Pug Rescue


Yesterday I met in White River Junction, VT with Green Mountain Pug Rescue to photograph a transport of 10 pugs and two Yorkies coming into the rescue from Missouri and Arkansas. GMPR wanted pictures taken quickly to put up on their web site to help get the word out about them.
I had never done this before and was unsure what to expect. Yes, I was nervous, but also excited and curious.
I arrived at McDonald's early, at 5:45 p.m. for the 6:30 p.m. delivery and decided it made more sense to go across the street and grab a bite to eat rather than sitting in the hot parking lot waiting. When I returned at 6:27 p.m. there were no pugs in sight. I checked my phone and discovered that the transport time had changed to 6:00 p.m. and I worried I had missed it. Fortunately, I hadn't. After some worried Facebook messaging and phone calls I discovered that the transport had arrived at the nearby Comfort Inn instead. Directed to the back of the parking lot, I arrived to controlled chaos. The first thing I spotted was the huge transport truck. One of the volunteers informed me that a retired couple had renovated a large horse trailer and were spending their time transporting dogs across the country to rescues.
Volunteers milled around several x-pens of whirling pugs most of which were scratching away at sore, balding bodies. It seems most of the rescues have either mange or a severe flea allergies. Several also had eye problems. The head of the rescue was teary-eyed and said that this was one of the worst groups she had seen in her 10 years of rescue. I quickly went to work shooting photos of the little ones while the foster families moaned over them, shocked and worried over their condition.
I understand how they felt. The poor little creatures were unable to stand still, they were scratching so hard, and yet, there was something else I noticed. In spite of their conditions and skittishness, these were still pugs and many were demonstrating such "pugish" characteristics as friendliness, gregariousness, curiosity. Some, if not all, might have been nervous, but they also seemed happy, doggy, with tails a waggin'. I know it was hard for the rescuers and foster families concerned with vet bills, logistics and the plight of all the other pugs who go unrescued to see, but my distance behind the camera gave me the vantage point to see the the potential of the dogs in front of me, many of which seemed friendly, happy even. Yes, they may have some rough days ahead as they heal and certainly the rescue faces financial challenges in caring for them, but these pugs will be pugs and it made me think a bit about resilience and survival and how personalities and souls can remain intact and thrive even when bodies don't.
Green Mountain Pug Rescue http://www.greenmtnpugrescue.com is taking donations toward the care of these pugs and it is much needed. I respect the work this group does, the long hours they put in and the tears shed. These dogs are lucky dogs for their effort. As dogs they know how to wag their tails in the face of adversity and enjoy themselves when they sense the opportunity. They do not live as victims. They may hurt and itch, but they also lick and love and I am happy I got to witness that.