A pug love affair
Passion for pugs prompts birth of rescue group
Diesel the pug, once scheduled for euthanasia, is now safe in his forever home, thanks to the pug rescue group. Photo by Jill Blue-Gaines
Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate all things love. What better way to do that than to showcase the tales of Becky, George, Mika and a rescue full of pugs and Boston Terriers.
The origin of the Brevard County Pug & Boston Terrier Rescue, based in Cocoa, began more than a decade ago. It’s all thanks to a fundraiser to benefit pugs, appropriately called “Pugsgiving,” that pug owner Mika B. Martinez started in 2002.
“I was over the top about pugs then, and it’s a little embarrassing to look back at,” Martinez said.
But that’s how she met fellow pug owners Becky and George Hinton, who bonded over shared love for the dogs and became fast friends.
“Mika, born the same year as our son, is like a daughter to us,” Becky Hinton said.
Speed to 2005, when Hinton and Martinez established the pug rescue that they realized Brevard sorely lacked. Eventually Martinez fell in love with Boston Terriers as well, so they added that breed to their rescue.
Now the center is a godsend and well-loved establishment, serving as an educational resource on the breeds, as well as the Brevard sector for the main rescues. The team seeks out local foster homes and performs home visits to assess potential adopters, works with local shelters, takes in surrendered pets, and supports rescue events.
“Rescue dogs come in all the time, all ages but mostly older ones and in all conditions,” Martinez said. “Some are in hospice condition, but others are in fine health.”
The rescue center is not an authorized nonprofit, so donations are not accepted. The team uses their money from full-time jobs to support it.
“George has become ‘Pug Daddy George’ and ‘Poop Wrangler G’ to everyone in the rescue community. Nothing makes him melt like a pug,” Hinton said.
“Mika calls pugs her ‘squishies,’ ” Hinton continued. “My dad is of Florida Indian descent and taught me to love all animals, but the pugs have a special place in my heart.”
The team also receives pugs and Boston Terriers from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Animal Care Centers.
“Since the sheriff’s department has taken over the animal care centers, they are much improved, and the percentage of euthanized animals has plummeted,” Hinton said. “Sheriff Ivey has done a wonderful job for the animals and is working very well with the rescues.”
Hinton and Martinez agree pugs are great for seniors.
“We could certainly use some foster homes and volunteers in Brevard County,” Hinton said.
But Martinez has some specific advice for senior citizens with pets.
“Have a plan for the animal in case of illness or death. Many people don’t, and that spells death for many pets.”
Instead of chocolate and flowers this Feb. 14, why not surprise your sweetheart or child with a rescue pug or Boston Terrier? Not only will you delight the recipient, but you’ll also aid a needy pet. Talk about a double dose of Valentine’s Day warmth.
Pug & Boston Terrier Rescue site: gbhinton.wix.com/brevardpugbtrescue