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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Homeless puggles need love, too

    Jessica Schrecker

    Gus, a puggle, plays with Vicky Tantlinger, president of the Arizona Puggle Rescue, at Crossroads Park on Monday. The group will host its Pins for Paws Charity Bowling event on Saturday to raise funds for the rescue.

    For many, a trip to a dog rescue or shelter is more than an excuse to look at the cute animals up for adoption – it’s a chance to add another member to the family.

    Giving dogs a second chance is the mission of the Arizona Puggle Rescue, according to Vicky Tantlinger, the rescue’s president. Founded in January, the Arizona Puggle Rescue specializes in finding homes for puggles from local shelters and owner surrenders.

    “Our mission is to rescue puggles and provide healthcare, training, shelter and food while we search for a loving, forever home for the displaced dogs,” Tantlinger said. “It is our goal to help alleviate the overcrowding in the shelters – to provide options to pet owners other than ditching the dog in the desert, dumping it on Interstate 10 or offering up as dog fight bait on Craigslist.”

    Puggles, a hybrid breed of both a pug and a beagle, are the center of the organization. Although the Arizona Puggle Rescue is based out of Tucson, it is the only puggle rescue in Arizona and services the entire state, Tantlinger said. Unlike a dog from a breeder or expensive pet store, breed-specific rescues such as the Arizona Puggle Rescue provide an opportunity for a person looking for a specific breed to purchase one from a humane and healthy environment.

    “When adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue you know what you are getting,” Tantlinger said. “All of the animals have been looked over by a vet, they are up to date on all of their vaccines and they have been spayed or neutered.”

    The Arizona Puggle Rescue spends at least 30 days with each dog to see how they interact with other dogs, animals and children so potential owners know about any quirks or behavioral issues, Tantlinger said.

    “[Puggles] are social dogs and generally get along well with all people, other dogs and cats,” Tantlinger said. “Since they are so loving and gentle they make amazing family pets.”

    Though many students choose to wait to adopt a pet until after college, some find companionship by adopting while they are still in school. Lauren Chittick, a UA biology alumna, adopted both of her dogs, Tiberius and Kingsley, during her time at the UA.

    “Dogs are really comforting when you’re having a crap day,” Chittick said. “As a student, if you have trouble getting out of bed, they can also double as an alarm clock. Taking them for a walk everyday helps anchor down a routine if you’re scatter-brained. With them, I feel more secure when I’m home alone. Plus, they’re an excuse to go to the dog park and meet people, and they’re always fun to bring up in conversations.”

    Chittick adopted Kingsley, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and dachshund mix, at the Pima Animal Care Center in November 2012. She decided to go through the shelter system to avoid supporting puppy mills and to find an older dog that would require less training to work around her student schedule.

    “There’s a notion that pound puppies are all broken and out of control, which, obviously, they’re not,” Chittick said. “The only downside to going to a shelter is that it’s heartbreaking that you can’t adopt all of them.”

    According to a 2008 study conducted by Ohio State University, research suggests that college students can benefit emotionally from having a pet. Students who own a pet are less likely to feel lonely or depressed, the study said, and those who owned dogs were more likely to stay active because of their pet. The study also found that pet ownership helped with the transition to college and learning to cope in difficult situations.

    “I wouldn’t advise everyone to go out and buy a puppy,” said Sara Staats, a psychology professor at OSU and lead researcher on the study. “I think this research clearly shows that many students can benefit both psychologically and socially from living with an animal companion.”

    For students who may not feel emotionally or financially able to adopt a dog from a local rescue or shelter, supporting programs like the Arizona Puggle Rescue can be a preliminary step in the adoption process.

    On Saturday, the Arizona Puggle Rescue is having its first fundraiser, the Pins for Paws Charity Bowling event, to raise money for its displaced dogs. There will be a raffle, silent auction and contests such as “Best Team Name,” and complimentary “wag bags” will be given to each participant.

    “There will always be a dog that is homeless, ill or unwanted and we want to be there for them,” Tantlinger said. “We can’t do that unless we have the support from our community.”

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