Hootie's Story

“Baby Pug for You!”

That was the subject line of the March 23, 2014 email from the representative at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. The rest of the email outlined how the 4 month old pug couldn’t use her back legs, yet was turned in as a stray. She had a very slow pain response when pinching between the toes, was very humpbacked around the shoulder blade area, and would likely require a canine cart/wheelchair.

APARN immediately dispatched a volunteer to make a trip to the shelter to pick up this little puglet. Once she was in APARN’s hands, she was officially named Hortense, and immediate given the nickname Hootie. A trip to the vet revealed she suffered from hemi vertebrae, reduced lung capacity, and an umbilical hernia, all which all lead to her inability to use her rear legs.

Not especially stable, whenever she fell over, Hootie had a hard time getting up, so it was decided she needed to foster with a special needs foster home, where someone could be with her most of the time. Over the next couple weeks, Hootie was also diagnosed with MegaEsophagus, and had to be hand fed her food to keep from vomiting.

Over the next year, as little Hootie grew, it was clear that she would remain a very small pug, never more than 10 pounds. One thing she was though, was fast! She had excellent upper body strength and would take off across the patio or yard dragging her back legs behind her. Her foster mom tried all sorts of things for her back legs, to keep her from scraping them as she dragged herself. Hootie wanted no part of any of them! They were far beneath her dignity and just no fun!

When she tried water therapy, Hootie had a bad panic attack; she was not a fan of the water, and was so freaked out she could not safely continue in water therapy.

As her body grew, she was able to right herself when she tipped over. During her spay, the umbilical hernia was corrected. The MegaEsophagus, lung, and spinal issues remained. And yet, Hootie is happy every single day. She gives kisses to everyone. No one is a stranger, everyone she meets is her friend. And everyone leaves her smiling.

Hootie entered and won APARN’s Cutest Pug Contest in 2014, and graces the cover of the 2015 Cutest Pug Calendar. As an APARN Forever Foster, she represents special needs pugs and how much love they have to give. We are so grateful that little Hootie was found as a stray and taken to the county shelter. Had she not wandered off from her home, she might have met with a far less desirable fate, and the world would have missed out on all the joy she brings.

Ways you can help rescue pugs like Hootie.

Donate 1x

One-time donations can be made easily through PayPal. All donations to APARN for the care of the rescue pugs are tax deductible. Please donate today to help leave no pug behind!

Donate Monthly Subscription

For the price of one large gourmet coffee drink a month, you can make a difference in the life of a rescue pug. Please help APARN ensure we leave no pug behind! Please start a donation subscription today.


Foster Parent

To leave no pug behind we need your help. Please consider fostering a pug or two. It can be quite a rewarding experience. Even if you just help one pug and decide fostering isn’t for you, you’d still be making a difference! Apply to foster today.