This page is dedicated to all of the volunteers who make our organization run on a daily basis.

Our organization is 100% volunteer based with no paid staff. Fosters, Transports, Applicant Screeners, Event Organizers, Meet and Greet teams, and everyone that donates their time, talent, and energy to making Pug Rescue possible.

Visit our Volunteer Page to find out how to get involved with a great cause!

April 2017 Volunteer Spotlight: Reid Solomon

Reid can be found at our adoption events! He is always helping answer questions about our adoptable pugs and his friendly, approachable attitude towards all the potential adopters asking questions at events has been invaluable to our rescue. Thank you, Reid – the pugs thank you, too!

March 2017 Volunteer Spotlight: Mindy and Yohaan Fernandez

Although Mindy and Yohaan haven’t been with PRA for very long, they have both jumped in head first! They have taken a foster at a moments notice, taken a foster who is special needs, and even taken an extra foster to help out in a pinch. They have been an incredible asset to PRA!

“We moved from Toronto to Austin with our senior pug Nala. We wanted to get a fur friend for her and discovered Austin Pug Rescue.  We immediately got to know the wonderful volunteers. Our first Pug Rescue event was wrapping gifts during Christmas and Nala was the perfect pug mascot.

Unfortunately before we could adopt a fur friend, our beloved Nala, fell sick unexpectedly and crossed over the rainbow bridge. Nala changed our lives. Everyday she showed us unconditional love and kindness making us better humans. We are foster parents with Pug Rescue to commemorate our best friend and spread the love she passed on to us.”

February 2017 Volunteer Spotlight: Tim Lance

Tim is one of the rockstar pug transporters that helps our rescue team to respond quickly to any pugs in need. He found out about the work of PRA through a Facebook call for help 5 years ago, and has been an integral part of the team since then.

“My daughter had always liked pugs but we’d never known any ourselves until she got her Daisy while in college. Within a couple years we of course got one, too. (A younger Sophie is in my lap in the picture.) Yes, we love dogs, and cats. Over the years we’ve had other critters and creatures. Sophie is now 13 and totally deaf and blind. Her desire to eat and sleep has not diminished. We also have a Boston Terrier and a cat. The Boston has issues far beyond simply being a Boston. The cat is, well, a cat, but is getting on in years, too. As are we! Jan and I are retired teachers who work part-time trying to keep up with our three year old granddaughter.

Some five years ago before I’d ever heard of PRA, or thought about such, a transport request post came across my Facebook feed. I had recently retired and figured, since loving both pugs and driving around listening to music, transporting was something I could do. I then regularly drove until our granddaughter was born and I became Gaga’s Daycare. Once she started pre-school part-time I returned to transporting. And now at three and a half years she occasionally accompanies me on local “pug runs.” One last thing, our granddaughter’s pug/boxer mix is her mother’s foster fail.”

January 2017 Volunteer Spotlight: Katie Jones

Katie Jones is a priceless volunteer and foster. She is an integral part of the rescue and a great example of how this entirely volunteer-run organization has an incredible base of dedicated volunteers who continue to make the wheels turn!

“I am honored to be chosen for the volunteer spotlight. My boyfriend, Michael Duke, plays a huge role in helping me foster and I couldn’t do it without him. We have been fostering for 3 years. Our first foster, Velvet, was a foster fail. We fell in love with her and couldn’t let her go. She joined her brother Lenny who is a pug that I have had since he was 11 weeks old. When I moved to Austin, I joined the Austin pug group and that’s where I heard about PRA. After I adopted Velvet, I still wanted to continue to be involved with PRA and just loved being able to take in a pug who needed a place to stay until they found their forever home. It can be challenging at times, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Every dog that comes through my front door holds a special place in my heart and I love them like they were my own. Also, besides all the wonderful pugs I have met, I have also been blessed with meeting some of the most amazing people I know.  That just adds to how awesome it is to be a foster. Plus, in addition to my dogs, it is extra love and snuggles, who wouldn’t want that!!!”

December 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Anne Kimbol

Anne Kimbol has been volunteering with Pug Rescue of Austin for over two years – she receives the hundreds of emails a week that are sent to the rescue and responds to each and every one of them with information about the adoption process, general pug questions, and everything under the sun. She is an integral part of the rescue and a great example of how this entirely volunteer-run organization has an incredible base of dedicated volunteers who continue to make the wheels turn!

“I enjoy working with Pug Rescue Austin in large part because I believe pugs are the best creatures on earth. I have two rescue pugs of my own and am glad to play a part in helping get more pugs into the good life. Working with PRA has been great; when I said I wanted to volunteer but am a complete and total introvert, they helped me find a role that helps them and lets me stay behind my computer. We get some great emails from people, and I particularly enjoy the happy tails/tales emails and those from potential adopters with stories about their love of pugs.”

November 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Colleen Ketchum

Colleen Ketchum has been fostering for Pug Rescue of Austin for over 3 years, giving her foster dogs unconditional love and comfort while they searched for their forever home. We are incredibly grateful to Colleen for her dedication and passion for these dogs!

“When I first moved to Austin in 2013 I was living with my parents. I don’t really remember what triggered it, but on a whim I looked up pug rescues just a month after my move. Much to my parents’ consternation, I soon had a little foster pug running around their house, and the rest is history.
I’ve fostered at least 10 pugs in the nearly 4 years I’ve lived here, and each pug has brought a unique experience and set of challenges. There’s been quite a lot of heartbreak – I lost one foster and my foster fail pug within a short time span – but there have been amazing success stories too. I love keeping up with the adoptive families and seeing how spoiled my foster babies are in their forever homes. Fostering dogs is not an easy task, but it has been an incredibly rewarding responsibility and I feel lucky that PRA has entrusted me to take care of so many dogs. We get to be the heroes that these pugs so desperately need. I am proud to be part of an organization whose members will drop everything to transport a dog in from across the state, or raise money for critical surgeries to counteract the neglect many of them have dealt with.
Pugs are some of the friendliest, goofiest dogs I’ve ever met, and PRA is wholly dedicated to getting them healthy and finding the best homes possible for these amazing little snort monsters.”

October 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Hope Ruppanner

Hope has been a volunteer with Pug Rescue of Austin since 2013. She is a dedicated event volunteer, helping potential adopters meet their future pug family members, and is a foster ‘fail’ with her own pug Sassy.  She also has a 14 year old pug named Max.

“I have been an active volunteer since I adopted my sweet little chug Rocky. I have worn many hats as a Pug Rescue volunteer, but my favorite is working the events, it gives me a chance to meet the pugs in foster homes and educate the public on what we do and why we are here.  I love being part of such an awesome volunteer effort that makes a difference everyday!”

September 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Julie Ramsey

Long story short, I love all animals, but especially dogs and even more so pugs. I’ve always been an advocate for rescues and aiding dogs in need; however, once I adopted a duo (Milton & Churchill) from Pug Rescue of Austin, I quickly realized I didn’t rescue them and they in fact rescued me. It’s a great feeling to come home to wagging tails at the end of the day and an even greater feeling to know by volunteering with PRA, I can at least give back a small bit of what these pups have given and continue to give to me. It is by far one of the most rewarding and enjoying aspects of my life, that I’m even more fortunate to be able to embrace and share with my family!

July 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Karol Gilbin

Michael and I got our first pug 15 years ago when a friend’s daughter couldn’t keep this little one she had bought at a pet store. We knew nothing about pugs. Taking that little ball of fur that fit in my hand, turned out to be the best decision. When we moved to Austin, we learned about a pug group and went to a few meet-ups and found out we could adopt through that group. That is how we adopted our Nefi. When both of them died within a couple months of each other a couple of years ago, we decided that instead of getting another dog of our own, we could best help out by fostering pugs in need. We started fostering at that point. Pugs are such love bugs and easy going dogs that how could you not love them? Friends ask how I can foster a dog and then give them over to another family. I tell them that when I see that perfect match of a pug and his/her furrever family, it is all worth it and I am actually happy to see the pug go with their new family. Recently, I have taken over the PRA Twitter account. I’m glad I can spend a few minutes every day spreading the word of pugs in need through social media. I also help out with Freedom Rides whenever I get the chance.

June 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Audrey McCarthy

In 2009, my husband, Mike, and I relocated to Austin from Chicago with our first pug, Mabel. We brought Mabel to Westlake Animal Hospital and met the amazing Signe “Pug Whisperer” Corbin who knows more about pugs than anyone I’ve ever met! She took great care of our Mabel and really educated us on the special needs of the breed. Signe also told us all about Pug Rescue Austin. She was so passionate about rescuing pugs–her devotion was contagious. As I’ve always had a special affinity for pugs, I soon began volunteering for PRA. I started off screening applications and doing home visits for potential adopters. After we got our second pug, Ringo, PRA was in need of foster parents, so we jumped on board! Three pugs makes a grumble, right!?!

We fostered and cared for many pugs over the years until they found their forever families. There is nothing more gratifying than watching their little pug personalities come out once they know they are in a safe, loving place. In 2014, we became foster failures when we brought home our dear Sweetie. I knew we were going to be foster failures when I couldn’t bring myself to take Sweetie to adoption events because I couldn’t imagine our lives without her as a part of our family. Sweetie had a hard life up until she was rescued and has many health problems. But, nobody told her that she had it rough — her perseverance and fighting spirit are inspiring.

As we had a full house with our grumble, I began volunteering in other ways with PRA. I am now the medical records coordinator for PRA. As medical records coordinator, I track each of our fosters from intake to find out what medical needs they each have and then work with foster parents to make sure the fosters have received their monthly heartworm medication, and are scheduled for their alteration, tests, vaccinations or other needed treatments. Since I also care for a special needs pug, I understand the importance of knowing about a rescue’s medical conditions and timely adherence to the recommended treatments. I also gather the medical records for the adopting parents once one of our rescues is adopted. I love working with adopting and foster parents and our medical director, Signe, to coordinate the medical care for our rescues.

The people I’ve met through PRA are so dedicated and kind. I thank PRA for completing our pug family and for the opportunities it has given me to work with such a selfless group of people rescuing this precious breed.

May 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Amanda & Ryan Wiley

Ryan and I are honored to be fosters and treasure getting to share the love we have for our dogs with as many puggies as possible while they are on the path to their furever homes. We have been involved with Pug Rescue of Austin since 2014. We were drawn to volunteering and fostering after falling in love with our PRA alum, Tonka. There is no greater joy than seeing a dog realize that there is true love out there in this scary world.

April 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Kendra Azelton

My husband and I began our work with PRA in 2011 with fostering. We have fostered too many dogs to count! And while some experiences have been more difficult than others, every one of our foster pugs have taught me something. I learned patience from Holly, perseverance from Tuga, how to let go from Tink, the power of sisterhood from Maggie and Minnie, how to keep going even when you’re dealt a crappy hand from Roscoe, and how to laugh again after heartache from Rollo. Fostering is truly one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I’ve also enjoyed making costumes for fosters to wear at PUGKINfest, handling the Twitter account, and helping to run adoption events. I continue to share the PRA mission and story with everyone I meet. I’m so lucky to be a part of this organization.

March 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Alecia Zalot

The Board of Directors would like to thank Alecia Zalot for her service as President of the Board for the past two years. After serving PRA as Adoption Coordinator, Alecia joined the Board in 2013, serving as Vice President. She became President in 2014, with a focus on grant writing and fundraising, enthusiastically devoting countless hours to the rescue every week. Under her tenure, PRA began participating in national fundraisers such as the Milwaukee Pug Fest and Best Friends’ Strut Your Mutt, as well as applying for several national grants – and winning many. Thanks to her efforts, the rescue is now able to pay its vet bill every month.

Alecia was also a very professional, selfless leader, focusing on what was best for the pugs in our care and the rescue as a whole. We are thankful for her service, dedication and leadership, and wish her well as she moves to leading the PRA grant writing team. Pugs in Central Texas are lucky to have you, Alecia!

February 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Susy and Joe Breeland

Joe and I are originally from Dallas, although I mostly grew up as an Air Force brat traveling the world. We have lived in Austin since 1991, and have three children, three beautiful grandchildren, and four “grandpugs” – all of which are in Austin! Joe has worked in medical sales for over 35 years and is currently consulting for several medical device start-up companies. I have been a homemaker and spent many years doing volunteer work for all of the schools the kids attended, including leading a brownie/girl scout/cadette troop for 10 years. We own Bella Bridesmaids in downtown Austin, and I keep busy doing all the bookkeeping and helping our daughter manage the store. Joe and I also love keeping our grandbabies once a week. We both graduated from UT, as well as all three children. We love going to UT sporting events, and concerts around town, and have loved traveling to several destinations in Europe and the Mediterranean. Last August we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary!

When we moved to Austin in 1991, we got our first pug, Ginger (the most awesome pug ever!). Having a pug was a dream I had since I was a little girl. It was then that we became good friends with Signe Corbin at Westlake Animal Hospital. Signe had just rescued her pug puppy, Emmitt, so we had a lot in common with our becoming “pug people”. Before too long, we adopted one of Emmitt’s puppies from her last litter, and became a two-pug family with Mitzi. Then came Oscar from Hill Country Pugs after we lost our precious Ginger. Then after Oscar became an “only child”, Signe asked us to transport Timmy from Texas A&M, where he had just had surgery for spinal stenosis. On the ride home with that sweet little boy in my lap, I asked Signe if Timmy had a foster yet. She said no, not yet, and we said we would. So, that was the beginning of our becoming a “foster failure”. Since then, Samantha, and Joey and Connelly have both adopted rescue pugs.

We are still Mommy and Daddy to Oscar and Timmy, and are currently fostering Mr. Miyagi and Baguette. Both Joe and I have become experts at “manties” (aka belly bands), incontinence pads, and being nursemaids for a variety of pugs for various conditions and ailments. Our relationship with Pug Rescue and the incredible people associated with it, especially the amazing Signe, has become a huge part of our lives. Volunteering for this incredible organization while watching it evolve into what it is now has made us proud of our relationship with it, and made us forever bonded with pugs, especially those who need our help.

January 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Holly Scudder

I became aware of PRA once I moved to the area in 2013. Our first adopted pug, Alf (who was rescued from Oakland Animal Shelter), obviously needed a friend so we started searching for pugs in the shelter and came across PRA through Facebook. It took us awhile to find our match but we ended up adopting Gumballs in November of 2013. I became a stay-at-home mom after my son was born in October of 2014 and started to look for volunteer opportunities once he was a little older. Fostering for PRA and helping with transports seemed like the perfect match since we love our pug boys so much!

Our first foster was Biggie, then we foster-failed with our second foster Kim. She is now known as Muffin around here and she truly completes our grumble and family. I love being able to hop in the car and help with the rescue of these puggers, welcome them into our home, and help find them their own perfect fur-ever home. The people and pugs of PRA prove every day how much compassion and love there is and I’m so happy my family and I can be a part of it!

November 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Sellers

I received an 8 week old Pug puppy for my birthday in 1993. I was not familiar with Pugs, but instantly feel madly and deeply in love with my Bandit. He and I played for 14.5 years. If that guy could talk, oh the stories he would tell! Before I was aware of Pug Rescue, I bred Bandit when he was 7 and kept his son, my Loafie. He was always extra special to me, since he was part Bandit. I immediately fixed him when he was old enough so there was no chance of puppies in the future (that was my ah-ha moment!). We had many adventures together including finding them a wonderful daddy.

In San Diego, I got involved with the local PugRescue group and sat on the board as their marketing coordinator. Shortly after moving back to Texas in 2007, we lost our precious Bandit. After that we were a threesome and attended thePug Rescue/Pug meet-up parties here in Austin and really liked the people, so started volunteering. We also learned about the amazing Pug parties and gatherings, including the spectacularly elaborate costumes on display at the “Great Pugkin” Halloween event; not only are Pugs wonderful little beasts, but their humans are also incredible and passionate people. We were lucky enough to take home some awards a couple of years, which we are prouder of than our professional or personal achievements!

Jump ahead to June 2012: there was an influx of Pugs that came in over a short amount of time and PRA asked for people to foster. We had never fostered but wanted to help, so we drove to Bastrop to pick-up Roxy (10). She made us official foster failures. That same year, I took over the holiday wrapping events and later added additional locations to B&N and Anthropologie as a new venue.

In December 2013, we learned that at 13 my baby Loaf had an extremely rare and aggressive nose cancer. We were beyond devastated. The oncologist said we had 2 months left with Loaf, but this Pug mom said “no way!” My husband did copious research and found a chemo drug that could potentially buy us a little more time; we ended up getting an additional 14 months, which was a difficult but priceless period for us. There is no amount of time that would have ever been enough, but we were fortunately to have him as long as we did. He completed an extensive bucket list and we knew he had a blast in every one of his 14 years.

October 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: Holden Buckner

Holden Buckner is a lifelong dog lover. With two dogs of his own (Cava­poos), he has a big heart when it comes to helping dogs in need. Having lived and worked in the Austin, Texas area for a number of years, Holden enjoys lending his time to Pug Rescue by opening the doors to his plane (Bellanca Super Viking) in order to transport pugs who need relocation. Whether for medical, foster, or permanent relocation, Holden will work to arrange his flights to accommodate pugs in need. In total, he has helped around a dozen pugs escape kill shelters and get the medical attention they need. When he drops off his precious cargo, they are typically whisked away to a hospital for a check up. Surprisingly, the hospital they most often visit is the same establishment that his daughter works in! This family is well integrated into the Pug Rescue movement.

Check out more about Holden on his philanthropy site and on LinkedIn.

September 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: Sachi Nelson

Sachi Nelson adopted her first pug in 1997 and was completely hooked! She stumbled across the Austin pug scene in 2006 at the 3rd Annual Great Pugkin Fest. It became a family tradition and is the event she most looks forward to each year. Sachi has a loving and supportive family, including a husband, two human children and five furry children. Two of those furry children are pugs and came from rescue. Sachi found PRA in 2009 when she applied to adopt her most senior fur child, Ollie. Ollie was also the handsome valentine pin-up boy for the 2011 PRA calendar.

Sachi began volunteering for PRA in 2011 as a temporary foster parent. She quickly realized that she wasn’t suited to being a foster parent because she and her family fell in love with each and every pug. She would have ended up with a legion of snoring pugs. In 2012, Sachi got an email from PRA indicating that she could still help by volunteering her time to screen applications and conduct home visits. She enjoys the work and says that it brings her great joy to help needy pugs find their perfect forever homes.

August 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: Anna Vinzant

My name is Anna Vinzant and I’m a native of Fayetteville, AR. I moved to Austin in May of 2014 after graduating college. I am an interior designer for a senior living interior design firm called studioSIX5 and love designing environments that impact people’s lives positively. The highlight of my week is running the Pug Rescue Petco Adoption event every other Sunday. I have been doing this since the beginning of 2015 and have loved meeting all of the pugs that have come through PRA and found their fur-ever homes! It’s really incredible to meet all of the eager people who have been on our website a million times and are so ready to adopt a pug.

I adopted Andy the pug in October 2014 and life hasn’t been the same since. Andy makes every day no matter how hard or how happy so much better! Pugs are by far the greatest breed and it brings me joy to help other people experience that happiness as well as finding loving homes for all of the puggers.

July 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: Kristen Medina

My name is Kristen Medina! My husband and I currently own 4 dogs: an 8 year old Yorkie mix, a 7 year old Boxer and 2 pugs. We currently foster and volunteer with Pug Rescue Austin. We started working with an animal rescue as fosters a few years back. I loved being able to help out dogs until they found their FUR-ever homes, but we often got big dogs which were really hard for me to handle when my husband was away working. I’d already been following PRA on Facebook, so I thought I’d reach out and see if we could volunteer and foster. We were approved quickly and immediately started fostering.

Our second PRA foster was Emily…we only had her for a few weeks before I’d completely fallen in love. She was the perfect addition to our family. We couldn’t be happier to be foster failures! We have attended most of the PRA events and absolutely love all the dogs and volunteers. I love event planning, so getting to help Pug Rescue with events is a perfect fit for me, and the fact that all the hard work pays off for the dogs is an amazing feeling. We have definitely found our passion with this rescue! And I’m completely obsessed with Pugs now!

May 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: Dave Norris

My life changed when I adopted Moses from the Pug Rescue of Austin in July of 2013. A grumpy but sweet old man that never leaves my side, adopting this little pug has brought me more joy than I ever thought it could! As of April 2015, he is estimated by a veterinarian to be 14-15 years old and still happy as a clam!

Moses’ 2013 adoption encouraged me to get involved with the rescue and I have since been handling some of the photography of pugs that need homes. My fiance, Jessica, sometimes assists with keeping the pugs still to get the perfect picture.

I also help out with the Pug Rescue website (along with Amy, Alecia, Amanda and Liz) when text or image updates are needed on pages outside of the main adoption pages.

The volunteers at PRA are so hard working that I’m proud to be on their team! At the end of the day, it’s all about the pugs and making sure each one has the life they deserve, no matter where they came from, their health status or how unwanted they had been in their prior life. Every pug this rescue gets is enormously taken care of by an awesome team that is supported by an amazing community.

June 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: Jimmy and Malin Thomas

In 2003, we adopted our first rescue pug, Selma. She was abandoned tied to my parents mailbox at just 11 months old. We lived in Houston and went to Pug Hearts of Houston events until we moved to San Marcos in 2007. Pugkin Fest 2007 was our first Pug Rescue of Austin event. We continued to go to this event and in 2010 moved to Austin. Once in Austin, we started entering Selma into the costume contests and in 2012, she won funniest pug as Rapugzel.

We were asked to foster a pug in July 2013 which is how Smooch entered our life. Smooch was found as a stray on the 4th of July and taken into a shelter. PRA rescued Smooch and began treating all of her issues from neglect. It didn’t take too long before Smooch was feeling and looking better! Signe and Westlake Animal Hospital took great care of her. Smooch soon found out that we were a social family that loved bringing our dogs everywhere. Smooch learned what hiking, kayaking, playing in the creeks, dog parks, and patio dining was all about. It didn’t take too long for us to become attached to Smooch and each adoption event became harder and harder for us to leave her at. Finally in April 2014 we officially foster failed her and gave her a forever home. She recently became the inaugural Pug Prom Queen and continues to be an advocate for rescued pugs.

Malin and I host adoption events, transport pugs, foster pugs, and have done home visits for PRA.

April 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: Andi Davison

I became involved with PRA in 2012, when I decided a pug would be the next member of my family. I jumped in with both feet by becoming a fundraising event coordinator, adoption day event coordinator and posting available dogs on Adopt-a-Pet.com. PRA has entrusted me to lead the Let it Snore holiday event for the past 3 years, which is one of my all time favorite events – herds of pugs running around in holiday sweaters, it’s the best!

I have always had a huge love for animals, but I never realized the special nature of the pug breed before my involvement with PRA. Their kind hearts and unique personalities make it easy to fall in love quickly. Shortly after I started volunteering, I adopted Wrigley, my first rescue pug, and then foster failed Sophie, my 2nd pug, two months later.

March 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: Roy & Delores Smith

Dolores and I became involved with PRA in February 2014. We had been Pug lovers in the past, and when our female black pug, Sugar, of 9 years passed in 2013, it took us a good year to get over her loss. In our search for a new pug puppy, we ran across the PRA website, saw the photos of those cute pugs awaiting their forever homes, and the thought struck us…why not adopt one of these deserving pugs who really need a break in life and a comfortable home filled with love? Well, we went to a pug adoption event and soon adopted Wilma, our sassy little diva, who had come to PRA previously neglected and with vision and hearing issues…she won our hearts in an instant with those sweet pug kisses and cute waddle when she walked! We then adopted Major, our second rescue pug, a month later to keep Wilma company. Little did we know they would bring so much joy to our lives!

The highlight of our story, which was most fulfilling and totally unanticipated, was becoming part of the wonderful family of PRA volunteers! In the past year, we have had opportunities to run a pug meet, attend fund raising events, screen adoption applications, babysit pugs while PRA fosters take vacations, and transport needy pugs from towns all across central Texas! As real estate agents, we have flexibility in our work schedule to give “freedom rides” to pugs during the week when others can’t. We absolutely love the fun and excitement of jumping in the car on the spur of the moment to often drive several hours to rescue a puggy in need. Needless to say, the people in the PRA family are without a doubt the best, the volunteer work is immensely satisfying, and we hope to be doing this for many years to come!

February 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: Kristy McCarville

My earliest childhood memories are filled with my first pug Molly and my mother teaching my siblings and I the importance of adopting dogs from a rescue and NOT from a breeder. At a very young age I discovered the joy, the companionship, the love and all the other wonderful things a rescue dog has to offer its new family.

We adopted two pugs, Eleanor and Thelma, and quickly added a third, Francine, who passed away shortly after I found her due to her previous owner neglecting to take care of her chronic kidney failure. During my time struggling with Francine’s kidney failure I was directed to contact one of Pug Rescue of Austin’s greatest gifts, Trina. Once I emailed Trina, she started giving me advice and connected me with Signe. It was then that I knew I wanted to be a part of everything Pug Rescue of Austin was involved in because of the kindness of these two compassionate volunteers. Although we needed time to mourn once we lost Francine, we adopted a stray pug Mabel a week later.

While I enjoy being part of freedom rides, transportation, screening applications, doing home visits, hosting events in North Austin, and being part of the medical case team, my favorite thing to do is bring the dogs home after they are released to the rescue, cleaning them, and starting the healing journey of unconditional love for these pugs that so desperately need it.

January 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: Ted Brown and Deanna Dahl

Ted Brown and Deanna Dahl first became involved with Pug Rescue Austin in 2011 when they adopted their 5 year old puggle, Lily. They also have a 12 year old pug, Trace, and two rescue cats, Fred and Harley.

In 2014, they fostered 10 pugs and pug mixes, including Wendy and her 4 puppies who were born in their home, until the last puppy went on trial visit at 12 weeks old. They are currently fostering Ranger, who is blind and diabetic. In 2014, Deanna and Ted logged over 2000 miles and countless hours transporting fosters to events and medical appointments. They raised almost $500.00 for Pug Rescue Austin by participating in Strut Your Mutt.

In addition to fostering, Ted volunteers by screening applications and doing home visits and Deanna volunteers as a medical case manager. They also volunteer at events and have transported for freedom rides when needed. Deanna is very excited to have recently committed to represent Pug Rescue Austin at the Milwaukee Pug Festival in May 2015.

December 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Rachelle Robles

When my husband and I adopted our first pug, Oscar, six years ago, I fell in love with pugs and have been madly in love with pugs ever since! When we (me, husband, and our pugs Oscar and Carla) moved back to Austin from Barcelona, Spain, I couldn’t wait to start volunteering for Pug Rescue of Austin. I started by screening adoption applications and I am now a rescue coordinator. It’s incredibly gratifying to be able to work with the public, pull pugs in need from shelters, and work with individuals if they need to relinquish their dogs. I get teary-eyed every time I go to the shelter and see the pug’s face when she gets to jump in my car and have her freedom ride!

I learn more every day and I’m honored to work with such an amazing group of people!

November 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Celeste Albritton

I first fell in love with pugs when I got Pugsy eleven years ago. After adopting Daisy from PRA in March 2013, I started volunteering with PRA as a transporter, doing home checks, and recently joined the medical team. My favorite volunteer role is transporting. It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of their freedom ride knowing their lives are about to change forever. To see their excitement as they walk out the shelter doors and never look back is priceless!

In my spare time, I enjoy making wood crafts for PRA, birding and gardening. Pugsy and Daisy are always by my side assisting me.

October 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Trina Eilers

My husband Doug found our first pug out in Junction in 2005, and handed her to me when he deployed to Iraq in 2006. We named her Chi Chi and I was absolutely enchanted by her sassy personality. While Hubby was deployed, I started taking Chi Chi and Sarge, our German Shepherd, to Doggy Day Care, where I learned that while Chi Chi WAS special, pugs were pretty much all happy-go-lucky kind of dogs.

Hubby got home from Iraq in August 2007, and by December we had adopted Buster (fka Yogi) from PRA. I always wanted to foster, but waited until 2011 when we built our home on a small ranch in Bastrop County. I offered to be the “go to” person for anything that PRA needed out in the Bastrop area. Next thing I knew, I was a “Rescue Coordinator” and I never looked back! It’s incredibly fulfilling to be able to pull these babies from a shelter and provide the love and care that they are so obviously lacking. I love fostering and each pug takes a piece of my heart when they go, but it just leaves room for the next one to fill.

In addition to our fosters, we are parents to Buster; Sarge; Aggie, a 7-year old Aussie; and a barn cat named Ice Man. We also have one horse and board two more, a small herd of registered Polled Hereford Cattle, and a flock of chickens.

September 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Christina Marsh

Originally from Virginia, my husband and I moved to Austin with our pug, Curtis, in 2008. While looking for a companion for Curtis, I was introduced to PRA where we found a wonderful pug mix named Stella.
Since 2012, I have been volunteering for PRA in numerous ways. I love to foster from time to time, but also am the adoption contract coordinator, a member of the finance team, help write grants, and post all our available dogs to Craigslist. I really think my volunteer work just goes to show that there are so many different ways people can volunteer with PRA.

I find volunteering so rewarding because the volunteers are awesome, the dogs are adorable, and I love watching adopters find their perfect match.

August 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Hanna Morgan

I became involved with Pug Rescue of Austin immediately upon moving back to Texas from abroad. In fact, I could hardly wait to start fostering – I submitted my application while I was still living in Germany. I was unable to adopt my pug from a rescue group because I was living abroad, and my living situation when we finally made it back to Austin didn’t allow for us to adopt another dog, so we knew that fostering would satisfy our need for another fur baby and the need of the rescue for a temporary loving home while they found the perfect match for the dogs. It was a match made in heaven.

After meeting the incredible team at PRA, I knew I wanted to help in any way possible, whether it meant leading events, making flyers, pushing social media, screening applicants, or any of the other hundreds of tasks that the volunteers who run the organization take on every day. The commitment to the cause is visceral and the people are passionate – after over 2 years and over 15 fosters, I only wish I could find the time to do more. The ever-evolving nature of the organization has made a huge impression on me and my work with other non-profits – the number of people who pick up the reins in times of need is extremely heartening. I look forward to a continued future with this organization and the inspiring people who help run it.

July 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Ellen Rose Cannon

My husband James and I (my then boyfriend) became involved in PRA in May 2010 when we submitted our application to adopt a pug, a- meaning one, one pug. I wanted a pug (not a pug mix) that was healthy and under the age of 4. I know now this to be a nearly impossible request that quite honestly does not represent the ideal approach to adopting. Nevertheless, PRA delivered one evening with an email saying “we have two boys, both around 2 or 3 years old, but they are bonded, so they have to be adopted as a pair.” Against everyone’s better judgment (including James), I immediately said yes!

My life was forever changed after adopting these two. They continue to bring endless joy to James and my life. After adopting, I stayed up to date on the happenings of PRA and started attending events and volunteering. A year or so later James and I decided to open our home to foster. We were given Tootsie to foster, an 8 year old blind and deaf little girl who had at least 10 pounds she needed to lose. Since not many potential adopters are searching for a pug with such conditions (and a feisty personality to match I should add), Tootsie ended up with us for 8 months as a foster. We tried our hardest to not be foster-failures with our very first foster, but it was a futile effort, Tootsie chose us and we ended up adopting!

We’ve since continued volunteering in various ways including application screening, coordinating with fosters, and fundraising efforts. We love PRA so much we even were able to include them in our wedding in a special way through our wedding favors. Toby, Otis and Tootsie also helped us with our wedding “save the date” photo. James and I see PRA being a part of our lives forever and are so honored to help out such a worthy cause and organization.

June 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Laura Luther

I started volunteering for PRA because I have always loved dogs (especially Pugs) and wanted to do more to help them. I adopted my Pug mix, Frankenstein, in 2011 from a rescue group in Pennsylvania and he was the one who inspired me to help more dogs. Before adopting him, I didn’t even know that people could foster dogs or how it worked. After speaking with his foster, my interest in fostering/volunteering for an animal rescue grew. So, when I moved to Austin I went to a few PRA adoption events. The volunteers were so enthusiastic and it showed how much they loved volunteering for PRA. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of!

My favorite part of volunteering for PRA, aside from saving dogs’ lives… is the amazing community of volunteers, fosters, board members, donors! Pug people are really a different “breed” of people and I have made so many wonderful, dog lovin’, kindhearted friends.

May 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Terrie Lynn Gelman

My name is Terrie Lynn Gelman. Born in Houston, I am a third generation Texan. Mother to three adult children, Grammie to four, and very happily married to Mitchell.

I was living in Killeen, Texas when I first learned about Pug Rescue of Austin. There are groups of pug people who get together once a month at various parks. For about two years, I was the organizer of the Killeen meetup. During that time, I would also head to the Austin meetups. There is something very amusing when watching all shapes, colors and sizes of pugs as they get a chance to hang out without their leashes. I really enjoyed a chance for a pug “tune up” along with the various themes they have throughout the year.

Fast forward to current time. I am the proud momma to three awesome pugs. Lori Lou is my black pug. Arrt is a fawn male. It is spelled with two r’s. He is our pirate dog. Arrrrrrrt. Then there is our first official rescue, Cinderella. She came to us last October as a rescue off Craigslist. I named her Cinderella since she is the step-sister in our grumble. Turns out the name fits her well. She is also the Diva Pug.

I am an officially retired, former office administrative type person. Many years of working with people via phone, email, and in person has provided me the ability to talk with anyone, about anything. This is the reason I am an application screener for Pug Rescue of Austin. Almost every day I have the chance to meet and chat with wonderful, enjoyable, future pug families.

My hobbies? I like crafts. I crochet outfits for preemie babies, caps for cancer survivors and misc things to donate to auctions to raise funds for pug rescue. Scrap books, making cards, reading and drawing all keep me busy. Bird watching is currently my favorite outside thing to do. I am working my way into geo caching.

By the way, I currently reside in Round Mountain, Nevada. This is what helps make it perfect for me to be a volunteer screener. I am two hours behind Texas. I consider myself very blessed to have an opportunity to help pugs and loving families find each other.

PRA Adoption Coordinator Daniel says: Although she no longer lives in Texas, Terrie is a devoted volunteer who has handled as many as three applications at one time. Her notes are THOROUGH, and I completely trust her judgement. She asks great additional questions of potential adopters, makes commitments, and follows through 100% of the time. Her applications are always processed within three days. Utilizing Terrie Lynn’s skills more has allowed me to draw from a larger volunteer base for the home visit portion, as many of my contacts list wish only to do the home visit portion. Thus far, every home visit volunteer has unanimously agreed with her observations and screening notes. I am absolutely thrilled to have her.

April 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Liz Farrington

Liz first became interested in pugs when she fostered and then adopted her dog Fillmore from a hoarding case through Rocket Dog Rescue in San Francisco in 2007. Everyone thought he was a chug, but time and a good vet determined that he was really just a very fat Chihuahua. She became a foster parent for RDR, and in 2008 fostered two pugs dumped by a breeder at a shelter two hours south of San Francisco. (Until the transport arrived, she didn’t even know pugs came in black.) She foster failed on one immediately – a black pug named Brutus, who is now her only pet and the love of her life. Since then, she has become more and more obsessed with pugs, and after moving to Texas in 2012, became involved with Pug Rescue of Austin in February 2013.

Liz now does grant writing, fosters, co-writes the monthly newsletter and runs the Twitter account for Pug Rescue Austin. She also helps with marketing, has spearheaded a few fundraisers and helped arrange silent auction items for ValenPugs, along with other miscellaneous duties. In May, Liz will represent Pug Rescue of Austin at the Milwaukee Pug Fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An equal opportunity animal lover, Liz also fosters neonatal kittens and nursing moms for Austin Pets Alive! When she’s not volunteering for animal rescue or working at her day job in publishing sales, Liz loves to visit dog-friendly wineries and attend Texas Country concerts. Liz is especially thankful to be a part of the Pug Rescue of Austin team because of all of the wonderful people she has met through the organization. She greatly appreciates the opportunity to work with such kind, dedicated, compassionate and motivated volunteers and feels very fortunate to have all of you in her life.

March 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Janet Barrington

Janet and Shawn brought their first lovable Pug, Sadie, into their home in 1990 shortly after they became engaged. Sadie was their beloved “first born.” Sadie was with them for 13½ wonderfully, cuddly years. Currently, they are the proud parents of Kiwi, a 10 year old fawn female. Yes, your math is correct, that’s 23½ years of precious Pug!

It was shortly after bringing Kiwi home in April 2004 that the couple was introduced to the Austin Pug Club – as a “baby” shower gift, one of Janet’s bosses gave her a gift certificate for a custom charcoal drawing he had purchased online in a fundraising effort by the Austin Pug Club. Janet thought at the time, “Pug Club!” – why am I just hearing about this?

Since that time, Janet has been involved primarily with the Pug Club, helping to coordinate and staff various fundraising events – tune-ups, the annual Luau, and most importantly, The Great PUGkinFest, were Janet has served on the planning committee and as the prize basket coordinator for a number of years. PUGkinFest is the Club’s major fundraiser, the proceeds of which are donated to PRA. Janet and Kiwi (and their expert design team made up of Shawn and Nancy, Janet’s sister) very much enjoy participating in the costume contest almost as much as helping to coordinate this super fun event. They take the “show” on the road as Pug ambassadors, participating in four other local all-breed costume contests, where they promote the joys of Pug parenthood and all the wonderful work of PRA. Pug-O-Ween, DFW Pug Rescue’s annual event in Dallas, is the crowning jewel in the Kiwi Costume Cavalcade!

Throughout the years, Janet’s involvement with PRA has included donating prize baskets, preparing yummy baked goods, and helping to set-up and/or man stations at fundraising events.

SPOILER: Shawn has portrayed Santa for a number of years at the December Pugs & Kisses event (don’t let your children read this!). Additionally, Janet and Nancy prepared the dessert spread for the 2013 ValenPug Gala and at this year’s Gala, they prepared the hot pink Pug cookies. Much to Shawn’s dismay (and the detriment of their bank account), Janet is an avid collector of all things Pug; their house is just this side of a shrine, as Kiwi agrees it should be.

February 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Jay and Rachel Yarger

Jay & Rachel Yarger have been volunteering for the Pug Rescue of Austin for two and a half years. After falling in love with their Boston terrier and a pug they adopted from a shelter in New York, they knew they wanted to continue helping this lovable breed. Jay & Rachel have fostered several pugs and pug mixes, but their favorites are the special needs and senior dogs. According to them, the most satisfying part of fostering these special needs dogs is seeing a family fall in love with the dog despite its issues.

Jay & Rachel have even foster failed a senior pug, Eileen, that is deaf and partially blind. The foster dogs have really completed their family and they couldn’t imagine their home without these special family members.

January 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Jill Nabors

My family and I started volunteering with the rescue in June of 2009 while PRA was still an extension of DFW pugs. We adopted our third pug Millie from DFW in 2006 and we knew that when our youngest son was older we would start volunteering as fosters. We brought home our first foster, Bumper, in August 2009. Bumper was found wondering the streets of Waco and was blind, deaf and heartworm positive. We were given an estimated age of between 13-15 at the time, but we never really could figure out how old he was. Bumper ended up being our first of four foster fails and sadly past away this past October. We have fostered around 11 pugs to date all of which have been seniors. While some look at seniors as having only a short time left or a lot of work we look at them as having the biggest most giving hearts and feel that they deserve a loving home during their golden years and treasure our time with them.

I have three sons Keaton (19), Amos (12) and Rowan (7) that help care for all the pugs and have loved to volunteer at adoption days, the Pugkin festival as well as other PRA events.I wanted to find an organization to be a part of that would allow my children to be involved so they can see first hand how just a small amount of effort on our part has a huge impact on the life of another. There have been many tears shed when handing over one of our fosters to their forever home, but when they see updates from the pugs new home it brings a smile to everyone’s face knowing we had a hand in not only saving the life of a pug, but helping a family feel complete with a new furry family member.

Our home is currently filled with four pugs Millie (8), Carly (15), Kiwi (12) and as of 12/31/13 Festes (13). We look forward to many more “pugventures” with PRA.

December 2013 Volunteer Spotlight: Amanda Adams

I started volunteering really because of my oldest pug, Koda. When we moved to Austin he acquired allergies and was rubbing his itchy face on the carpet causing an eye infection. I took him to WLAH, because they are the pug specialists in the Austin area, and I wanted my baby to have the best!

After leaving, I got to thinking about how Koda getting sick was really a turning point for me in the respect that I came to terms with his mortality. We all want our fur babies to live forever, and sadly, that just isn’t the case. So I set out to find Koda a younger pug to keep him young.In the process of adopting is where I learned about all the pugs that need help and that there are so many different ways to help. I wanted to help even more because they all look just like my baby Koda, which breaks my heart to think that anyone could ever not love a pug. If you own a pug, you know exactly what I mean.My most memorable moment in the rescue thus far has been Dogtoberfest. Amber and I were the event leaders, so we were planning the event together. I was really worried that we were not going to have enough volunteers or pugs there. Amber was so chill about it, telling me to relax that it will all work out and be fine.The day of Dogtoberfest I see Amber unloading stuff out of her car as I was unloading mine. She had a look of horror on her face. I asked her what was wrong, and it was at that moment that I realized that Amber thought this event was something small like we do at Petco or Tomlinson’s. She had no clue it was so huge. She then told me she now understands why I was freaking out and that it was totally justified. I love that girl to pieces, and will never forget my first experience of running a rescue event as being one of the biggest for the year.

I met some of the most amazing people since volunteering. They have welcomed me with open arms and some have become very close friends. I can honestly say that since moving here and volunteering for the rescue I feel like I have found my place in Austin. I was not sure if I was going to make it, but here I am a year later, with another pug and some awesome new friends.

November 2013 Volunteer Spotlight: Liz Farrington

Liz first became interested in Pugs when she adopted her dog Fillmore from a hoarding case through Rocket Dog Rescue in San Francisco in 2007. People thought he was a Chug, but time and a good vet determined that he was really just a very fat Chihuahua. She became a foster parent for RDR, and eventually fostered two pugs dumped by a breeder at a shelter two hours south of San Francisco. (Until the transport showed up, she didn’t know Pugs came in black.) She foster failed on one immediately – a black Pug named Brutus. Since then, she has become more and more obsessed with pugs, and now fosters, writes the monthly newsletter and runs the Twitter account for Pug Rescue Austin.

An equal opportunity animal lover, Liz also fosters neonatal kittens and nursing moms for Austin Pets Alive! When she’s not volunteering for animal rescue or working her day job in publishing, Liz loves to visit dog-friendly wineries, attend Texas Country concerts and protest on behalf of animals and women’s rights.

October 2013 Volunteer Spotlight: Daniel Malyszka-Prelesnik

Daniel Malyszka-Prelesnik is passionate about working in the nonprofit sector, specifically for health-based, youth development, and animal welfare organizations. For the past three months, Daniel has been serving Pug Rescue of Austin as the Adoption Coordinator, and he manages the application and adoption process, something he describes as being one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences of his life.

Professionally, Daniel is the Director of Human Resources & Facilities for Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin, and the Grants Manager for BBB Education Foundation. He is responsible for the oversight of BBB employees, including training and assessment. He is also in charge of keeping BBB facilities running efficiently, and seeking and applying for grant opportunities.

Daniel lives in Round Rock with his partner, Steven (who also volunteers for Pug Rescue of Austin), and their three pugs, Guns, Roses, and Cricket. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys doing his part to keep Austin weird, roping previous PRA adopters into application screeners, drinking Mexican Martinis, and spending time with his adorable niece, Kaitlyn.

September 2013 Volunteer Spotlight: Melanie Chen

Melanie first became obsessed with pugs when she and her husband Ben got their pug Mac in August 2010. After moving to Austin a year later, she searched for a community of other pug fanatics and stumbled upon PRA. She began volunteering as an applicant screener and eventually took on the roles of foster and trial visit coordinator. What Melanie enjoys most about volunteering is helping all the rescue dogs get matched with their new families and find their forever homes.

In her spare time, she likes modeling her collection of pug shirts.