Local rescue group ‘Pug Pals’ steps in when owners find breed is more than they can handle

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SALT LAKE CITY – Pugs are one of the cutest dog breeds out there, but they are also very high maintenance.

Many pug owners don’t keep the dogs long for that reason, but a local group called Pug Pals is there to make sure those animals find a home.

The group recently held their first pug meet-up in Salt Lake City.

"That's the great thing about pugs, hanging out with pugs, they just chill, they want to snuggle up to people and snuggle up to their own breed,” Michelle Lundberg, a Pug Pals volunteer, said about the meet-up. “They just kind of wander around and sniff each other."

Pugs are so cute that people looking for a dog fall in love with them, but after a short while, many people realize they are not the right breed for them.

"We have a lot of people who get the pug, and they don't realize how much medical attention they need and how much care that they need and time, so they surrender their dogs or don't take good care of them,” Pug Pals Volunteer Merilee Bingham said.

When organizers planned this pug meet-up they thought maybe 10 or 20 pugs and their owners would show up, but on the big day there were more like 200.

The meet-up was held at the Utah Dog Park so the pugs could be inside. The only thing they hate more than cold, is heat. That wrinkled face is cute, but it also makes it very hard to breathe.

Many new pug owners soon realize they've bitten off more than they can chew.

"They don't realize that they snore, or that they snort, or that they need to have their noses fixed, they have to have their noses opened up so they can breathe, or their palates shortened so they can breathe,” said Dr. Pam Nichols, a veterinarian and the owner of Utah Dog Park. “And pugs you've seen a few walking around that are somewhat paralyzed, many are born with bad backs."

Pug Pals rescues the unwanted dogs and provides medical care for them. They also place the pugs with foster owners until they can find a permanent home with an owner who is up to the task.

The meet-up was also a chance for pugs and their owners to mingle and talk about the challenges and rewards of owning a pug.

To learn more about Pug Pals or about adopting a pug, click here.

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