Florida Pug Parents

All are welcome. Come learn about Florida pugs and the wonderful state of Florida!

Location: Green Cove Springs
Members: 33
Latest Activity: Jan 26, 2013

Discussion Forum

We need Florida Pug Meetups.

Started by SimplyPug. Last reply by Alina Fundora Jan 19, 2013. 2 Replies

Where is Green Cove Springs???

Started by Gina Doran. Last reply by Gina Doran Jan 26, 2009. 2 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by Alina Fundora on January 26, 2013 at 7:18am

Any Pug Owners in North Fort Myers Fla.????

Comment by Jill Beechly on January 26, 2013 at 3:54am

Word of caution:  if you let your pugs ride in the back of your car, LOCK THE WINDOWS! One of mine stood on the armrest to look out the window. Unfortunately the window button is on the armrest. All of a sudden, I noticed my fawn pug was gone! I crawled up and down the highway, looking to retrieve a body. After several hours, we did find him, safe without a scratch on him. If it hadn't been for some heaven-sent angels in the area, this story might have had an unhappy ending.

Comment by Adam H on October 19, 2012 at 12:51pm

I'm in West Palm Beach with Dudley.

Comment by Jill Beechly on May 12, 2011 at 4:31pm
Anyone near Jacksonville?
Comment by alicia marsh on May 6, 2011 at 7:22pm
hello sarasota co.  city of north port 3 pugs,need a pic pug this week bella,anyone owned by a PUG near me in florida?would love pug play dates...........
Comment by SimplyPug on July 13, 2010 at 9:38am
We need to have a better pug club in Florida.
Comment by SimplyPug on June 26, 2010 at 6:32pm
Florida pugs enjoy the sunny beaches but I wish it wasn't so humid out for these little guys!
Comment by Dave & Pilar Coody on November 24, 2009 at 8:21am
We are happy to be part of this Florida Pug Parents. We would like to say HI!!!! to the members and hope to be able to participate in current discussions about our precious dogs.
We got our Pug a year ago for Christmas... little we knew about them. We have been learning the "hard way" as our Pug "Mona" has had a lot of healthy issues since we got her.
Right now she is in the waiting list to have an eye surgery and "while waiting".... got an ulcer on her left eye. So we are going through a lot of stress but we are hoping for the best outcome of this situation.
Comment by Krista Joy on September 25, 2009 at 1:35pm
Thanks so much for the great response guys! Very informative. Does anyone else's pug do the thing where they sprint around in circles? I call it victory laps! If your pug does it you'll know what I am talking about! It is the funniest thing ever. He only does it when he's excited or the kids are playing with him.
Comment by Denise Hutson on September 19, 2009 at 6:13pm
I thought I might share an article I wrote for a newspaper a couple of years ago. As most of you know, I am the co-founder of the 5th largest canine service training organization in the US and part of our services include level 5 therapy dogs. I work pro bono for a wolf sanctuary located in the florida area and was asked to do an article relating my experiences in the sanctuary with those in the therapy area of service work. How could the two relate???? Check out the article......

Today starts like any other day.

I open my eyes and fight my way up from the bodies and legs of dogs, all entwined in the bed sheets. (Thank goodness for the king sized bed, my husband is in here somewhere) I throw my legs over the side of the bed and navigate the rest of the numerous legs and other body parts. They do not move, I am on my own.
After that first morning cup of coffee, I feed the troops, special diets for some, meds for others and let them out for their morning run. As I bring them inside, I marvel at how diverse my little family is. They make me smile.

I make my way out to my car, crank it up and get moving. I am trying to settle down and mentally prepare for my day. It is essential that I be relaxed and calm.
It is only a 5 minute drive from my home in Florida, not much time to calm myself.
I turn down a long dirt road and pull into a drive and park the car. I take off my watch, my earrings and take down my hair from the ponytail I constantly wear. I pull on a sweatshirt, tuck my hair into the back of my shirt and tuck my shoelaces into my shoes. I am as ready as I can be.

Today, there will be no pouting poodles, dopey dachshunds, sleek greyhounds or rotten rotties.

Today…….. I spend with the wolves.

As I get out of my car, I am keenly aware of several pairs of golden eyes that peer out from the totally awesome compound before me. 10 acres of extravagant enclosures with underground dens, large splash pools with tree houses everywhere.

This is where they live.
This is where they thrive.

After a short meeting with other staff members, I make my way to the main gate…… the entrance into their world, the exit from mine.
I am greeted by three male grey timberwolves.
I stand perfectly still.
I try to relax and let them find out just who has invaded their territory.
I am circled, sniffed and prodded, pushed and shoved. Their movements are slow, precise and surprisingly gentle. These guys could snap me in half at a moments notice. My scent is imprinted on these boys, it will take only minutes for them to recognize me.
After only a couple of minutes, they slowly walk away.
I have been granted access.

I have to pick an enclosure in which to work today.
I choose the den of a large male and female. I slowly open the first gate to the enclosure and close it securely.
I open the second gate and with slow and steady movements, I step into their home. I am aware I am being watched from an elevated platform about 10 feet above me. I have to know where they are every second. They stand from their lying position, jump down and I drop to my knees and tuck my head, no eye contact here. They slowly lumber toward me. As they tower over me, they shove and sniff. They gently tug on my hair and shirt. I must be still. They walk away, never taking their eyes off me. I raise my head, look up…….


I am immediately pounced on with tails wagging. I am licked, kissed and brought a stick, (it is really a log) their offering to me. They roll over for a tummy rub, stand patiently for an ear scratch, lick my hands, and after making sure I do not give one more than the other, I move to the back of the enclosure and sit down, still keenly aware that while they have just given me cub love, they are still wild animals and could attack at any moment. I still have to be quiet with no sudden movements or loud talking and most of all, exude a relaxed energy.

This is where my day starts.

This wolf sanctuary is special.
The wolves are not relocated from the wild. They are rescued from humans who think they have a cool pet, from dog fighting dens, and from other rescue organizations. They come here from all over the country, from Canada and Mexico. This is a huge project sanctioned by the Florida State Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This sanctuary is destined to be a learning facility-one that will be eventually opened to the public. For now, everyone here including humans are in training. While these animals have been around humans, they still have some issues, some have been abused and battered. They are frightened and worried.

My job here?
To help these magnificent animals relax and get used to human sights, sounds and smell without worrying about being beaten, tortured or neglected. To do the smallest of tasks for them-keep them clean, their enclosure clean- and fresh, cool water in their pools and water buckets. To help them understand that interaction with humans can be a positive experience. My reputation with successfully rehabilitating abused and aggressive canines has gained me a well respected invitation to be a part of this unbelievable project. While most of these animals will never be allowed to be touched, petted or handled by the public, they must get accustomed to humans observing them from the outside of an enclosure. Right now we are not concerned about the outside human contact or lack thereof, we are concerned about how these animals are feeling and will work as long as it takes to relax and reassure them. Only then will the sanctuary open to the public
As I sit in the dirt, I pick up some small palm leaves lying on the ground and start thinking about how I must access these animals in order to do my job.


Second, all my knowledge of dogs, their behaviors and behavior modifications are thrown away. They do not apply here.

Third, I am no more than a guest here, not the leader, not the security blanket. Since there are really no “set rules of wolf behavior in captivity”, I follow the information that I have been given and hope that my experience gives me the rest. I am just a guest here in their home-in their world. I have lost my social standing. I always must remember that I am on their turf, must play by their rules and at any moment can be told to leave. Should this happen, I have to move slowly and carefully to the enclosure gate……

I observe their behaviors and marvel at their size, (especially their feet) their unsettling smartness, their prowess, their ability to be neither seen nor heard and their precise movements…..almost mathematical in their execution. I must learn their social behaviors and use those observations in order to interact successfully with them.

I am no longer the pro, I could be the prey.

The gentleman that runs this sanctuary is an expert in wolf behavior, but he has realized that these animals need his knowledge of wolves in the wild tweaked a bit with the knowledge that they have some human interaction to formulate a method that works for this particular group, and the method works well.
These animals can be as loving as our domestic dogs, but they are and always will be wild animals, and one cannot lose track of that. You have to be on your toes at all times, no mistakes here, they could be deadly.
One day in the near future this sanctuary will be a model for future sanctuaries for wolves that meet the above requirements. It will become a teaching facility, one that will hopefully make the public aware of the awesome power, the beauty and the unseen aura of these animals. One that will make people realize that while these animals are absolutely gorgeous in physical attributes, they do NOT make good pets, that the wild animal is and will always be inside them. They can and will turn on you in a heartbeat, make no mistake about that. As far as being used as dog fighting bait, ANY domestic dog would never have a chance against a healthy wolf, but a sick or starved one is fair game. Unfortunately, this will always be a threat for these animals and we as humans can only try to do everything in our power to outlaw this horrendous sport.
For now, I am honored to be a part of this wonderful project, one that eventually you will all hear about. One that I hope to be a part of in the future, if I am successful.

The above story should make you uncomfortable. It should make you wonder what the heck I am doing. Do you wonder if you would do the same? Could you do the same? If not, why?

Let me tell you what it feels like to sit in a wolf enclosure. It is the most frightening thing I have ever done in my life. For the first time, I am in a vulnerable position. I am not in control. Something else larger and more powerful looms over me and could kill or maim me at any time. I am at their mercy at all times. No matter how hard I try to do everything right and be as inconspicuous as possible, it may make no difference. I am prey and it makes my skin crawl.

Although the sanctuary takes safety precautions, I still walk away after every session shaky and mentally spent, and wonder if I can come back, and if I do, will I make it out the next time unscathed. That is what I take away with me everyday.
So, how does this have anything at all to do with Helping Paws, with therapy, with those who we try to help in hospitals nursing homes, hospice camps.
We all need to remember what it is therapy animals do. Every time we take our dogs into a facility, the person we are seeing feels the same way I do sitting in a wolf enclosure. They are small, weakened, vulnerable and not in control. They are at the mercy of others; they have lost their social standing. While we hope they are being taken care of in whatever facility they are at, the fact is that some of these people are mistreated, they are essentially prey. We need to keep this in mind whenever we go to a facility, we may be the only bright light in their day, their only connection to compassion. How would we feel if we were in such a vulnerable position, and make no mistake, you WILL ALL be in this condition as you get older. Will we have a safe place to go, or will we be at the mercy of others bigger and stronger?

Why would I put myself in such a dangerous situation?

I do this for the wolves. Someone has to be here for them. Although extremely dangerous, I know that I must make sure that this project does indeed have experts on board and that I must trust the knowledge of the experts. I know this is crucial. Not just anyone can handle this project, although I am sure there are those that think they can. If there are no experts, someone or one of the wolves could get hurt-or worse.

I do this for all the right reasons. If I am sitting in this enclosure for personal gain or notoriety, I should not be there. If I go into this situation complaining that things are not as they should be, I should not be there. If I go into this situation not being on the same page with my peers sitting in the next enclosure, I should not be there. If I go into the enclosure with my mind only on how I may discredit others that have disagreed with my methods, I am not only hurting myself, but the wolves. If I go into this situation thinking I know everything there is to know, I cease to learn and therefore cannot teach-I could kill one of my peers or cause the death of one of these magnificent animals-I definitely do not need to be here. I must have some connection with what this project is, or I would not come back. Anyone involved in this project must trust one another. All of us that are involved in this project are there for the same reason and if we are not, we need to disengage ourselves with no harmful intent. It is not and never will be about us, it is about the wolves. It is about the humans we have contact with everyday and how we treat them.....

For the wolves I wish them a peaceful existence here, one that they can relax and enjoy, not pace and worry. For the humans, I wish them a peaceful existance wherever they may be, at whatever age or wherever they have been placed because of a reason beyond their control. A peaceful place that they can relax and enjoy, not pace and worry.
We are not so very different from our animal counterparts.

Denise Kelly Hutson
Helping Paws International Co-Founder/ COO
North Florida Center for Canine Psychology Executive Director of Animal Psychology

2008 helping paws denise Hutson all rights reserved this document may not be copied, edited or sent via email without the consent of the author.

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