Gena Austin

The pugs of Northern California lost a guardian angel today.

On Tuesday July 19th, 2011 former PROS President and Board Member Gena Austin died peacefully in her home with her husband by her side.  

Gena retired for health reasons from her daily rescue responsibilities in May after seven years of dedicated service as PROS President.  During Gena’s tenure, PROS became one of the largest Pug Rescues in California.  Gena’s unwavering dedication to the cause of pug health and happiness and the many personal sacrifices she had made, were the foundation for the success of our rescue program.

Gena’s smile, understanding and determination have been an inspiration to all of us who are working to make life better for the pugs in our care.  She spent countless hours and drove thousands of miles for pugs in need.  If there was a way to help a pug she would find a way to do it.  She was a rock of support for all of us volunteers when our foster pugs got sick and we needed medical advice, behavior advice or even if they just kept chewing up our shoes and were driving us nuts.  We know she touched many lives and her pug experience was valued by many around the country.

Gena Austin

Gena we miss you very much.  We hope all your pugs are greeting you at the Rainbow Bridge.  Thank you for inspiring and guiding us.  You will forever be in our hearts and we will do our best to continue your legacy.

PROS Pug Rescue was Gena’s passion, to donate in her honor, please click below.  Thank you Anne Wilson, Joe & Patricia Danna, Kayla Danna, Anne & Jack Fallin, Linda Parena, Susan & Tom Wollwert, Nadine McAfee & Bruce Moore, John & Laura Kilcorse, Jan & John Grover, Ellen Fritz, Katherine Randolph, Todd Kalk, Linda & Joel Goldman, Winnie Tsou, Tom Bauer & Nilo Ventura, Craig & Sheryl Bacharach, Delmar Orrell, Brooke Castro, Mary Bova, Kathy Bok & Bob Pickel, Rex Winchester & Tony Tiu, Virginia Tiu, Michael & Sandy Canova, Julia Sheller, Suzy Phillips, Dr. Susan West, and Gena’s fellow employees at Kaiser Permanente.


  1. Gena was one of the most amazing women I have ever met. Loving, giving, generous …. Just to name a few of her special qualities.
    I will miss you Gena ♥
    Jill Strunk

    I was lucky enough to not only work with her through PROS, but to call her a friend. There wasn’t anyone more committed to saving pugs. Our loss is heaven’s gain.
    Laurie Buckley Kirkpatrick

    My heart is broken.
    Louise Shaneyfelt

    Gena was the first person I met from PROS. Her enthusiasm was instantly infectious. Though irreplaceable, I’m sure Gena’s spirit will live on through all the wonderful PROS volunteers. Pug hugs to all her friends and family….Jennifer Price Voorhees

    I’m shocked and saddened. I did not know she was losing the battle with her illness. What a brave and stalwart lady she was, and so dedicated to pugs…and much too young to leave. Just think of all the pugs who are dancing around her with welcoming snorts and snuffles. Many blessings, Gena – and thank you for all you have done. Tonya Kraft

    Thank you, Gena, I will be forever grateful to you for the pugs who came into my live as a result of the work you did.
    Tamara Watson

    Gena was one of the most selfless animal advocates I have ever known and she is free to roam with all of God’s creatures ♥
    Cheryl Miller-Haupt

    I am so sad and can not even express the loss. She was an amazing woman. She did so much for the Pugs. God bless her and she rest in peace. Gena, we will miss you. Life is so unpredictable. She might be at the rainbow bridge. Nazzi Shishido

    A very special woman. The world has lost a true friend. Prayers are with the family and all members of PROS.
    Denise Panzich

    I am so saddened. I never had the opportunity to meet Gena personally, but I was well aware of her utmost dedication to and hard work on behalf of pugs. We exchanged an e-mail now and then, and whenever I made a monetary donation, she always responded with a ‘thank you’. My sympathy goes out to her family and to all her friends at PugPros. Susan Vander Burght

    I choose to envision my old pugs Gus, Tank, and Milo (all rescued through Gina) surrounding her and happily giving her loving Pug kisses.
    Carol Sue Cain

    A wonderful woman. Rest in peace.
    Eden Foutz

  2. I’m heart broken. Gena was truely a wonderful soul. She was always available to answer questions any time of the day or night.I got to see Gena and Jan a few weeks ago for lunch.
    I could not of volunteered for PROS without her help.
    Sincerly, Linda Bodwin

  3. My husband and I are so very sad to hear about Gena’s death. She was a remarkable, dedicated person who I admired and respected. She left a bright mark and will not be forgotten.
    Laura and Bill Kilcorse

  4. The pugs were not the only ones to lose a guardian angel; we all lost one. Gena was a source of inspiration and strength for all of us involved in pug rescue. She rescued our baby Wally, saving his life that very cold Christmas week in 2007, and brought him into our lives. He became the heart and soul of our family. She was also there to help us deal with his tragic death last year. She had amazing strength and a wonderful sense of compassion that she shared with each and every one of us. I am sure the pugs she saved number in the hundreds if not thousands and the lives of humans that were made whole as a result are exponentially higher. Nilo and I are so grateful to her for all she did to make our lives better. We have added Mozart and Peggy Sue to our home this past year. Gena was always available to give us advice on the many issues of the day that came up having three pugs running around the house. I will miss having her there for us and for our babies. It is such a loss for everyone. Our deepest condolences go out to Richard and her family. I know how heartbroken they must be.

    I am so happy that Gena was able to join us for our annual Christams party last year. She was all dressed up and ready to party! She was able to see Mozart and Peggy Sue in their forever home and she added such a bright light to our party. It is one of the memories of Gena I will cherish most.

    I know that Gena is reuinted with all the pugs she helped save. I know she is with my Wally too. Rest in peace Gena…until we meet you again over the bridge.

    Love, Tom, Nilo, Niko, Mozart and Peggy Sue

  5. I only spoke to Gena a couple of times… very recently, and a while back when one of my pugs went on an adventure and was found. She was such a sweetheart– and will be missed. God bless her for the work she did on behalf of pugs. May she rest in peace, and may her family be at peace.
    Keven & Bob (Birdwell)

  6. I was so shocked and saddened to open up my email this morning. My tears fall as I look down at my Tink (our 3rd pug through PugPros) and know all the love that is invested in these sweet babies before they are adopted. For all the time, money and sacrifice she made I will be forever thankful. I, too, prayed and hoped our sweet Gena was healing. It’s been a long journey for her. But you know Gena had a soul that mirrored that of the pugs and all dogs we know in our lives — she never complained, she held our hand or patiently listened to us during the last days of our pugs’ lives. She never judged; she just encouraged. Gena made you feel good about yourself even when you thought you should be doing more. Thank you Gena for sharing your life with us humans but mostly for all the pugs you saved through love, shelter, medical needs and working tirelessly to find forever homes for them. You will be forever in our hearts. God Bless You, Kim and Craig Buckhout (please give Wormie and Lucy a hug for us when you see them)

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