• Melody Chalaban

Kim with rescue pug "@," Oct 2010. Her mom named him "@" because he was tiny like an @ symbol.

Who was the first pug you rescued?

Eunbi, the girl pug from the official shelter in Seoul in 2000. It covers cities surrounding Seoul called Gyunggi-do. Her owner, who was from a province north of Seoul, surrendered her to that shelter.

In Korea, it is forbidden people come to the shelter and surrender their dogs. At that time the staff who had her own pug got her privately and asked me to get her. I had applied for a pug at that shelter, but she had pneumonia and wouldn’t make it. Staff said for me to get Eunbi instead.


Eunbi means silver rain. She was just 9 month girl. Malnourished I could easily feel her ribs. She was so afraid of daylight lived at the basement like the movie, “Parasite.” Even she could not make step forward outdoors. She lived with me and passed away at 13 yrs old.

If your pug has a taste for Starbuck's, this is why. Here are naughty Eunbi and Shirley trying an iced latte, May 2011.

What do you like to feed your pugs and your foster pugs?

I give dog food like Royal Canin or Natural Balance. But I think fresh vegetables, fruits, grains and proteins they need so I offer apple, watermelon, Korean gyul (like tangerine), zucchini, spinach, carrot, eggplant, cucumber, sweet potatoes, boiled eggs, meat and chicken. Whenever I can give depending on what kind of food I make for dinner.

Bowie and Potato, Jun 2019

Do you have any funny memories of a pug you rescued?

Last year, I rescued a girl and a boy, Potato (fka Dolly) and Bowie, who lived together. I drove my car to the owner's apartment to get them. The owner was waiting for me at the gate. He got into the passenger seat of my car and we headed to his basement. Owners said they have to take care of sick parents and can't care for the pugs.

I came back to mom's house with Potato and Bowie. Pet shop lady (who helped advertise the pugs) called me and said the owner was suspicious that I am puppy breeder. Why he thought so was the condition of my car.

My car was so similar to puppy breeders: Filled with hairs and not clean (does not mean dirty). Seemed like the car was used for delivering dogs.

So, he checked my ID and I showed him a video of how the pugs were doing. Every time I met a pug owner who wanted to rehome, they felt so comfortable when they saw me in person. So, I was astonished that this particular owner didn’t trust that I wasn’t a puppy breeder! Now it feels like so funny. Haha

What are some differences about how dogs are taken care of in Korea vs. the US?

So sad that most Koreans do not walk their dogs. This is the important reason why I make adoptions in US.

I do not want dogs raised like fishes in the jar.

So easily they are rehomed when the owner get marry, having babies and babies are born. I don’t want single person in Korea to buy dogs without concern but so often they do.

One of many grumbles Kim has fostered, Sep 2011

What’s the hardest part about doing rescue work?

Many difficult things, but the hardest thing is budget. If I have more money, I can save more. For healthy dogs, I pay around $400 per dog plus more for gas for all my driving. If I get pugs owner relinquished, I still have to pay.

I wish I could have reserved money for preparing adoption to the States. If the rescued pug has the special sickness like heartworm, Parvo or pneumonia, it takes a lot of money before their adoption while they are staying and recuperating in Korea.

How’s Blanca the white pug-mix doing?

​She is a little bit crazy when she is in euphoric mood. But during the day, she is so gentle. Same age of other fawn and black pug I’m fostering-- they are really crazy. She likes cuddling. Happy walker. She loves fruits. Apples, Korean Gyul and blueberries. She wants to play with my pug Luce, but he does not want because he is old. (Luce prefers to sleep all the time with occasional walking outside.)

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  • Melody Chalaban

This handsome fella is Theo! He’s living his best life in LA now—a much improved life from where he started.

His start in Korea was rough. His former owner was mentally ill, who meant well but was not equipped to take care of Theo.

“When I picked up Theo, we met at the train station. Owner was very stressed, high anxiety. Eccentric-looking and spoke strangely. After I got him, she messaged and called often. Her mind was up and down. It was difficult for me. Then finally she would say, please take care of my dog,” said his rescuer, Kim.

Let’s hear from his mom, Leslie-Anne Huff, now!

Current age: about 9 Gotcha day date: October 8, 2012

Instagram: @theopugstable

Theo's Tinder, I mean...Petfinder picture

How did you happen upon this pug?

We found him on Petfinder, which lead us to Happy Angels, which led us to Pug Rescue of Korea!

What’s Theo’s adoption story?

Theo went through a lot with his pug mom in Korea, but he was ultimately forfeited. He needed multiple surgeries for hip dysplasia, patella problems, and bladder crystals. Poor guy! Kim took him in and took good care of him through his recovery until he was ready to be fostered in the States by the amazing Jan Roberts (Theo calls her Mama Jan). She helped him continue his recovery and fostered him for several months before we found him!

Theo with his foster sister, Jelly

How did you know Theo was the “one?”

When we went to "Mama Jan's" house to meet Theo for the first time, he was still recovering and a little wobbly on his feet. He spent a lot of the meet-and-greet lying in bed with his foster sister, Jelly, who was young and rambunctious. We knew Theo was "the one" watching him interact with Jelly: she laid on him, nibbled on his ears, squished him, and tried to get him to play. Theo was happy to just lay there patiently, letting her have her fun; that's Theo! Little did we know that many days later, he would be the same way with his little brother Buddy (also from Pug Rescue of Korea!).

Theo and his little brother, Buddy

Describe the moment you met him.

Well, the moment before we met him, my husband and I drove by Theo as he was out for his walk. He was so cute, we fell in love instantly! Before we went in to officially meet him, I cried with nervousness because I really wanted him to be ours! I remember crying to my husband, saying, "I just hope they like us!" Thankfully, it was all meant to be!

What’s Theo's personality like?

We believe there's no pug like Theo! He is a very chill, relaxed pug. Nowadays, he's such a slow walker that we don't even need the leash anymore! He's so chill that when guests are over, he just lays there; we say he "makes them work for it." But once he knows you, he loves a rub down and will lay and warm your feet.

The only time he's not chill is when it’s time to eat! He eats first thing in the morning and his dinner time is 5pm. But, by 3:30pm, his biological clock starts going off, and he’s begging us to feed him!

It's 5:00 somewhere!

Aside from eating, he also loves his "binkies" (stuffed toys) and is very possessive of them. He likes to hold them in his mouth while he takes naps - sometimes he'll even sigh loudly and make noises like he's really happy and content! Also, like most pugs, he snores very loudly—so loud that he can't sleep in our room with us. Instead, we let him fall asleep in our room and then once he's asleep, we gently pull his bed into the living room! He also loves to sleep with his chin on our legs or wrapped up in a blanket. He is the sweetest and such a funny boy!

Theo is our baby, our son, our sunshine.

La Famiglia

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


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

There's NOTHING he won't eat! If Theo could talk, what would he say?

"Can I please have more food?" If he had thumbs, what would he do?

Open the cabinet where his kibble is and gobble it ALL down!

If Theo could drive, what kind of car would he have?

Theo would have an old Oldsmobile! 

We are so grateful to Kim, Jan, and everyone at Pug Rescue of Korea. We adore Theo and we're so grateful for all who took care of him before he came to us and grateful for all that they continue to do for countless other pugs!

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  • Melody Chalaban

Jack, formerly Bok, will be celebrating his 6th birthday at the end of February! Relinquished in Korea before he was a year old, he now lives with his humans, Jennifer and Matt, in Southern California.

His rescue story as told by his rescuer, Kim:

"A member of pug community in Korea wanted to give up him. She lived alone and no longer could live with him so he moved to her parents' house. His parents kept him outdoors so his owner felt so sorry for him. As I heard that story, I asked her to move him to my vet clinic. Then he flew to the States for adoption."

Fun fact first!

Jack’s an award-winning Pug! He won Most Photogenic Dog at the Bulldog Beauty Contest in 2016 and second-best tail in 2017! His tails looks like a double curled cinnamon bun, and it's perfect in every way. Just like him!

Homecoming with Matt

Gotcha Day date

March 10, 2015. We celebrate every year by taking him to Petsmart to get a new toy and treat. This year, I'm going to bake him a dog-friendly cake with peanut butter!

How did you happen upon Jack?

I wasn't looking for Jack at that time, but I think he was looking for me! My family had recently lost our almost 15-year-old Lab, Sadie. I've had Labs all my life, but I've been in love with Pugs almost as long and knew that one day, I'd find the perfect pug. We found Jack on Petfinder.com completely by accident. My sister and I were both missing Sadie, and our roommate had recently gone through the Guide Dog training puppy program so, for a moment, there was a puppy in our house. It reminded us how nice it was to come home to a dog! Having a dog adds color. So, I was initially looking for dogs for my sister when I stumbled across Jack's picture and bio. I fell in love, so I took a leap and filled out an application.

How did you know Jack was the “one?”

When we arrived at his foster's house, he came bursting out of the house like a maniac and tore around the yard, chasing and tumbling around with Peri, his foster-sibling. He was full of energy and such a happy boy! When I called him, he practically bowled me over and, in between all of the kisses and licking, I realized he was the one. I was trying really hard not to get my hopes up though!

The day I first met Jack

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

I remember rushing to finish the application and asking my roommates and fiancé if they were ok with adopting a pug. We set a date to meet Jack. During the hour long drive, I was bouncing with excitement! My fiancé couldn't make it, but he had said he was ok with whatever happened (he was noncommittal and told me it was up to me since he didn't care...look how that has changed!).

What’s his personality like?

He's slowed down considerably—but still has the occasional zoomie—since we brought him home, but in a good way! Most of the day, he lazes around until everyone gets home then comes alive and gets playful. Currently, his favorite toy is a pizza, but he also loves ropes, antlers and anything soft! He also knows several tricks including: "give me paw" (high-five), “bow,” “shake,” and "bang bang" (complete with a finger gun!). We've also taught him how to "howl."

He's a master at guilt-tripping people. He looks at you with those big liquidy brown eyes and the upturned lip, making you question every decision you ever made that didn't benefit him in some way. And he's an opportunist! If you leave anything in reach that's food-related, he will get into it when your back is turned! Every so often, when something new is in the house (an Amazon box, a pineapple, a cardboard cutout of Professor Snape from Harry Potter), he will lose his mind! He's equal parts brave and afraid when it comes to new things. Balloons are public enemy #1!

The best part is when you've had a bad day or you're not feeling well, Jack's always right there, as close as he can be to lick your hand or curl up in your lap.

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

I'm going to be very clear here: I may have adopted Jack and I love him dearly, but his absolute favorite person in the world is his dad, my husband. And the same goes for my husband. I never had a chance! They are two peas in a pod. Matt was a little hesitant at first until Jack came home on Gotcha Day. But now all Matt talks about is adding more pugs to our family in the future. Jack is the apple of his eye.

When Jack came home, we were worried about our other house inhabitant, my sister's cat Neville. At first, Neville was not a fan of Jack and was a bit vocal about it. But we were patient and kept working with both. After realizing that Jack was mostly harmless, Neville warmed up to him and they are now best friends and inseparable. If you put Jack outside, Neville will sit by the door until you let him out as well or let Jack back in! Neville even takes time to occasionally groom Jack's ears and face. It's the funniest thing!

My parents also recently added a new Lab, Ivie, to their family and we go over to visit them every weekend. She's a bit of a bully (as all puppies are) and at first, he wasn't good at telling her to back off. Now, they're friends and they wrestle nonstop until we have to throw them into the backyard so they don't break anything.

This heirloom dog sweater has been in our family for almost 40 years. We have pictures of all of our labs wearing it and now, one of Jack!

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

Pickles. One time, Jack ate a pickle slice. His look of joy went to one of disgust in half a second. I don't think his mouth even closed before he spat it back out onto the ground.

If Jack could talk, what would he say?

He'd give me a stern talking to (or a well-worded guilt trip!) for all of times I brought something weird and scary into the house, like the time he spotted a pineapple on the table. I've never seen a dog skid to a halt and back up so quickly before.

If your pug had thumbs, what would he do?

Probably figure out how to get into the fridge, the pantry...anywhere there's food!

Jack at various Renaissance Faires with us. He's really good-natured about the ridiculous things we put on him. Far right, 1 week after we got him-- there were cannons going off all day and he didn't budge at all.

Family pic

We're so thankful to Kim and PRK for rescuing Jack and allowing us to adopt him. Even though we got married the same year, I still like to say that adopting Jack was the best decision of 2015. My husband and I love him dearly and can't imagine life without him. He brings color into our everyday life and has been our constant companion, whether we're at my parents, on a boating trip, or bringing him along with us to any of the Renaissance Faires that we do as a couple. Every day is an adventure with him!

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