Stop our much loved foster pug going back to his neglectful owner

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“Peace” (we call him Pete), a cheeky pug cross, stormed into our lives on Sunday 23rd July last year. Rescued after his owner had been taken into hospital for mental health issues, the house, where Peace and Ruth (another pug) had been living, was in a squalid and uninhabitable state.

When we first heard about Peace he was being looked after at a local rescue centre where the dedicated staff had spent considerable time washing and cleaning the two pugs. Peace was offered for foster as he really needed one-to-one care and attention. We love pugs and were looking for a companion for our ten-year-old pug cross. Peace was described as “a pug with problems” and arrived with a note which said he was “very boisterous, oversexed and not house trained, eighteen months old”.

In spite of his name, Peace turned out to be a whirlwind of energy; large for a pug, he seemed friendly and very enthusiastic. He was more than eighteen months old (we estimate at least two years) and was not housetrained whatsoever. He pooped ten times a day, whenever and wherever he was, and peed in similar fashion, squatting like a bitch. Physically he was puppy soft with very little muscle. He didn’t bark or make any sound for several weeks and made no attempt to sniff out his new home. He had no understanding of 'walkies' and behaved like a rabbit in dog’s skin. We might have had a very large eight-week old puppy.

Peace is now fully house-trained with only the occasional accident. He’s learned, from copying our pug, to behave like a curious and affectionate dog. He barks, sniffs and cocks his leg to pee (a skill which took a while to learn). He delights in walkies in the lanes and on the beach. In between, he runs about the garden and playfights (he’s given a new lease of life to our elderly dog!)

Peace has become a member of our family and it would break our hearts to think of him caged and sitting in his own faeces - as we believe he was before he was rescued. Despite his boisterous behaviour, he still has a deep-seated fear of being bathed and towel dried or brushed; we believe this is due to the memory of having to be washed and cleaned after his rescue.

Its been over a year since Peace and Ruth were rescued and, in that time, they have both made leaps and bounds in terms of behaviour and wellbeing. Both dogs are now in safe and loving homes where they are cared for and exercised.

However, this has been put at real risk of changing back to the old as Social Services are supporting the dogs’ previous owner who has requested that both dogs be returned to her. It is our opinion that returning Peace and Ruth to their previous situation is not in their best interests.

Before Peace and Ruth can be considered for return, Social Services have insisted that the house - once again in a squalid condition - is cleared of rubbish and cleaned. This will be the third time that the house has required professional cleaning before it is considered fit for habitation. It is our belief that it will not be long before conditions in the house once again deteriorate to a state where the dogs have to be rescued. 

We believe that Social Services should advise the dogs’ previous owner that her health and circumstances are detrimental to the well-being of the dogs.

We will refuse to return Peace to this situation for the better good of both parties.