My involvement with PDWRA started in 2017 as a first-time adopter. We were willing to take on a pair of pugs, who turned out to be the beautiful, 7 ½ year-old litter sisters, Millie & Tasmin (Taz).
With the name of Tasmin, she must have been meant for me!?
Having taken a serious break from my career managing international recruitment for a global tech company, made it possible to devote the time needed for them, and due to this, along with the following volunteering developments, I never returned to it!
The following year, I was approached by the trustees and asked if I would join the core team as a Voluntary Area Coordinator (VAC) for the busy, South region. It was full-on, learning on the go, in practical, policy and process terms, as well as accelerating my understanding about this most special breed. Before I knew it, I had matched and rehomed 50 gorgeous pugs and another volunteer was brought onboard to help.
I oversaw every step of the often emotional and difficult journey for those handing over their pugs, managing the enthusiastic waiting list of adopters until pugs were successfully matched to them, also providing advice and support to foster carers across the 10 counties particularly over pug health matters. Organising volunteer transport generally at short-notice, I soon became an expert about motorway service station locations and using the AA route planner!
It is even more satisfying seeing how the pugs get on in their forever homes, with parents I have known since being names on an application form!
We sadly lost Taz to aggressive Mast Cell Tumours after going through surgeries and chemo with her, as she deserved to live longer than that terrible disease had originally planned for her. We decided to adopt another beautiful soul, Dottie, well in advance of that, so that Millie would still have a familiar companion and sister as she’s always had one. It was a difficult time nursing her and making many vital decisions with her specialists at Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology, where I felt I was living for a while.
I have also fostered short-term, as Millie doesn’t generally welcome new pugs to our home! However, we ‘failed’ in that twice, by adopting 2 pairs of boys, Percy and Benny in 2020 then Bob and Frank after we lost Percy to lymphoma.
We’ve experienced dentals for all, numerous eye-ulcers, 2 types of cancer, seizures, a heart-murmur, arthritis, pug myelopathy and a little biter who looks like butter-wouldn’t-melt, and is 95% transformed!!
Whether adoptees or foster pugs, they were all overweight when they arrived, 2 of the boys were obese, so weight-loss management became a familiar experience too. We learn so much from what this exceptional breed throws at us!
After a break when I knew I couldn’t continue what was a near full-time commitment as a VAC, I was asked if I’d consider returning to help a few others with PDWRA’s Social Media. I’ve managed it since mostly on my own, for 4 years, 7 days/week, gathering and producing content relating to the charity’s work and achievements, as well as covering only a sample of the many heart-warming pug rescue and adoption stories that our followers and supporters enjoy so much.
Our Facebook following has increased considerably, to 36,000 and queries and comments from the public need to be responded to whenever they arise, so it’s been really useful having gained the knowledge I have from my various roles in the charity. Managing the website publishing side too, I’m able to draw on our invaluable technical expert Steve, whenever needed and also work closely with PDWRA’s digital marketing agency’s owner, Robin, a pug owner and supporter who volunteers their services to produce our bi-monthly newsletters.
I have also served as a Trustee (2021 – 2022), on top of these daily operational roles, having to step back later to re-balance my volunteering workload and my home-life with our expanded and ageing grumble.
My husband, Ian, also volunteers whenever needed, as a regular transporter at the weekends, so meets many other wonderful volunteers and adopters across the country. Often I do too when our home is a handover point, so I get to meet the newer pugs too!
It’s been long hours, juggling plates and learning new skills, but so worthwhile, for all the pugs that desperately need us!
I dedicate this article to our beloved Taz & Percy, both with us for only 2 years, respectively!
For latest vacancy information for specific volunteer roles, please go to:
Vacancies | The Pug Dog Welfare & Rescue Association (pugwelfare-rescue.org.uk)
If you would like to volunteer locally to you, please see details of the 3 options; transporting, home-checking or fundraising, and to apply at:
Volunteering for PDWRA | The Pug Dog Welfare & Rescue Association (pugwelfare-rescue.org.uk)
If you’re considering fostering, please see more details and apply at:
Fostering | The Pug Dog Welfare & Rescue Association (pugwelfare-rescue.org.uk)