Kim with Freya and Blanca

If you were to drive from the southern region of South Korea to the northern part of the country, it would take approximately 5 hours.

Our rescuer, Kim, has driven this.

To rescue a pug.

Countless times.

That’s like driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Or, from Richmond VA to New York City.

Kim drives all over the country to pick up unwanted pugs and shuttling them from one foster home to another and one veterinary clinic to another. She works a day job from 9am to 6pm, and she uses the remaining 15 hours in the day to drive the country rescuing pugs. Driving late into the early morning hours and on the weekends, Kim stops at rest stops to sleep. There are weekends when she’s doing this all day and into the night.

Pugs in cars....some getting coffee...

Why such late night driving?

When an owner wants to give up their dog, they want it out of the house immediately.

Once she finds an available dog on the online sales lists, Kim will call the owner, who will say, with urgency, “Can you pick up the dog tonight?” Kim, with the same urgency, then has to drive there that night or a breeder will land the dog instead. She makes the long trip hoping the dog will still be available and that she doesn’t get ghosted.

We have limited resources. But, we do have a wonderful foster coordinator, Mel, in Korea who has helped tremendously in placing dogs with foster families, creating a sort of PRK Foster Network. Without her and this network, we would not be able to save as many pugs’ lives as we have.

Despite this, Kim still handles 99% of the vet visits, meaning she herself will drive to the foster family (most are 3-4 hours from her apartment) to pick up the pug for their vet visit.

Dog rescuer to the bone

We speak to Kim nearly every day and never does she complain about these long drives. It’s like she knows this is her duty in her life. She doesn’t just accept it, but she embraces it. She truly embodies the life of a dog rescuer.

If you see this Pug Mobile in Korea, you know it's on a critical mission

Our rescuer, Kim, rescued 1yo Buddy from the shelter in 2017.

“It was strange that nobody wanted to adopt him from the shelter. Maybe it was his photograph on the official stray site. He was very small, 11lbs. He had canine cold (cough, runny nose). People were afraid he had pneumonia or distemper. He was not seriously sick. He recovered! He was hospitalized for 2 weeks and, during that time, I would visit him to say hi.”

Buddy in Korea

Once healthy, we flew Buddy to Los Angleles on March 29, 2017. He then pugged on over to our friends at Pug Nation of LA, who took care of his adoption from there.

Here’s his mom, Tere Gonzalez:

Gotcha day date: April 13, 2017

Current age: 3 years old

Buddy in front, 2nd from the left, 2017

How did you happen upon Buddy?

First, I noticed him (see first pic) in Korea and thought he was cute. Then while watching Pug Nation’s Facebook Live video, I saw him again! They announced they would be at the Tailwaggers Adoption event the next day but that there was already a waiting list for him. So I didn’t get my hopes up, and I didn’t think they would take him to the adoption fair either. I had lost my pug Coco four months before and had intended to go to Tailwaggers just to play with the pugs.

What’s Buddy’s adoption story?

Gwenn from Pug Nation told me there was a list of 10 people ahead of me and she wasn’t sure how I ended up with him. I was shocked too, so it was meant to be!

How did you know Buddy was the “one?”

At Pug Nation, I didn’t notice him initially. But my boss, who was with me, spied him sitting under the volunteer’s chair. The volunteer asked if I wanted to take him for a walk, and I did! He was so cute, but I was told he already had someone coming to the Station to see him tomorrow. But they liked the fact that Buddy would be coming to work with me every day and, since he had a rough life, that would be good for him. They did the home check and landlord check all in one day, and when Gwenn called me the next day, she said, “I don’t know how you ended up with him, but that he’s all yours! Congratulations!”

Describe the day and your feelings the moment you met your pug.

Left work to pick him up at the Station, was a bit nervous but excited to have a dog back in my life (the first 2 pix above are Buddy's first day and night in his new home!).

What’s Buddy’s personality like?

He’s super sweet, loves everyone, including cats! He’s super crazy for food, twirling and spinning from the kitchen to his bowl. He loves to dress up and lets me take his picture, so funny! He loves his zoomies (all day long at the office) and his toys, but he HATES baths.

Buddy with Tere's boss

How has Buddy fit in with your family and in your home?

He fit right in, especially at work, which was so surprising. He doesn’t bark and he loves my boss (sometimes I think he loves him more than me, lol).

What’s his favorite food, or rather--let’s make this pug-appropriate-- is there anything your pug won’t eat?


If your pug could talk, what would he say?

What’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner and where do you keep the treats.

If your pug had thumbs, what would they do?

Open the refrigerator.

I want to thank Kim, Renee, Melody & everyone involved with Pug Rescue of Korea. I know it’s not an easy job and y ’all are awesome & amazing!

Buddy as a Korean tourist lost in LA, Halloween 2019

Fun fact: Buddy recently won a Best Costume Award at Pug Nation’s Annual Pugtacular Spooktacular Event!

Follow Buddy on Instagram @lilmanbuddy

Pug Rescue of Korea rescued Burton from a shelter on August 4, 2018. He was a stray found on the main street of Gangnam District (like the song, “Gangnam style”), which is a very busy shopping district (like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills), not residential. Imagine finding a stray pug strutting around on Rodeo!

We flew Burton to the US, and he went straight to our partner, Pug Nation of LA, who took care of his adoption from there.

Let’s hear more about this “gentle giant” from his mom, Jen DeBough:

Gotcha day date: 9/14/19

Current age: probably 4 (he was 3-4 when we adopted him). I can’t believe it’s been a year!

How did you happen upon Burton?

We lost our last senior pug Bubba at the age of 15 in July 2018. Our hearts and home were so empty, and we had more love to give. We reached out to Pug Nation LA and once approved, we virtually met two prospective young male pugs via Skype, Donny and Burton. Donny wouldn’t sit still so the meeting was brief, but you could see calm and quiet Burt in the foreground, waiting his turn for the camera. He instantly reminded us of each of our four senior pugs from the past. We loved their leisurely and subdued personalities (who doesn’t love a senior!?) so much and the moment we saw Burton, we knew he would be a wonderful addition to our family.

What’s his adoption story?

We believe it was clear to Pug Nation LA that we would care for Burton for the rest of his life, as we had for many pugs before him. I hope they knew that we feel adoption is forever and there are no lengths that we will not go to in order to ensure a happy, healthy and well cared for pug. We are incredibly grateful that Pug Nation maintains a great relationship with Pug Rescue of Korea and blessed us with Burt.

Describe the day and your feelings the moment you met your pug.

We drove from Las Vegas to Los Angeles the day before we were able to bring Burt home with us. We were so excited and anxious to meet Burton that we arrived at Pug Nation before they even opened! They were very kind to let us in before opening hours. The experience was bittersweet. To see so many babies waiting for their forever homes while the volunteers at Pug Nation cared for them as if they were their own. We spotted Burt instantly. While other pups were jumping and barking out of excitement, Burt sat still as if he knew we were there just for him.

What’s Burt’s personality like?

Burton is very calm and quiet. He doesn’t bark much except when the doorbell rings. He’s a fantastic listener and was a fast learner when it comes to tricks. He even dances, spinning around on his two back feet for treats. We jokingly say he was a performer in a Korean circus! He absolutely loves car rides. He sleeps most of the night under the covers (of course, he sleeps in the people bed!) without panting at all. He loves to go out to dog-friendly restaurants and doesn’t bark at other dogs. He is a very happy boy!

How has Burton fit in with your family and in your home?

Burton fits in perfectly and completes our family. He stays with his grandparents and pug cousin when we travel and has a wonderful time. It almost makes us think he needs a brother!

What’s his favorite food, or rather--let’s make this pug-appropriate-- is there anything he won’t eat?

Burt will literally eat ANYTHING! Asparagus, lettuce, tomatoes, watermelon--the list is endless. We have not found a food that he won’t ingest immediately. We watch what we give him to keep his 19 lb frame sleek!

If Burton could talk, what would he say?

I love you mommy!

If your Burton had thumbs, what would he do?

Open the refrigerator!

A million thanks to Pug Rescue of Korea and Pug Nation of LA for ALL you do. Burton has brought such joy to our lives, and we couldn’t imagine life without him.

Follow Burton on Instagram @burton_therescuepug