IF YOU GO
• What: Pug Walk and Picnic
• When: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday
• Where: Pinckneyville Park, 4758 S. Old Peachtree Road, Norcross
• Cost: $35 per person, all dogs free
• For more information: Visit www.rescuepug.com
NORCROSS -- On Saturday, Pinckneyville Park will be taken over by furry, four-legged companions for the annual Pug Walk and Picnic benefitting Southeast Pug Rescue and Adoption -- and all canines are invited to join the party, not just the flat-faced pugs.
"Our biggest fundraiser is PugFest in the fall," event organizer Tori Mills said. "But we host other events, like this one, to raise additional money, but most importantly, to spread awareness of our organization and cause."
SEPRA is a nonprofit based out of Suwanee that helps pugs and pug mixes in need by providing foster homes and an adoption agency.
With the money, the organization can rescue more dogs, take care of their veterinarian bills and foster them until they've found a permanent place to live.
"We average about 70 dogs in foster care at all times," Mills said. "It sounds like a lot because our coverage spreads from Missouri to Louisiana to North Carolina all the way down to Florida. We've already saved eight dogs from kill shelters this year."
As the nonprofit grows each year, so do the demands for donations. That's why the group throws events for pugs and their proud parents.
The walk is 2-miles in the park and ends with a complimentary cookout with grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burger and dogs with various toppings and condiments, plus drinks. All those who participate will also receive a T-shirt to remember the event.
For those who don't own a dog or are interested in adopting a pug, there will be an area with 10 to 20 pugs waiting to meet new people. If -- and when -- you fall in love with one, someone from SEPRA will help you proceed with taking the pug home in the future. They will not adopt dogs out on the day of the event.
"We are constantly taking in pug and pug mixes and this year we've seen a ton of pug mixes," Mills said. "The mixes aren't as desirable but they have the pug personality. We do everything we can for these guys to give them a new quality of life and home."
All dogs that are current with their rabies vaccinations are allowed in the event, but all must be leased. SEPRA asks owners to bring water, water bowls and waste disposal bags for their pups.
Register at www.rescuepug.com.