DEL MAR — Blueberry facials, massages, gondola rides and a wet T-shirt contest were just some of the featured activities at the 19th annual Pug Party. The May 1 event at the Del Mar Fairgrounds was hosted by Pug Rescue of San Diego, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing neglected, abandoned and relinquished pugs.
The main goal was to raise awareness and funds for medical expenses for the unwanted animals. Suzi Schutzman, Pug Rescue vice president of medical and adoptions, said nine of 10 pugs that come into her organization need medical care.
Last year Pug Rescue took in a record 152 unwanted canines. So far this year the organization has accepted 75. Schutzman said she gets a lot of strays, but more than half of the dogs are relinquished for economic reasons.
“Animals are expendable,” she said. “People are asking themselves, ‘Do I feed the family or do I take care of the dog?’ It’s unfair, but it’s just the way it is.”
Pet owners and about 600 pugs were expected to attend this year’s event, which was themed Pugs Around the World. The fundraiser also included adoption opportunities, a variety of contests, nail grooming, pet photography, veterinarian checks, a cupcake chomp and raffle prizes.