I’ve written about why you should rescue a pug or pug cross but that was before I truly understood what it meant to adopt a rescue pug. I wrote that a little before I was lucky enough to bring Serina into our family. And not only has it changed my life and Ref’s life having another pug around but more importantly it has changed the life of Serina. You can read all of the stories of a rescue pug and how their life has improved but you’ll never really understand until you’ve adopted one yourself. But I even so, I still need to share with you how you can change the life of a rescue pug.
Teach Them What it is to Feel Safe
This is the one that I not only found the hardest part of adopting but the most rewarding. It is incredibly sad to think that any dog couldn’t feel safe. But it happens and it happens way too much. When a pug comes from terrible circumstances, you need to show them that all humans aren’t bad. You need to show them they can be safe in the company of a human and that they won’t be hurt or neglected.
When I brought Serina home, she was scared. She was in a new place again and so soon after being taken away from the terrible place she lived. There were 3 humans she didn’t know if she could trust. There was another dog that she didn’t know. All I could do was give her a comfy bed to sleep on the first night and keep reassuring her every hour when she woke to noises she didn’t know, that everything was ok and she could go back to sleep. The next morning I honestly wasn’t sure if she would even eat her brekkie. But I gave her some familiar food that she had been having in foster care and she gobbled it up. I guess that first night of constantly reassuring her that she was ok was enough to start building trust with her so she ate straight away. I could get her to come outside to the toilet. But all I could then do was let her explore the house and choose her safe place, which was my bedroom. And that’s where she spent 99% of her first week with us, in her safe place. For me, that’s all I wanted. Just for her to feel safe. Then I’d worry about anything else.
Teach Them What Trust Is
Trust can actually be rather difficult to build. For a rescue pug who didnt have a human who looked after, loved them or kept them safe it can be so difficult for them to trust another human. But making them feel safe and giving them all your loving care, you can build that trust. You can turn a dog who was afraid to be patted into a dog who will let you give them a cuddle, pick them up or even give them a kiss. And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get the kisses too.
Serina was afraid when she first came home. She didn’t want anyone to pat her let alone pick her up. I was lucky enough to build trust with her quite quickly but it took much longer for her to trust my parents or any other human I introduced to her. It took a few weeks for her to allow anyone to pat her and they had to get her persmission first. A simple putting your hand in front for her to sniff was all you needed to give her a pat. The lick of approval gave you the go ahead. Now, nearly 5 months on, anyone can pat her as long as you don’t approach her from behind. She needs to see you coming so she doesn’t get startled. The trust she has developed in me now means I can give her a cuddle and a kiss without her being stressed. It is an amazing feeling knowing that she trusts me.
Teach Them How to be a Dog
Once your rescue pug feels safe and loved, then you can start teaching them how to be a dog cause let’s face it, most won’t know how to be what we consider a normal dog. They probably don’t know what it is like to go for a walk on a lead, go to the park, play with toys, to only toilet outside or even know the basic commands of sitting for food.
It will all come down to some training. Start with toilet training. And it is the same way you would toilet train a puppy with taking them outside frequently and watching for the signs that they need to go to the toilet. And stick to the basics. Sit, stay and come. All important commands. But don’t expect too much either. Not all rescue dogs will be able to do all of the tricks and fun stuff you may want them to do. Every dog will be different. And don’t be surprised that they will look at a toy and not know what to do with it but you can teach them to play with toys.
Make Them a Happy & Healthy Pug
Now not every rescue pug will come to you in perfect condition. It’s quite the opposite and you’d be lucky if they don’t have some sort of health problem. But you can still make them happy and as healthy as possible. It is so important to go into adoption with your eyes wide open. Rescue pugs will quite often have had some sort of surgery. They may have some of their health problems rectified with surgery whilst others may need ongoing treatment over the short term or long term. But regardless of their health problems, you can still make them happy and definitely live a healthier life than they were previously. Don’t forget to regularly consult your pug’s vet especially if they have ongoing health problems.
Serina came to me with anxiety, having undergone surgery for a number of issues and hip dysplasia. But with a healthy & nutritious natural diet, regular injections for her hip dysplasia and general check ups, she is as healthy as she can be. She is totally off her anxiety medication and has been for the last few months now. She is the happiest little girl who gets excited to see me, have her meals, go to bed and definitely head out on adventures.
You can truly change the life of a rescue pug. All you have to do is want to change their life for the good. Give them a safe, happy home and show them love. And they will return it. You will change their world and they will change yours. And it is worth it so much. So if there is one thing I can encourage you to do, it is to adopt a rescue pug.