This is the final VAC story in our series. We hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about them and their beloved pugs!
Jackie is another cheerful character from our North Region. Here is a condensed version of her story!
” have been obsessed with animals since I was 3, apparently refusing to come home from the beach as there was an injured seagull. My first ‘pet’ was a goldfish, (Orinoco), followed by two tortoises and a guinea pig. It progressed to Herbie the Cocker Spaniel, and Toby the Golden Retriever in the 80’s. (My mum grew up with a variety of Cocker spaniels, none of whom were ever pampered, shampooed, or socially embarrassed being forced to wear human clothing, or an elf outfit!).
When I became a mum, my children were forced to share their childhood with Dorothy Pug, Pearl Pug and then Wobbie Pug. Dorothy opened up a whole new world to me. I loved her to bits; she made me laugh (and get cross), so many times. I thought she was the most beautiful, funny, daft, thing I had ever seen. Although brought up to buy from a KC ‘registered’ breeder, this did not prevent her having multiple health issues and require surgeries; I felt we literally lived at the vets, and I sadly lost her, aged 9.5yrs. She was inexplicably greedy and her favourite ‘treats’ were tissues and cigarette butts! By the time of her sad demise, I had experienced too many of the health pitfalls that can come with owning a pug, but I was hooked.
My introduction to PDWRA was by helping a local lady who was well known in the area for her two black pugs who were her life. Sadly, the spinal condition she suffered from, worsened and she could no longer care for them and also less able to afford a vet, but surrendering them to us was out of the question – emotionally she just couldn’t do it, even though friends had tried to persuade her to. The PDWRA Trustees offered to help her as a special case, and paid for eye drops, as both dogs were in pain. We arranged for a vet nurse friend to call and clip their nails, and I drove the dogs back and forward to the vet, as needed. She eventually passed away and the dogs were surrendered. Sadly, we lost her boy about a year after this but her little girl lives on, now blind, but pain-free and bringing her adoptive mum so much joy.
By now I had been introduced to the then Chairlady, and current Trustee, Alison Mount, a very patient, kind and best of all, fun lady, who nurtured me through those days caring for the black Puggies. When Alison asked whether I would like to ‘run North Region’! I had no idea what it involved, but agreed to give it a go. I had no contacts or network, but she helped me find them when needed.
2.5 years later, I’ve learned so much along the way. It wasn’t until I was on the phone one day, speaking to Alison’s consistently polite and calm telephone voice, that I looked up at my bookcase, and realised I was staring at a hardback book I’d had for years, “Living with a Pug’ – Mount”. She had never mentioned she was published. Modest as always. Her knowledge of the breed is boundless, as are her network of connections and devotion to Welfare, and it is to her I always have to say ‘thank you for bringing me on board and changing my life – and possibly my career. I now have a huge interest in dog behaviour, and would like to qualify in some aspect of this in the future if time allows. This interest has been fuelled by fostering some extremely disrespectful Pugs; acquiring a few nips along the way, a bit of blood here and there, and an up-to-date tetanus jab. 😁
Initially I had a ginormous geographical area to cover, which was overwhelming, so after much whingeing, along came my partner in crime, Jo Smith, and we’ve never looked back. We gelled straight away and not only has she been fantastic fun to work with, I have made a friend for life. A few months later, we acquired another friend, the lovely Lisa Butland, who now runs Yorkshire while also working full-time for Age UK. She brings a lot to the table from a charity perspective and is a fantastic fundraiser. We all get on really well which is crucial in helping the dogs. Lisa has put on some fantastic events in Yorkshire, often attended by Alison, who travels the UK with her long suffering and entertaining husband, Peter, and their stock of merchandise from PDWRA’s online shop, to support us.
At times it can be heartbreaking, but the joys hopefully outweigh the sad times. You may not remember every dog you help, but certain ones stay with you. Bobby, Charlie, Obie, Billy, Benson, Willow, Samson & Delilah, Doorbell Daisy, Bonkers Bella, Rosie Winkie, to name a few, shall always have bit of my heart. We give them nicknames as we often get so many with the same name.
I currently share my home with a 16yr old 3 legged cat, (Nemo), who was born when I rescued her pregnant mum in 2004, we had 5 kittens; all were beautiful silver tabbies, except Nemo. I kept her because she was the ugliest and I thought nobody would want her. The bond we’ve had since, has been priceless. I helped her out of her sac when she was born, and she holds my hand with her paw every night. She trusts me implicitly, and talks away, to which I understand every word. Then there’s Wobbie Pug (Mr Arsey) (7) – ungrateful, jealous, disloyal, food aggressive and occasionally human, vet and child aggressive. Other than that, he’s a dream.
Lastly, my longed-for Newfoundland puppy, Splash, joined us in December 2019; she is the youngest member of the household and always reminding me that puppies are SUCH hard work!
One day, I would love to travel the UK in my campervan (my other obsession), with two VERY WELL-BEHAVED dogs, i.e. one very large puppy, who needs a little more training. Finally, I’d also like to try and get dogs into schools in an emotional support capacity, as a comfort source to children having a hard time.”