By Mark Ambrogi
Mark Bailey is the epitome of a pug lover. When the retired Carmel resident’s beloved pug, Claude, died in January, he saw just how much of an impact his pup had in his life and others.
“My pug was a legend. My license plate said Claude, that’s how big he was to me,” said Bailey, 63. “I had over 4,500 Facebook friends (because of Claude). Most had pugs or were animal lovers. When he died, (they) sent me over $1,000, a hand-painted portrait of Claude and a granite bench. I donated every bit of the money to the Kentuckiana Pug Rescue.”
Bailey, who has two rescue cats, wants to get another pug in the future. In the meantime, Bailey, a member of the Kentuckiana Pug Rescue board, is helping to find homes for other pugs. The group’s 500 Festival of Pugs is set from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Lebanon. The cost is $5 per person and $15 for a family. All breeds are welcome to attend with their owners.
“It’s my favorite charity,” said Bailey, who also volunteers at Indiana University North in Carmel. “Every year I give them two sets of three Colts tickets.”
The event will include a banana eating contest, best dog trick, pug races and curliest tail. There will be raffles, including one for a 50-inch TV, and vendors.
“It’s just a blast, especially if you like pugs. There are so many cute pugs that come,” Bailey said. “It’s my pug fix.”
Bailey said the nonprofit spends $175,000 a year on medical expenses and finding pugs home. There are approximately 140 pugs in foster care. The organization takes any pugs from Indiana and Kentucky, regardless of age and temperament or medical condition. The pugs are spayed or neutered before placement and receive heartworm testing and routine vaccinations. Many are senior pugs.
“We just want to find a truly good home for them,” Bailey said. “We interview the people and make sure they feed them the right food and treat them right.”
For more information, visit kentuckianapugs.com.