Today is National Korean-American Day, and what better time to introduce the newest member to Pug Rescue of Korea, Jessica Jun! Born and raised in the US and of Korean ethnicity, Jessica moved to Korea in 2015.


As our Manager - Korean Operations, Jessica maintains a host of responsibilities, including a recent successful Holiday Bazaar online fundraiser, where she single-handedly raised over $1000!


Outside of this, Jessica also:

- Liaises between Korean pug parents/supporters and PRK. There's a very supportive group of pug owners in Korea that she contacts when Kim needs help and when we need temporary foster homes.

- Leads PRK merch that is made in Korea (masks, magnets, blankets)

- Supports Kim in tracking pugs’ vet visits and health checks

- Promotes PRK to Koreans

- Translates all PRK documents from English to Korean


How did you get involved with PRK?

It seems that volunteers with animal rescue organizations have some type of 'aha' moment that gets them involved. For me, my aha moment was when I rescued my second pug Bella in the summer of 2017 outside of Seoul. That summer was especially cruel because it was extremely hot and over 30,000 dogs were being abandoned throughout the country. I didn't have much knowledge about rescue animals or had even considered adopting one until I came across Bella's picture and called to inquire about this tiny pug that was to be euthanized soon due to lack of space at this high-kill shelter. Bella has been such a joy. She makes us laugh and is a playful companion to Rug, our pug-bulldog mix. We knew instantly that she was family. Then I realized there are more people in need of their own Bella and too many dogs like Bella looking for forever families. I then learned about PRK and reached out to help. Bella opened up my heart in such a way that made me want to help other abandoned or relinquished pugs find their forever families so people can feel what she makes me feel every single day!


Rug (left) and Bella

Tell us about your pugs

Rug is a 9-year-old pug-English Bulldog mix, who moved from Virginia to Korea with my boyfriend Doug in 2015. (Doug and I had mutual friends, but we started dating because I was always dogsitting Rug!) Rug... is not interested in anything, well, except maybe for walks and eating meat. He doesn't like to eat the same kibble for more than 3 weeks because he's so high maintenance. He will also turn his nose or spit out inadequate treats like fruits and vegetables. I must hold onto my job so that I can bring food to... his bowl!


Bell is presumptively 3 years old. She was left in front of the fire station by her previous owner. Bella loves toys, especially rubber balls so they are all over the house. Feisty, she puts other foster pugs in their places, but she's mostly a sweet snugglebug that loves to cuddle with Rug and her Dad.


We cannot imagine our lives without our two pugs. They have both been great with all of our fosters and we are so proud of them!


Jessica led our black pug mask fundraiser and our future blanket fundraiser

(blue pug blanket in right picture)!


What do you like about working with PRK?

Saving animals, especially across the globe, takes teamwork. I really enjoy working with PRK because we have a great team of volunteers as well as rescue organizations and independent rescuers that we work closely with. It's important not only to share information, but to step in and help each other whenever we can. I like that we don't compete with other organizations, but rather work together to achieve our primary goal, which is to help the animals in need.


Everyone has a power to make a difference

What do you see for yourself and/or for PRK in 2021?

I would like to involve our Korean pug community more in 2021. Everyone has a power to make a difference, and I would love to work with my community here in Korea to give everyone the opportunity to save lives. People have different talents, and I know that every single person can contribute in ways they wouldn't have thought could be lifesaving.


Top left, clockwise: Fosters Joy, Milo, Taco, Vegemite, Loretta


What dogs have you fostered for PRK?

Joy - 8mo, AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION

Milo

Taco (fka Ollie)

Vegemite (fka Greta)

Loretta

Manny (fka Young), from @bulldogs_going_home



Any memorable experiences so far with PRK and/or with fostering?

We have a doggie door that opens automatically when a dog with a sensor necklace gets close to it. Well, we started fostering Taco (fka Ollie) at the spur of the moment, so his necklace hadn’t arrived yet, but he enjoyed following our dogs out to the terrace through the doggie door when we were not home. One very hot afternoon, I was checking on the dogs on Furbo and saw that Taco somehow got himself stuck between the screen door and the sliding door! And our dogs were inside just looking at him nonchalantly! Taco must have followed one of our dogs out but did not follow them back inside! Since my office is over an hour away, I had to call a friend to rescue Taco. After that day, we made sure to always have extra sensor necklaces to for fosters and dog visitors!


Jessica with Bella

What's your background?

I was born in Tennessee and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Hospitality Management, I pursued a career in the hotel industry. When a unique opportunity arose in Boxing, I jumped ship. This ultimately led to my MBA in Switzerland in Sports Management and working in the 2015 European Games in Baku Azerbaijan as their Boxing Competition Manager then later as Protocol Manager. Now I live in Seoul, Korea and work as international relations specialist in quasi-government engineering organization.


How long have you lived in Korea?

I moved to Korea for my job in August of 2015, so it's been about five and half years!


Concierges Rug and Bella at the Pet Hotel

Anything you'd like to add?

Working in animal rescue can be emotionally exhausting. It makes you wonder how some people can be so cruel and you start to question the system because it seems to be failing at helping these vulnerable creatures. However, no matter how hopeless things may seem at the moment, I've come to realize that the rewards are more than worth the effort and some of the most heart-breaking cases wind up being our proudest success stories. I am extremely grateful to PRK for giving me an opportunity to be a part of the team and witness the rescue pugs find their happily ever after.


  • Melody Chalaban

Kallie with her dogs (L-R) Mamba, Piper and Chewy

With Mel Mort leaving Korea for her next adventure, Kallie Landry will be taking over as our Foster Coordinator in Korea.


Kallie first got involved with Pug Rescue of Korea in February 2020 and, since then, has dived head first into first fostering and now coordinating foster families for our new rescues. Thank you Kallie and a big snorty, puggy welcome to the team!


How did you get involved with PRK?

I initially got involved with Pug Rescue of Korea as a foster after seeing Mamba on Camp Humphreys pet page. We thought we were just going to help with fostering and when I brought Mamba home the first words out of my husband’s mouth were, “We are keeping him.” We have never looked back since then and have shared our home with up to ten dogs at a time, giving them the love and attention they need until they can be moved to the States to their forever homes.


Mamba's strong pug head tilt

Tell us about your own dogs.

Currently I have three pups of my own. Two of them are pugs I adopted from Pug Rescue of Korea; their names are Mamba and Piper. Mamba is my big “Fat Boy” male, and he is a little over a year. Piper is a “Little Miss Attitude” female approaching a year old. Finally, as with all households it would not be prudent to not have the “Red Headed Stepchild” pup, and that is Chewy, an eight-month-old Shi Tzu. We rescued him on our own through a posting we saw at our local vet.


What dogs have you fostered for us (if it's possible to list all of them!)?

I have fostered and helped rescue many sweet pugs through Pug Rescue of Korea. Of the ones I can remember, I count 17 pups: Bugs (now Bagel), Sweet Pea (now Soju), Lady Bug (Lady), Blaze, Poppy (now Delilah), Hendrix, River, Mochi, Raisin, Bentley, Enzo, Olive, Kiwi, Ginger, Stevie (Bravo), Brody and Luna.


In addition to the pugs, my husband and I have also rescued and rehomed:

1 English Bulldog Meatball

3 mixed breed newborn pups: Bee Bee, Rose and Poe

2 French Bulldogs: Tug and one yet to be named (as of 18 Dec)

1 calico kitten, who my husband refused to name for fear of us keeping her


How about some Piper cuteness

Favorite thing about working with PRK?

The greatest feeling working with Pug Rescue of Korea comes from knowing that these beautiful pups are being rescued from kill shelters and families that surrender them for little to no reason at all. I also like the fact that Pug Rescue of Korea rescues pugs from all parts of Korea as opposed to a smaller, local area.


A random snapshot of the Landry home

Favorite thing about fostering?

The best thing about fostering is getting to experience the many personalities of all the pups. They are unique in their own special ways, and it has also helped me to learn life lessons such as patience and perseverance for a cause that is greater than myself.


Any memorable foster experiences?

Perhaps the most memorable experience involved the rescue of Blaze and Lady. These two dogs were rescued along with other pugs from horrible conditions. They were extremely emaciated with severe luxating patellas that forced them to walk in a hunched, crab-like fashion. What touched my heart the most was the fact that neither of them let their physical limitations affect their “puggie spirit.” They played with other dogs to their full potential, caught bouts of the “zoomies” on the whim, and shared love and affection without question to their foster parents.

I was proud to be a part of Pug Rescue of Korea’s effort to get these dogs the life changing surgeries they required. My sincere thanks to everyone who donated to that effort; it made a phenomenal difference in Lady and Blaze’s quality of life; they will always have a special place in our hearts.

Blaze and Lady, bonded pair - available for adoption


Anything to add?

I would ask for each potential foster and forever home “puggie” moms and dads to spread the word to their friends, families and colleagues looking to adopt their next furry companion. Rescuing a dog or helping to support those efforts with donations through Pug Rescue of Korea will change both theirs and the pup’s life in more ways than one.

  • Melody Chalaban


Rescued as a stray from the shelter in fall 2013, Maple was a miracle. Battling pneumonia, she was in an incubator for 4 weeks on oxygen. Her status fluctuated a lot, making it very emotionally draining for our rescuer, Kim. But she says, “It was so miracle she overcame.”


Maple's mom, Amber Reese: “Kim put her in a pretty little blue dress and the day she was rescued, and she demanded to share some of Kim’s orange drink when they were on the train.”


Current age: Almost 8

Gotcha Day: January 18, 2014



How did you happen upon Maple?

We had just lost our senior girl pug (from Pug Nation LA in 2010). She was a mate with our boy pug, Buddy (from Pug Rescue San Diego County in 2010). We were absolutely heartbroken with the loss. I knew we would get another rescue girl pug, but when Buddy wouldn't eat or get out of bed for a week, I knew I had to find our next princess pug and a new mate for Buddy. By wonderful luck, I stumbled across PRK and the entire awesome team. Jan was fostering Maple in the States, and she had just arrived within the week. When I saw her picture and her bio, I was in love instantly! I immediately put in our application and was quite pesky about meeting her :)


How did you know she was the one?

The moment I saw her pictures, I just knew. There was something in her eyes. Such a joyous little soul. I knew I had to give her the spoilings and love she deserved.


Gotcha Day (L-R: Maple, Buddy)

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

The day was a weekday, and we went after work. I was SO excited I could barely hold still on the 45 min drive to Jan's house. When we came through the door, we had Buddy with us and he instantly fell out of his depression and started running through the house with Maple and Jelly (Jan’s pug). I had to contain myself as all I wanted to do was pick her up and hug her and give her kisses. I think Jan knew, lol!


We are big pug kissers and once I got Maple on my lap, I kissed right on her nose. I could tell she had never had that. I asked my husband Ryan if he wanted to kiss her and he said no. Later in the car I asked him why, and he replied, "I'm afraid I'd kiss her and fall in love...and if we don't get picked as her forever parents, I would be able to bear it."


We were already in love with this sweet princess.


My future's so bright...

What’s Maple’s personality like?

Sassy! Spoiled. In-charge. Loving. Kind. Empathetic. Protective. A comedian. She's extremely expressive and communicates what she wants or does not. She loves her beds, blankets and to burrow and wrestle. She loves her toys, walks, and of course treats. She hates the vet, nail trims and the rain.


The first day we got her, I gave her a brand new stuffed animal dog. She has slept with it every night since that first day. I've had to restuff it and sew it many times. When I have to wash it or sew it, she just sits and waits. It's sweet, like a comfort "blankie." (Pix below!)



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

Maple arrived as if she had been there the entire time. She and Buddy are inseparable, doing everything together, snuggling at night and rough housing like siblings (or a married couple). She also got along great with our Kitty, although she'd try to chase him sometimes. With my husband and me, she has become our princess pug and has brought us so much joy.


Buddy and Maple like two peas (squished) in a pod

What’s her favorite food?

There isn't a treat she doesn't love. She also like veggies as a crispy healthy snake. She tried a Brussels sprout leaf one time. It got stuck in her front teeth and was the funniest thing.


If your pug could talk, what would she say?
I saw you looking at other pugs on Instagram and I'm disappointed.

If your pug could drive, what kind of car would she roll in?

A monster truck


How has Maple survived the pandemic lockdown?

She's gotten through just fine. Now that we are home more often, she's in puggy heaven.



As much as Maple needed us, we needed her more. She healed broken hearts and helped us laugh and smile again. Being accepted as her forever parents was the greatest gift, and we're forever grateful to PRK and all the pugs and families they help save on a daily basis. This isn't just about dogs; this is about love and changing people's lives. That is what adopting Maple and all our pugs, has been: life-changing and lifesaving.


We've fostered two pugs for PRK after adopting Maple. It was such a rewarding experience to help two pugs find their forever homes, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves pugs and is willing to help.


Buddy and Maple, before apologizing to Santa for eating all his cookies


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