love, boundaries and exercise can achieve wonders. We really are blessed to have the very best foster carers available to help. I think I gain the most reward from seeing an elderly pug settle down on a comfortable sofa. They ask for very little, yet offer so much.
Maureen was one of the original founders of the Wales & West Pug Rescue. Here is her story.
I live in Devon with my five pugs and one Pekinese. My pug Ruby is a rescue who arrived six years ago.
Pugs have been in my family all my life – owning my first one some 52 years ago! Lucy was born on Easter Sunday 1968 as “Demelza’s Easter Nimbell”, pictured here. She was actually sired by Nimrod, the first pug to ever win the Toy Group at Crufts (1967).
I have been lucky to be able to breed and show them with good success, and I am also a Championship show judge for the breed.
A small group of us got together in 1987 and formed the Wales & West of England Pug Dog Club. In 1988 we formed our rescue group on which I served for 30 years. In 2018 sadly our volunteers were ageing, and we were very short of numbers. A suggestion was put in place to pool our resources and combine with PDWRA, which has worked so well.
I have always been involved with fundraising events, fostering pugs, and home checks.
Lots of friendships have been made over the years with my involvement with pug rescue, and I have found it so rewarding.
Meet another of our VACs, Kirsty from the South West:
I became involved with PDWRA 2 years ago when my fiancée and I applied to become foster carers for a pooch in need. We run a dog daycare and homeboarding business in Cornwall and had the time and facilities to offer a temporary home for a dog in need.
This may be the time to confess our dark secret – we weren’t too sure about pugs! Having cared for many breeds over the years and considering ourselves big dog people, I applied to foster a pug because I felt sure I would not get too attached. How wrong I was. We did not realise the impact these funy little creatures would have on our lives, and after a crash course on how to speak and understand Pug from the wonderful VAC Jane, we were on our way.
We collected our first foster pug, a small and stern black female now named Piggy, nearly 2 years ago, who of course never left. We should have seen the trouble coming after we signed the adoption papers and she promptly attached herself to the end of my nose in gratitude. She rules with an iron fist but has us laughing all the time and will get involved in anything we throw at her from agility to canoeing.
We have since fostered 5 more pugs and number 6 has also decided he will be staying, to pursue his new found love of the sea and water based hobbies. He has been our most challenging guest with his complex behaviour issues, but totally worth it when a year on he is complimented out in public on being “such a lovely well behaved dog” – although his favourite pastime is still to dive out from under a table and try to grab a waiter’s ankles!
There are many wonderful elements to the role of VAC and involvement with PDWRA. I love seeing a happy pug in a happy home and to know that you were a part of their happy ending. Also being part of a supportive community who are as pug mad as we are, and meeting some lovely people because of it.
The Pug Dog Welfare & Rescue Association recently received a quarterly donation of £266.62 from AmazonSmile, thanks to customers shopping at smile.amazon.co.uk.
To date, Amazon has donated a total of:
- £942.25 to The Pug Dog Welfare & Rescue Association
Thank you for supporting The Pug Dog Welfare & Rescue Association by shopping at smile.amazon.co.uk.
PDWRA would like to extend a very big Thank You to the ASDA Foundation, who run the charitable Green Token Giving programme in-store.
We were nominated and voted for by Bromsgrove shoppers.
Thank you from all the grateful pugs in need.
The best news! Bert and Ernie have found their perfect forever home!
Bert and Ernie needed to stay together, as they are a bonded pair and love each other’s company.
Last time we saw them, they were enjoying their stay in foster, when we eventually found their forever home following an appeal. We’ve already rehomed quite a number of bonded pairs so far this year.
Bert and Ernie were collected by Mum and Dad in no time, and have settled in so easily. They are the gentlest, most undemanding of pugs. Their Mum says it’s like they’ve always been there.
Another fantastic, happy ending to celebrate!
We are delighted that previous adopters who welcomed a pair of pugs from PDWRA over a year ago, have decided to do the same again, adopting another pair!
Here are Ronnie and Freddie, safely transferred under current precautions, to this perfect forever home for them. They have settled straight away, looking extremely cosy on that bed, snuggled up to resident pair Frankie and Minnie who have welcomed them. What a truly gorgeous grumble they make!
Could you help us help pugs in need?
PDWRA are looking for Volunteer Area Co-ordinators to join their hard-working existing Volunteer Team throughout the UK, to deal with all aspects of Pug Rehoming, from taking surrender calls to managing cases, vetting new homes, and matching pugs to applicants.
You need to be very flexible and have a minimum of 10 hours per week to commit as well as being passionate about rescue, computer literate and have good interpersonal skills.
Rescue work can be very emotional but also extremely rewarding, so if you would like further information or an application form, please email:
We’re starting a series of posts to introduce some of our Area Co-ordinators, written by them, about their volunteering and their pugs.
Here is the link to the first in the series:
VAC Clare from East region writes:
“My day job is a manager in a busy veterinary hospital, and I was first introduced to the charity 3 years ago by a colleague there. I already had a pug who still rules the roost, Polly, though I had no idea how many pugs were being surrendered and needed new homes.
I began as a foster carer/home checker volunteer for PDWRA and will always remember my first foster, dear Uncle Bulgaria, who was a feisty pug with unfortunately a lot of health problems. We sadly only had him for a few months.
After a year or so, I became a regional Area Co-ordinator. In addition to the day-to-day rehoming work, I have helped with various Events from Crufts to local fundraising parties, to help spread the word of this incredible charity who I feel honoured to be part of.
To date my most challenging and rewarding case is a little girl pug who was dumped outside a police station with multiple health issues. I collected and nursed her back to health. A year on she is living the dream life where she can want for nothing!
My favourite part of the role is working with the pugs that come in, to get them rehabilitated and ready for their forever homes. Also, working with the rest of the regional PDWRA teams and local volunteers has made me lifelong friends, thanks to the charity.
At home I currently have 5 pugs, Polly, Lolly, Rigsby, Lars and Babs, all very accepting of any foster pugs I bring home. Sadly, I very recently lost our 6th, Percy, who crossed the rainbow bridge”.
If you would like further information or an application form to become a VAC, please email: