Hug a Pug at Central Bark - A Huge Success!
Thousands of Aucklanders hug pugs for NZ Pug Rescue fundraiserNZ Herald - 2 Sep, 2017 2:30pm
Auckland dog lovers have flocked to a Parnell doggy daycare today for the city's first Hug a Pug event.
About 2700 people have registered on Facebook to attend the fundraiser for the charity New Zealand Pug Rescue at Central Bark on St Georges Bay Rd and thousands more have responded as being "interested".
And our love for the adorable pooches was evident today, with hundreds of people queuing up outside the venue in the rain to seek a hug with a pug.
Pug owners were also eager to be involved by bringing their dogs along - 63 pugs have been confirmed - Storm Deuss, a member of the group of pug enthusiasts organising the event, said.
"Unfortunately we have had to turn pugs away as our main priority is our pugs' safety but we are hoping to hold another event so everyone can be involved."
Hug a Pug days have previously been held in Tauranga and Wellington this year raising thousands of dollars for the New Zealand Pug Rescue - Prime Minister Bill English even turned up to the event in the capital to draw the raffle winner.
Deuss said the success of the Wellington fundraiser inspired her and her pug group to host one Auckland.
For a gold coin donation people could hug as many of the pugs - including Deuss' 2-year-old 'fur baby' Barry and his friend Hugo, who belongs to fellow organiser Maegan Fromont - as they wanted.
She told the Weekend Herald she loved pugs because they were loyal and were always doing the funniest things.
The breed has become a sensation on social media in the last few years (both Barry and Hugo have their own Instagram accounts - @Barry_the_Pug and @cottontailsstore) and Fromont said people loved them because of their big personalities.
However, their popularity had a downside with back yard breeding and puppy farming increasing to meet demand.
"Pugs [are] being purchased on impulse by people who were not fully aware of what pug ownership can involve, or the potential costly health issues," Fromont said.
She recommend anyone wanting to get a pug did their homework first, that included only buying from a reputable breeder.
Deuss said the group wanted to support the New Zealand Pug Rescue because it was the only organisationn the country dedicated to rescuing and rehoming pugs of any age, including those with health issues.
"Those that are unable to find homes because of their age or health, get to live out their lives spoiled rotten in the one of the charity members' homes."
They aimed to raise $5000 through a Hug a Pug to help the rescue organisation pay for vet fees and rehoming costs.
"We are hoping to get everyone through to hug all the pugs on the day but we need to make sure that we don't tire our pugs out," Fromont said.
Attendees would also be able to buy raffle tickets and T-shirts during the event, which will run from 11am to 1.30pm.
Cotton Tails Store would also be there selling hand-made dog products. It would donate a percentage of the profits to New Zealand Pug Rescue.