TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Alex Shoemaker bathes Cocoa during Pug Fest 2013 at the East End Community Centre on Sunday. The theme this year was Pug Fest 2013 Goes to the Beach.
It was the kind of day for the beach, or at least a beach-theme party in Brandon on Sunday.
Tink, a pug, begs for some food while wearing a bathing suit during Pug Fest 2013 on Sunday at the East End Community Centre. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Close to 50 pugs dressed in flower leis, swimsuits, sailor suits and grass skirts spent their afternoon socializing and dipping in the wading pools at the East End Community Centre for Pug Fest 2013 Goes to the Beach.
"We were keeping positive that we would have a strong, hot summer day — just for one day," co-organizer Shelley Kokorudz said. "And we got it."
The sunshine came with a temperature that hit 30 C during the two-hour event, but the pups and their owners were able to cool down in the shade, sprinkler and pools.
Taking a break under the trees was Valerie Marcq, with her two pugs Holly and Buffy.
"I got pugged about three years before we got Buffy and can never get over it," Marcq said.
Socialization was the main reason she and her husband brought the five- and six-year-old dogs out to the event, dressing each of them in flower leis and grass skirts.
"It’s good for them to get out and meet their own kind," she said. "Holly is so nervous with bigger dogs and Buffy intimidates smaller dogs, so they really need to be with dogs their own size."
The second annual event was exclusively for pugs, but Kokorudz said any dog with a pug mix could attend.
After visiting a pug fest in British Columbia, Kokorudz and her fellow-pug owner friend Trudy Lumb, decided to have a similar event in Brandon last year.
"I wanted to see how many different pugs there were in Brandon and get to know them and their owners," Kokorudz said.
Because they had a positive reaction from last year’s event, they decided to do it again this year and plan to continue the event annually.
This year’s event was expected to match last year in numbers, with an estimated 150 people and 50 pugs.
Tracy Auger and her boyfriend, Michael Grossman, came in from Winnipeg for the weekend so their pug Taylor could participate.
"We got her from the shelter here five years ago, so we wanted to come say ‘hi’ and let her hang out," Auger said. "You don’t usually see this many pugs in one spot."
The couple got Taylor five years ago after seeing her picture on an Internet classifieds site.
"I saw her picture and had to have her," Grossman said. "She’s our baby."
After sitting in the wading pool for a while, Taylor got out to dry off and got back to making friends.
"She loves everybody," Auger said. "Pugs are very social."
Aside from socializing, dogs had the chance to try their luck in the agility playground, cool off at the water park and have their photo taken against a beach background.
Ask-a-vet advice from Brandon Hills Veterinary Clinic, a performance from Two Brown Dogs and a Boston Terrier Rescue group were also present.
The event was free with all proceeds from the photo booth and the raffle going toward the Brandon Humane Society and Funds for Furry Friends, with canteen funds going toward Moms Without Borders.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 19, 2013