Why do we do this?
Hello. My name is Rodney and my wife and I volunteer as fosters for Pug Hearts.
Like Michelle and many other wonderful people we take care of pugs that are waiting
to be adopted.
Growing up taking care of dogs was not a part of my life. My grandmother had a few
country dogs but for the most part a dog inside the house was something that didn’t
happen. Personally I liked dogs but didn’t feel the need to have one of my
own. Well that all changed when I met my wife Melanie. You see, marrying my wife
was a package deal. Not only did I get her but I also picked up a couple of crazy
dogs with funny looking faces.
The question at hand is why did I become a foster? That is easy. I became a foster
because of my wife’s dogs Poncho and Dixie. They couldn’t be bigger
pains in the neck at times but I can’t imagine my life without them waiting
for me when I come home. Those two are a couple of special dogs that dragged me
into the world of pugs. So when the thought of another pug suffering crosses my
mind it breaks my heart and compels me to do something to help.
If Poncho and Dixie are the reason I got into fostering I can tell you the reason
I continue. It is because of all the special foster dogs that have come into my
life. There is an over-used saying about how life is like a box of chocolates. Well
you could say the same thing about foster dogs because you never know what you’re
Each dog that has come into our home has been special in their own way. We’ve
had puppies, old dogs, hyper dogs, lazy dogs, healthy dogs and sadly sick dogs.
While it is difficult to let these special animals go when the time comes I’m
comforted by the fact they all go to excellent homes. In many cases we’ve
built relationships with the new owners so we have the opportunity to see our friends
grow and prosper. It is very exciting to run into one of your former fosters at
a Pug Meet-up because they always remember you.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so without further ado let me introduce
you to a few of my friends and the reasons I continue to foster.
Gabby - Feb 2007
Gabby - Sept 2007
Gabby was our first foster and is now part of our family. She came to us just days
after surgery to remove three large kidney stones she was carrying while wondering
the streets. Luckily she was taken in by a kind family who contacted Pug Hearts.
She was in such bad shape when they found her the family gave her the name Grubby
because of her appearance. As you can see the name has been slightly modified. Today
she is happy, healthy and doing everything she can to become the alpha dog of our
Grover - April 2007
Grover - May 2007
Grover was our little puppy. For some strange reason someone left Grover and all
of his puggle brothers and sisters at a local shelter. At first we thought the only
struggle with Grover would be all those cute but annoying puppy habits but after
a couple of weeks in our care we realized there was a bigger problem as this little
guy was very sick. Thankfully with the help of our great vet Dr. Hendrix and some
special care he shook off the nasty bug and made a full recovery. It was a joy to
see him go from having to be given water through a syringe to eating like a horse.
When he came home from his hospital stay he was barely 3 pounds. Last I heard he
is over 13 pounds and enjoying life running in a local park with his new owner.
Chi Chi - June 2007
Chi-Chi we hardly knew you. Poor Chi-Chi came to us after living in a home where
they thought keeping a pug in the garage was a good idea. While she was with us
only a week I can still remember Chi-Chi flying from couch to chair and back again.
I’m pretty sure she was a cat in a former life. I saw her in the dog park
a few months ago enjoying a Saturday morning with her new owners.
Dougie - June 2007
Dougie - July 2007
Dougie - Sept 2007
Dougie our little bald puppy. As you can see Dougie came to us with a serious case
of demodectic mange. He was found in a Taco Bell parking lot looking for a bite
to eat and in very bad shape. When he first arrived at our home he was shy and uncomfortable
because of his skin condition. During his stay with us he received special baths
and some rather powerful medicine to kill the ugly bug causing his problem. Slowly
but surely the scabs went away and in their place sprouted fur. As Dougie’s
appearance began to change so did his attitude. Gone was the shy puppy covering
his face and in its place was a wild man ready to play and cause trouble. The great
news is he couldn’t have gone to a better home. We stay in touch with his
new family and see Dougie often in the dog park. To this day those that knew Dougie
when he first came to Pug Hearts are amazed by his transformation, both on the inside
Harry - July 2007
Harry our ultimate couch potato. This guy is your typical lazy pug and can be lazier
than me on a Sunday afternoon. We only had Harry a couple of weeks because he quickly
found his forever home thanks to a trip to the Reliant Dog Show. While Harry was
manning the Pug Hearts booth a sweet lady saw him and it was love at first sight.
In just a few short days after the show Harry joined his new family. We get frequent
updates on our big guy from his new owners. The latest is he is still a couch potato
and is loving life with his new pug brother Roscoe.
Hope is our sweetheart and current foster. This poor little dog was found on the
streets and sadly is the sickest we’ve had to date. She is suffering from
a serious case of heart worms and it has been an up and down battle since we took
her in about 6 weeks ago. She is undergoing aggressive treatment which does kill
the worms but in the process takes a heavy toll on her little body. She has a long
way to go before she is healthy but we are positive and will do everything in our
power to make sure she has the long and healthy life she deserves.
Those are my dogs and they are why I foster. Even though I have helped them during
their journey the truth is they have helped me on my journey just as much if not
more. For that I’m thankful to have met each and every one of them and wouldn’t
trade those experiences for the world.
Hi. My name is Michelle. I have been working with PugHearts of Houston since it
started in February 2007. I am a foster for pugs that are waiting to be adopted.
Before I started working with PugHearts, I had never been involved with dog rescue.
I am an animal lover and always have been. Growing up, my family always had at least
one animal at any time. There were several breeds that we had through the years
(Cocker Spaniel, Shih-Tzu, Pekingese, German Shepherd, Lhasa Apso, a mutt or two,
and cats), but never a pug. After I graduated from college and was moving to Houston,
I received a pug puppy as a present from my uncle. That was a little over four years
ago and I don't know if I'll ever have another breed of dog. My pug's name is Trumper.
Of course, I think he is the cutest pug ever.
One night while having dinner with friends, a conversation began about her work
with Britney Spaniel rescue. I had never known anyone that had worked with dog rescue.
Because I was so unfamiliar with rescue, I had lots of questions for her. We discussed
many of the different aspects and needs of her rescue group. I had been looking
to get involved with some type of volunteer work and thought that fostering pugs
would be perfect for me.
Later that week, I started to do research on pug rescue organizations in Houston.
I found some information on a new pug rescue that was just starting up. I contacted
Cindy R. and she was actually having a meeting that weekend. This rescue group that
was just getting started is what we know today as PugHearts of Houston. This organization
started in February 2007 and has already adopted over 30 dogs.
So, why do I foster, you ask?
I love pugs. A pug is the most comical dog that I have ever been around.
They are loving and loyal. They sense when you are upset or unhappy and have a way
of "smiling" at you to make you feel better. The pug is also one of the
very few breeds that were bred for the sole reason of human companionship; they
take this responsibility very seriously.
There are so many pugs in need. Even though I treat my pug as royalty, not
everyone feels the same way that I do. During the past 6 months, I have seen pugs
in conditions that absolutely astound me. If someone would have told me of the condition
of some of these pugs, I would have never believed them; but, now I have seen for
I have the time available to care for the foster dogs. Pugs do require attention.
They are not dogs that can be ignored or put outside when they annoy you. Foster
dogs will require trips to the vet, future family meet and greets and lots of love.
I will share the story of my favorite foster, Stephani. Stephani was a three year
old female who was turned into a shelter by her owners, who asked to have her put
to sleep because of problems with her eyes. Stephani had suffered severe trauma
to both of her eyes. This trauma was no accident and had been untreated by her owners.
Stephani had her first encounter with an angel at the shelter. The lady that took
Stephani from her owners decided that Stephani should not be put to sleep just because
of the problems with her eyes and called PugHearts. Stephani's then had her second
encounter with angels. She was picked up from the shelter by PugHearts and brought
to our wonderful vet, Dr. Hendrix. One of her eyes had to be removed and the other
eye had to be sewn shut for the time being.
When Stephani went for her surgery she had both her eyes and when she woke up, she
was blind. The remaining eye was sewn shut with the hopes that it would heal better.
She was completely blind for the first week that I had her. Going from being able
to see to not being able to see at all was a very scary experience for Stephani.
I ended up carrying her around in my arms most of the time because it was hard for
her to get around the house. One of our wonderful PugHearts volunteers made her
a "halo" that was attached to her harness and looped around her head so
that she would not run into things anymore.
Even without her sight, Stephani was one of the sweetest dogs I had ever had. She
loved to just be held and petted. She would follow me around the house as best she
could by using her sense of smell and hearing. She has a little under bite where
her bottom teeth stick out sometimes. When she would "look" up at me with
just the corner of her tongue sticking out over her teeth and I couldn't help but
pick her up and hug her. It was hard for me to imagine how anyone could let this
happen to such a sweet dog. Thinking of the trauma that she might have been through
can almost bring tears to my eyes today (and I'm not a crier).
Everyone that met Stephani was saying prayers for her. We were all waiting to see
if she would be able to keep the eye that was sewn shut. When the stitches were
removed from her remaining eye, she could see! Her eye still had a lesion on it,
but with medicine applied daily, she should recover fine. This was great news to
me, all of our PugHearts volunteers and especially Stephani. She was a new dog when
she got her vision back. She became very playful and upbeat. She loved to take walks
around the block and even play with my dog Trumper. She became the pug that she
should have been all along.
Stephani met her third angel when she met her adoptive family. She truly found her
own doggie heaven and could not have asked for a better place to live.
The most frequent questions that I get asked about fostering is "How do you
not get attached to the dogs?" or "Don't you want to keep all of them?"
My answers are "I do" and "Yes". Every foster dog is unique
and I love them all. They each have their own personality and have suffered in their
own way. I would love to be able to keep and care of each the dogs that I foster.
I have not had a foster dog yet that I would not keep for myself. But, in reality,
I can not keep all of the dogs. I know that there are so many wonderful people that
are willing to give these dogs forever homes. And once PugHearts finds a home for
my current foster, there is always another one waiting.