Rhys Stanley’s pug life

Rhys Stanley pugs


Rhys Stanley always wanted a big dog.

Being a country boy from Berri, the 22-year-old grew up with Shepherds but when he moved into an apartment in bayside Melbourne with his girlfriend Hannah, Stanley had to make a compromise on his choice of companion.

“We bought Winston 18 months ago and I wasn’t particularly interested in pugs, I actually always wanted a bigger dog, but at the time we had an apartment so it just wasn’t suitable to have a big dog,” he said.

Hannah had always wanted a pug and it didn’t take Stanley too long to come around.

“He grew on me.  Pugs are just infectious, they’re companion dogs; if you leave them then they get upset.  They’re very friendly and loving.”

With their big eyes and wrinkly faces, pugs have become increasingly popular pets, which has left the breed in danger of illegal puppy farming.  As a converted pug-lover, Stanley wanted to devote him time to help protect pugs from falling victim to the puppy farm trade.

He started by volunteering his time to a charity called Pugs SOS on the Mornington Peninsula.

“There is a lady there who has started the organisation off her own back. She started it, funded the whole operation and rebuilt the kennels that are down there.  It was basically just a junk heap and she’s restored into a boarding kennel and created Pugs SOS,” he said.

“There’s a network of people around Australia now who call here when dogs appear for sale or if they hear a whisper of a puppy farm or a backyard breeder or something like that.  We try to intercept the dogs before they get to a breeder or a farmer so they can reproduce.”

He has seen first-hand the horrible conditions rescued dogs have endured from backyard breeders and is urging everyone to jump on board the cause.

“I think awareness is getting out there.  There seems to be a lot more put out there in the media and it’s becoming more publicly known about the things that go on.”

“A lot of people out there just breed them and breed them until the pug, or any female dog, can’t do it anymore and the breeders just leave them to die or in some cases, kill them.  They really don’t care about them at all.”

“A lot of it’s been kept under wraps because it’s obviously not nice information but there is a lot of YouTube videos that are very informative and show you a lot of what’s going on.”

Stanley has become a full-time foster carer for Pugs SOS, helping to re-home pooches that have been rescued.

He is urging anyone interested in helping the cause to consider adoption or foster care before buying a dog from a pet store and is encouraging everyone to dig deeper for those in need.

“Donating is also important.  Any funds that people are able to donate go a long way to helping charities like Pugs SOS.  If you think about spending the money you would on one cup of coffee in a week, that goes such a long way in terms of food for dogs, a blanket for a homeless person.  Whatever it be, there’s always some way you can get involved.”