Imagine my surprise when I went to my mailbox one day and found the beautiful, hand-stamped invitation; I couldn't believe it. I had been invited to attend the prestigious “Pug Picnic. " What is that, you ask? Well, the Pug Picnic has been an annual ritual here in our rural town for several years now. It is an opportunity for pug owners from far and wide to get together for an afternoon of fun and pug pride.
I had only heard of this marvelous extravaganza, but knew I would never be invited. After all, I am a pug-free poodle lover. How could it be that I could be invited to this breed-specific event? Aren't pug people prejudiced against poodle people? Apparently not. This was quite an honor.
The darling invitations, which appropriately had pugs all over them, were a delight. They requested that guests bring a hot dish, a lawn chair, oh, and of course, a pug. Well, there I was. What could I do? No amount of fancy grooming could turn one of my white poodles into a pug. But, I really wanted to attend. Surely, the hostess must know of my predicament; I was determined to find a solution to this dilemma.
And so the day arrived of the hallowed event. And, perhaps I did seem a bit eager, as I was the very first one to arrive. Two lovely pugs were romping merrily in the front yard, acting as the canine welcome wagon. I arrived with my hot dish, my lawn chair, and an armful of Beggin’ Strips. I, of course, was prepared. What about the pug you ask? Well, I brought one along, of course.
I brought my new baby in a crate, with her soft pink blankie and favorite treats. Penelope was her name, and oh, was she a looker. Perfect pug proportions from head to toe, her coloring, perfect as well. The hostess and her friends were so pleased! They patted the top of the crate cooing sweet things in doggie talk to my new baby.
Then, they each took turns eagerly peering in the front of the crate at my new addition. Penelope, in all of her Beanie Baby glory, peered lifelessly back, letting my secret out to my new pug friends. But, they didn't seem to mind. They knew that I was trying my best to fit in. A poodle lover, in a pug predicament, what else could I do?
One by one, the pugs began to arrive. Their owners were so proud as they placed each pooch in with the pug posse in the fenced front yard. Snorting and sniffing, they ran laps around the yard, just as the human guests made laps around the buffet table.
What a grand time it was, listening to all of the attendants discuss their pugs and why they loved the breed so much. Tales of unique tricks and habits were told and compared, as the pugs pleaded for just one more treat. And pictures, too: family pictures and group pictures, even pictures of my Penelope!
A drawing was held, and then adorable treat bags, decorated by hand, were distributed for each of the pets present. Every last detail had been tended to.
Then, before I knew it, it was over. The pugs were packed away in the mini vans and picnic items parceled and picked up. It was finished, and Penelope and I had to head back home. I had a marvelous time, and am so thankful for being included.
Perhaps, next year, if I am very lucky, I will again receive a coveted invitation to the Pug Picnic. But what will I tell my pug friends when I know, even by then, Penelope will still not be crate trained?
COPYRIGHT 2008 Shannon Heggem
Shannon Heggem, aka “The Bloodhound" is a dynamic and inspiring pet expert, business consultant, and speaker who has motivated thousands to “sniff out" opportunity and take action!
. . Most little girls in fourth grade play with dolls or worry about boy germs. But not Shannon. She was busy operating a dog grooming business in her parents’ backyard!
Even at age nine Shannon recognized the power of marketing when she ordered a rubber stamp and “stamped" out her first business cards. This was just the beginning for this entrepreneur.
After college, Shannon returned to her Montana hometown where she opened one of the nation's first “luxury" pet resorts. Recognizing the growth potential for high-end services, Shannon established a consulting practice to help other pet care providers design and market this revolutionary concept.
At 29, Shannon didn't allow a nearly-fatal Rottweiler attack to slow down her momentum. Determined to overcome the misfortune, Shannon used her extensive recuperation time to focus her efforts on developing the first pet career vocational school in the Northwest.
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Shannon shares her business expertise and spirit of survivorship with extreme passion and dedication. It is this level of commitment that earned her the affectionate nickname, “The Bloodhound".
Shannon provides consultation to professionals, helping the overworked get focused and more productive. Within her firm, Bloodhound Marketing , Shannon helps business owners and professionals “sniff out" their unique qualities, and challenges them to develop strong, prosperous markets. Compelling others to embrace their uniqueness Shannon's specialty.
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