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Homeward Bound rescues 32 neglected pugs and reaches out for community support

This little puppy is one of the 32 pugs retrieved from deplorable conditions by Homeward Bound Pug Rescue. Photo provided by Homeward Bound Pug Rescue

By Darla Shelden
Contributing Writer

Gail Tucker, director of Homeward Bound Pug Rescue and Adoption of Oklahoma, recently received a phone call from a friend regarding what turned out to be 32 pugs, including at least 19 puppies in distress.
Dana Scott called Homeward Bound after she saw a flyer at her local vet clinic requesting homes for several of the small dogs.

“Apparently, the lady who had the pugs was just overwhelmed by the numbers of puppies and adult dogs. She said she wasn’t able to provide the food and medical treatment needed for the dogs,” said Tucker.

After assessing the situation, 32 pugs, all under the age of 1 year, were removed from the owner. The initial findings were disturbing and revealed pugs with no hair suffering from mange; some had eyes missing, two pregnant females ready to give birth and 19 malnourished puppies.

Homeward Bound Pug Rescue (HBPR) already has 40 dogs up for adoption, so Tucker knew taking on such a large task would be difficult.

“It’s what we do,” said Tucker.

After being contacted by Homeward Bound, Karen Rudat of Pughearts of Houston wanted to help. She arranged for the donation of a large crew van from PV Rentals to facilitate the trip to Oklahoma City. Rudat, along with Pughearts volunteer Becky Roark, made the round trip journey to pick up eleven pugs, lessening the burden for Homeward Bound.
“It was one of the longest, most rewarding days of my life,” said Rudat. Read more about Karen’s pug rescue journey at

After the remaining neglected and malnourished pugs were picked up, they were taken to a veterinarian for examination. Approximately 20 pugs were checked out at Neel Veterinary Clinic in Oklahoma City. A half dozen puppies were placed in doggie ICU.

Veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Reeves said “They bounce back pretty good with just a little bit of care.”

“This is going to substantially increase the medical bills we incur in the next couple of weeks. For any of you out there who were considering donating but haven’t yet, we ask you to please donate what you can so that we can do everything that needs to be done for the babies,” said Tucker.

Unfortunately, two of the newly rescued puppies have died.

Tucker said, “It’s a killer. I try not to tear up too often, but it’s a very bad situation. Good food, care and nutrition could have prevented the situation we’re in right now.”

Many of the puppies are suffering from severe malnutrition and dehydration and will need to be given fluids intravenously. The puppies will need to be boarded at the vet and cared for until they are better.
“We won’t give up on the puppies and will do whatever we can to help them,” said Tucker.

HBPR volunteer Toni Pettigrew visited the Neel Clinic and said, “It was so wonderful to see them enjoying the spotlight and the extra love and attention. Pugs, we love you,” she said. “For all of you who have donated time, sent money, thoughts, prayers, gifts for them… they are very, very grateful…and we are too. Homeward Bound Pug Rescue supporters are the best.”

Since the health checkup, Tucker said experienced foster families from the HBPR Wichita Division have taken five of the rescued pugs.

To donate much needed items, visit and search for Homeward Bound Pug Rescue or go to the HBPR website and find the link to the Wish List at the bottom of the homepage.

Tucker said she has received literally hundreds of phone calls and emails regarding these rescue pugs. Calsl and donations have come in from as far away as Canada, Washington, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Carolina and New York.
“Thank you to everyone who has shared the story of these pugs, those who have donated money for the medical care, those who have donated supplies, those who have filled out volunteer, foster and adoption forms. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of all of our supporters,” said Tucker.

For those interested in helping to pay for care costs for the pugs in need, donations can be made at or mail to Homeward Bound Pug Rescue of Oklahoma, c/o Gail Tucker, 1702 Vanessa Drive, Norman, OK 73071.

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