What a Year

2020 has been a crazy year, amirite? So many of us went into January energized, ready to kick off a whole new decade with positivity and determination. Then, out of nowhere, Covid-19 came crashing down on the world and put a stop to civilization. It has impacted everyone; businesses large and small, families, non-profits…everyone. The losses have been staggering. I can probably take up 18 blog posts with a list of who suffered and how, but focusing on the Pug World brings it into sharper focus.

Crazy Cosmo – The MegaE Pup

With so many people taking hits as jobs cut their staff, people worked fewer hours and the economy crumbled, fund raising was practically unheard of. Veterinarians began having curbside appointments and, at best, only one family member was permitted inside at a time – particularly difficult when saying final goodbyes. Taking on the burden of adopting pugs became secondary to caring to sick loved ones. Beyond that, our own little community suffered so many Pug and Honorary Pug passings. The McIntyre Gumble lost Cosmo!, the Mega E pup, the day New York went into lockdown. A blessing in disguise, since he never would have been able to do curbside appointments. He was so wound up and attached to his mom, being dragged into the office without her would have given him a coronary. We hated to say goodbye, but the timing was as good as it could have been.

Other losses to the Pug Squad family included sweet Bella, Igor Pugdog, Stellie, Lulu, Finn, Nikki, Momma …good lord, the list goes on. It was a series of gut punches in a year of pummeling body blows.

Bella Girl

Pugapalooza, the annual event in Asbury Park, NJ, was cancelled, which was a huge disappointment to so many folks. It was crushing to lose the fundraising fun at the beach, the Pug Pink Promenade, and – of course – the rum buckets at Wonder Bar. However, in the middle of all this craziness, to our great relief, we were able to actually have Pug Camp at the end of August. We lost a third of our attendees and had to cancel two events, so we weren’t looking to break any fundraising records. We just wanted to finally have a fun get together and an escape from 2020.

Well, never say the Pug Rescue community isn’t generous. Pug Camp 2020 smashed the fundraising totals of previous years. Volunteers from other rescues stepped up to run some events to save them from cancellation. The auction was a major success with people bidding and bidding (and bidding!) on even the smallest items. We had the usual Olympics, the costume contest and even a Pug Wedding! The final amount raised for participating rescues and Pug Squad was $23,471.91! With this money, not only were the rescues in attendance funded, Pug Squad was back in a position where we are able to award grants for rescues and pugs in need!

After that, we partnered with One Hope wines and those fundraisers have been very successful (never underestimate the passion for wine – especially this year).  Virtual meetings and online charity efforts are the order of the day and, as usual, the rescue community has been tremendously generous. And the year isn’t over yet. We still have our virtual Holiday Party to look forward to.

I do want to pause for a moment and address the anxiety so many people have been dealing with. There are so many emotionally taxing events populating the year, from social to health to political. These are passionately held issues and emotions generally run high in times like these. How we react to the world and events unfolding around us is important. We should remember that we are all together on this giant blue spinning orb in space. Social Media has given millions of people a voice and a platform. The impersonal nature of words on a screen can cause many to forget the person on the other side. We react to these words with our own perceptions and preconceived notions. If you are feeling defensive, you will attach a tone to it which may not exist. On the other hand, often not being face to face with someone emboldens a person to the point of belligerence. What helps me react to an opposing viewpoint is to pretend I am face to face with them. Sometimes I just don’t rise to the bait. No matter what, it’s not worth a friendship to give a hasty and emotional response. It costs us nothing to be reasonable, polite and respectful. The world needs kindness now more than ever. This is a philosophy we on the board of Pug Squad live by. Honesty, respect and compassion. We survive adversity together because we love and respect one another. While I don’t expect everyone to love everyone else on the planet, respect should be assumed until you have reason otherwise. We’re all on edge. We are stronger as a unit. Let’s all remember that we have to face each other once the various crises have passed.

End of speech.

In closing, I can’t let this retrospective end without expressing the tremendous pride I feel toward my Squad. Every one of my friends has been hugely dedicated to raising money and helping Pugs and recues from one end of the country to the other. We wouldn’t be half the organization we are without our shared passion. I am very lucky to consider them friends, partners and family. Thank you Nadine, Jodi, Danielle, Marianne, Nikki, Renee, Jennifer and Shawna.

And thank all of YOU for being so generous and for all of your work and love.

With great appreciation,

Scott McIntyre – Pug Squad President