Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 17, 2004

LP woman raises pugs, the Tonka trucks’ of dog breeds

By Heidi Stutelberg

“The only thing better than one pug is two,” said Joanie Bull, owner of Legacy Kennels of rural Lester Prairie and long-time breeder.

Bull has acquired a great deal of knowledge about pugs, but claims she is still learning, even after 13 years of raising dogs.

Bull remembers her mentor, long-time pug breeder Mardette Trettin, of Hutchinson, lending her advice when she first got started in pug breeding.

Since recently moving out of Lester Prairie, Joanie, her husband, Brian, and their four daughters have expanded their kennel.

Bull has also just logged her web site, www.legacy-kennels.com, onto the Internet two weeks ago. She is already feeling like “Dear Abby,” since she has been receiving so many e-mails from people with pug questions.

Besides providing helpful tips about the pug breed, Bull’s web site has a coloring contest for kids – a pug coloring contest, of course.

If they send their colored pictured to her by mail or by e-mail, she’ll send them a prize.

Pugs are very kid-friendly. Bull’s older daughters, Josie, 12, and Bethanie, nine, have both shown the pugs for their 4-H projects.

When Bethanie was seven years old, she trained an adult female pug to pick up objects off the floor.

Bethanie used a hand-held clicker to train the pug. She did not reward the pug with treats to avoid a dependency on them or the chance of obesity for the pug.

Bull was then able to place the pug with a five-year-old girl who had spinabifida and was confined to a wheelchair.

The girl needed a pet to pick things up for her. Joanie’s younger daughters, Carissa, 6, and Leah, 1, love the dogs as well. Bull calls pugs the “Tonka trucks of the toy dog breeds.”

They are shaped like a brick, square and sturdy, but don’t expect a pug to be a guard dog.

They will bark when someone new comes around and then welcome them right in to your home.

She also describes pugs as “clowns” and “hilarious.”

Bull mentioned they are often referred to as “monkey dogs” because of their mischievousness.

Pugs seem to have a human-like face when they tilt their heads if they have heard a strange noise.

They even like to watch television, but, like people, pugs can become couch potatoes.

Throughout the past 13 years, Joanie has learned that pugs are difficult puppies to raise.

“The first weeks of infancy can be a little precarious,” Bull stated.

Since females pugs often are not good mothers, it’s very important to assist them with delivery.

Joanie recalls that during one delivery, she had to be with the mother pug for 26 hours straight until the whole litter was born and nursed by the mother pug.

Bull stresses the need for excellent veterinary support. The investment is worth it because pugs generally live 12 years and have been bred to be companions for people.

They seem to keep a certain puppy charm their entire lives.

Those who are considering owning a pug and want to know more about the breed, may ask Bull or go to her web site at www.legacy-kennels.com.

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