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.


Meet Our Board Members

Dave B. Norris – President

“This rescue has the best volunteers and a razor-sharp focus on our mission statement: no pug left behind. Some of the rescues we complete as a village are nearly unbelievable, yet we do it month after month.

I began volunteering with the Rescue in 2013, starting as an event photographer.  Years later, after I took management of all online adoptable listings, I joined the board and became the Marketing Director.  And I am now honored to be President.

I have adopted four senior pugs from PRA, each of them having a huge, positive impact on my life.  Our pugs, volunteers and donors are, simply put, wonderful.”

Debbie Pruitt – Vice President and Foster Coordinator

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!

Hanna Cofer – Fundraising and Program Director

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 – Director, Secretary, and Contract Coordinator

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

Charleen Fox – Screening Coordinator

Charleen joined the board in June 2018. Originally a cat person from California, she moved to Austin in 2005 and met her pug soulmate in Annie the Pug! She first began volunteering with her daughter at PRA adoption events in 2013. That led to a rewarding fostering experience and a larger role with the PRA conducting home checks and screenings. In 2017 she became the screening coordinator.

Her dedication to fair and comprehensive screening to make sure our pugs land in great homes has been vital to the Pug Rescue of Austin. A graduate of Syracuse University, Charleen has worked many years in elementary education for Leander ISD.

Helen Lynn – Event Strategy & Logistics

Helen joined the board in 2019 as the Director of Event Strategy and Logistics. She holds a Master’s degree in Operations Management from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland and works as a manager in Supply Chain for a local semiconductor company.
Helen married into a pug family (her in-laws have rescued over a dozen pugs over their lifetimes). In 2011, she “liked” the rescue on Facebook as a way of exciting her husband about their move to Austin. She quickly became involved as foster, adopter, event volunteer, and finally event coordinator for the team. Her three dogs, Minnie (pictured), Franny, and Bruno are all PRA alumni and much loved members of the family.
She cannot imagine her life without her goofy, loving, puggy companions!  Her aim is to spread the pug-love by connecting pugs and pug mixes in need with their future “forever” families.

Piuctured, Helen’s family.  *bio coming soon.