August 13, 2007

Operation pug rescue

Amy Stewart will host a garage sale to help raise funds for foster pugs

By Kelsey Linden
Staff Writer

Looking to help a few lost animals at a time, Amy Stewart of Delano, along with Elaine Peterson from Pug Rescue, have worked locally to foster pugs – and will be continuing that effort with a garage sale in Delano to raise funds for the dogs this weekend.

Always having a soft spot for pugs, a breed of dog characterized by a tightly curled tail, short muzzle, and broad wrinkled face, Amy and Elaine felt compelled to raise funds to help with the cost of homeless pugs’ medical bills.

Nikki and Cricket, who Elaine is fostering, are 13 and 14 years old.

“Their story is very interesting,” Amy said. Their owners had died, but nobody in the family could take care of the pugs, so they were left at the house.

Occasionally, the neighbors would help take care of them, but they were older and required more steady care. Thankfully, Pug Rescue heard about them, and took them in.

“They are an absolute joy, but they are looking for a home,” Elaine said. “They had been alone for so long that they just latched on to me. They are just looking to be loved, like any other animal.”

Amy is currently fostering two younger pugs who are ages 2 and 3. The two pugs were found as strays, and are both looking for homes as well.

“You just wonder how anyone could get rid of a dog that is so cute,” Amy said.

They may be small and cute, but the pugs are harder to care for than other dogs.

“They are harder to potty-train and they have special needs, but they are definitely people dogs,” said Elaine.

As a family, Elaine and her husband, Stan, raised their children to love animals and they had pugs. Elaine confessed that she was a “cat person” early on, but Stan disliked cats, so dogs won over in the family. Amy’s children, Cameron, 13, and Haley, 10, have carried on the tradition and enjoy helping out with the dogs.

Both Amy and Elaine agree that the pugs are more than just pets, that they are a part of the family.

“I call them my boys,” Amy said.

When asked why she thought people should have pets in the family, Elaine said. “I think pets are calming, and it’s so nice when you come home and they are always so happy to see you.”

“After a stressful day at work, just one look at them just makes your day,” Amy added.

The Pug Rescue program is relatively new as it just went into action early last year.

Applauding the program’s efforts, Amy said, “Pug Rescue is so great because they will take the dogs from people who cannot care for them. There are a number of reasons why a pet owner will choose to give up their dog. The younger they are, the faster they get adopted. We don’t want people adopting the dogs without realizing that they are a little bit of work,” Amy said.

“I would adopt Nikki and Cricket in a heartbeat, but my husband and I move around so much that it’s hard to bring the dogs,” said Elaine.

When asked if it was hard for them to give up the dogs after fostering them, Amy insisted, “You spend so much time with them that you wish you could keep all of them, but you can’t, and they deserve a home. It makes it easier when you know they are somewhere where they are cared for.”

Elaine also added, “The longer you have them, the harder it is to say goodbye to them. There are always tears when they leave.”

As far as the garage sale goes, “We’re hoping to bring in lots of people for the garage sale,” said Amy.

Elaine added, “Most of our items are not going to have a marked price. They are free-will donation.”

Take a look at some of the featured items at the garage sale Thursday and Friday, Aug. 16 and 17 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. All the proceeds go towards helping the pugs. The garage sale will be at Stewart’s house in Clover Springs neighborhood near the Delano water tower.

The address is 638 Montrose Ave. Call (763) 972-9968 for directions or more information. They will also accept items up until the day of the garage sale if you would like to donate. If you are unable to attend the garage sale, you may also donate to the rescue itself by sending your donations to:

Midwest Pug Rescue – Minnesota Division

16073 Second Street North

Lakeland, MN 55043

Pug Rescue is also regularly in need of dog supplies. The organization may also be contacted at mnmidwest@mnmidwestpugrescue.com if interested in adoption or in making donations.

Both Amy and Elaine encourage adoption as the dogs are not bad dogs, “they are just dogs with no fault of their own that ended up in rescue. You just have to give them a chance.”

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