Hello! My name is Tracy and this is my story.
Welcome to Heartlandpugs.com located in Minnesota. I'm originally from Colorado and moved to Minnesota in May of 2020. I started breeding pugs about 20 years ago for the same reason you are on my website . . . the love of pugs!
My love for the pug breed was born a little over 22 years ago when I met a very special pug named Hank. At that time, I was a licensed psych technician working for a nonprofit group home for developmentally disabled adults. I was the community coordinator and my main duty was providing opportunities for developmentally disabled adults in my care to participate in activities in the community. A popular activity with my clients was attending classes provided by the local senior center. A favorite activity among my clients was a lifestyle class. This particular class had arranged a field trip to a home for Alzheimers patients where the students played games and did crafts with the residents. While I was there, I met one of their senior staff members, Hank. He was a 10-year-old fawn male pug and one of the most skilled therapists I had ever met. When I met Hank, I had never encountered a real pug and knew nothing about the breed. I watched in amazement as this little dog made his rounds. He would go from patient to patient wagging his curly pig tail and encouraging even the most inverted patients to pet him. He would snuggle up to each one and, for that moment, their eyes sparkled and I saw vacant looks replaced with recognition, love and joy! I felt like I was witnessing a miracle. I myself lost two grandmothers to Alzheimers so I know how hard it is to reach someone suffering with the disease. People who didn't even know their own names knew Hank's!
I went home that night completely in love with that little dog and announced to my husband I wanted a pug. Little did I know how hard that dream was going to be to achieve. I researched the pug breed and discovered all the amazing qualities of this wonderful little dog. After I started my search, it took me two years to find my pug. When I did find him, it was (unfortunately) from the worst source possible.
When I arrived at the so called "breeder's" home, there was a grumble of pugs. I saw seven pugs running loose but I could hear more somewhere else that were hidden from public view. The breeder was selling a six-month old black female pug. He originally wanted $1,000 but, after watching him twitch and noticing obvious addiction withdrawal symptoms he was going through, I began to doubt I should go through with the adoption. When I expressed my concerns about adopting from him, he lowered the adoption fee to $250, an offer I could not refuse as well as the desire to rescue this darling black pug that had already won my heart! The only male the breeder had on the property was the father of the female I was adopting. I knew that, at her age, she could have gone through a heat cycle but he guaranteed me she had not. Imagine my surprise when 8 weeks later I had my first litter of pug puppies!
All the puppies were beautiful and I fell in love instantly. A couple days after the puppies opened their eyes I noticed a little black male was developing a white film over both of his eyes. I immediately took him to the vet and found out, because of the inbreeding, he was born without tear ducts and his eye lashes were damaging his little eyes with every blink. His eyes had only been open a couple days and he was already partially blind. The veterinarian informed me that, without eye drops three times a day for the rest of his life, his eyes could develop ulcers and rupture. I decided that day I wanted to learn how to be a responsible pug breeder and I found a wonderful family that was dedicated to giving that little black pug his eye drops three times a day. They named him Pugsley and he lived a wonderfully long and happy life for 14 years with them. I wanted to share all the love and joy pugs give with the world. I wanted to bring happy and healthy pugs into a world I believe needs all the love and joy possible. Now, 20 years later, I am still breeding pugs and have provided many happy, healthy pug puppies to wonderful, loving families. I cannot imagine my life without these "clowns of the canine kingdom" that have brought me such joy and unconditional love.
On my journey, I have met amazing people and developed lifetime friends who share my passion and love for pugs. My goal now is the same as it was 20 years ago, to share one of God's true miracles with the world - the pug -and to be the best responsible pug breeder possible. It would be an honor and privilege if you allowed me and my pug family to be a part of your pug story.