Pug Rescue of Austin is an all-volunteer, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the rescue, healthcare and placement of abused, neglected and unwanted pugs.

We do not discriminate on the basis of health or age. Our mission is to provide a safe, caring and humane refuge for abandoned pugs and to ensure quality adoptive homes. We promote responsible pug ownership through a mandatory spay/neuter policy and public education about the unique needs of pugs.


Our Board Members

Hanna Cofer – President

Hanna Cofer became involved with Pug Rescue of Austin through the fostering program back in 2012. Shortly after meeting the team at PRA, she began coordinating events, making flyers, pushing social media, screening applicants, and many of the other hundreds of tasks that the volunteers who run the organization take on every day. After over 2.5 years and over 25 fosters, she joined the Board of Directors in December 2014 to continue and broaden her efforts within the organization. Hanna works in the non-profit world as a communications and events director a local environmental group and has been working in marketing on the side for over 10 years. She is a native Austinite and she and her pug Captain Murphy are regulars at Zilker Park and Barking Springs.

Pug Rescue of Austin President Hanna Cofer with her pug Captain Murphy

Bryan Wittman – Board Member

Bryan Wittman has been a member of the Board of Directors of Pug Rescue of Austin since September 2012 and also serves as its Secretary. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School and has been a practicing attorney for more than 20 years. Bryan has volunteered with animal welfare organizations since 1994, often providing pro bono legal services, and has been involved with Pug Rescue of Austin since 2009. Bryan has three senior pug ladies, Salli (14), Anna (12) and Rosie (10).

Bryan Wittman with his two children and three pugs

Jessica Haberer – Board Member

Jessica Haberer is an accomplished accountant and finance executive. Originally from West Virginia, she moved to Washington, DC after college, where she spent 11 years consulting for both For Profit and Non-Profit organizations. Prior to her current role as a consultant to the oil and gas industry, Jessica was the CFO for two well known national nonprofits head quartered in Washington, D.C. A committed animal welfare advocate, Jessica has successfully helped countless dogs find their forever homes in her volunteer roles for both Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and Mid Atlantic Pug Rescue. Currently, she is the foster mommy to PRA pug Doc, but she has three dogs who have made their furever home with Jessica and her family; Oliver, a miniature dachshund, Luna, an English Bulldog, and Baxter, her goofy, lovable pug.

With a passion for helping animals in need, a keen eye for managing the budgets and operations of nonprofits, and an unyielding sense of integrity, Jessica is proud and excited to help Pug Rescue of Austin achieve its mission, and help committed families find their newest, furry members!

Headshot of Jessica Haberer

Trina Eilers – Board Member

Trina Eilers joined the PRA board in 2016 but has been passionately serving as the rescue intake coordinator as well. “My husband Doug found our first pug out in Junction in 2005, and handed her to me when he deployed to Iraq in 2006. We named her Chi Chi and I was absolutely enchanted by her sassy personality. While Hubby was deployed, I started taking Chi Chi and Sarge, our German Shepherd, to Doggy Day Care, where I learned that while Chi Chi WAS special, pugs were pretty much all happy-go-lucky kind of dogs.

Hubby got home from Iraq in August 2007, and by December we had adopted Buster (fka Yogi) from PRA. I always wanted to foster, but waited until 2011 when we built our home on a small ranch in Bastrop County. I offered to be the “go to” person for anything that PRA needed out in the Bastrop area.  Next thing I knew, I was a “Rescue Coordinator” and I never looked back!  It’s incredibly fulfilling to be able to pull these babies from a shelter and provide the love and care that they are so obviously lacking. I love fostering and each pug takes a piece of my heart when they go, but it just leaves room for the next one to fill.

In addition to our fosters, we are parents to Buster; Sarge; Aggie, a 10-year old Aussie; and a barn cat named Ice Man. We also have one horse and board two more, a small herd of registered Polled Hereford Cattle, and a flock of chickens.

Headshot of Trina Eilers

Dave B. Norris – Board Member

Dave has been volunteering with Pug Rescue of Austin since 2013.  “I started by going to events and just taking pictures for the website. I now edit and update the website and lead the marketing department of Pug Rescue of Austin. I am honored to join the board with such amazing people.

My first pug from the rescue of Moses (pictured), adopting him in July 2013.  My brief attempt at fostering lead to foster failure with a 13-year-old pug named Bernie.”

Debbie Pruitt – Board Member

Debbie Pruitt joined the Board in May 2017. A native Texan with nearly 20 years of experience in the property and casualty insurance industry, she is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio). As a lifelong animal lover, she has owned many pets, including cats, dogs, rabbits, snakes and frogs. After bringing home her first two pugs in 2003 she quickly became a pug person and now can’t imagine life without pugs. She became involved with Pug Rescue of Austin in July 2016 as a foster, after losing one of her beloved senior pugs. It didn’t take long to ‘foster fail’ with her sweet boy, Nugget. Wanting to do more with PRA, she volunteered as an application screener and later began hosting adoption events in San Antonio. She currently serves as the foster/adoption prescreening coordinator and loves helping to connect pugs and people. She adopted her lovely girl Velvet from PRA in March 2017 and is trying hard to resist adopting more pugs!