Raising money for pugs


A dog-owner proudly shows off her pug. Photo credit: Miguel Orozco

Tails wagged and people gathered at Hooker Oak Park in Chico for another Pug Sunday.

With more than 15 pugs, puggles and chugs – chihuahua and pug mix – frolicking in one area, it was nearly impossible for people not to walk over and check out what was going on.

The group meets on the first Sunday of every month and has been since 2001, said Sandi Castellano, founder of Pug Sunday in Chico.

Students get a chance to pet the pugs. Photo credit: Miguel Orozco

The idea of having a Pug Sunday came from one she heard about in San Francisco, and she thought it would be a good fit here in Chico.

The monthly meets went well according to Castellano, but when a friend mentioned a nonprofit organization to help take care of pugs in need, she went for it.

In 2003, Pug Sunday in Chico became more than a day of the week and into an organization dedicated to the pug breed of dogs.

“Our mission is basically to educate people about pugs, about the breed,” Castellano said, “and to try to rescue as many as needed and find them suitable homes.”

Castellano and her clan of pug-lovers have helped rescue over 109 pugs and hold fundraisers and events to raise money for any medical needs the dogs might have.

“If it has a health issue, we take care of it before it gets adopted,” Castellano said.

A pug looks up to her owner. Photo credit: Miguel Orozco

A beer and wine tasting event is their biggest fundraiser, and they expect to have their next one this June at the Chico Women’s Club.

They also raise money by selling their annual pug calendars and T-shirts.

Castellano has had multiple pugs over the years, but she still remembers them all.

Jasmine, the name of her first pug, came at a rough time in her life when her children tried to cheer her up after her house was completely flooded. But after Jasmine came through the door, her love for pugs would only continue to grow.

Sandi Castellano shows off her tattoo dedicated to pugs. Photo credit: Miguel Orozco

“Once I had my first pug,” Castellano said, “I fell in love.”

She now owns five pugs: Buttons, 14 years old; Bose, 14 years old; Vinny, 7 years old; Taz, 8 years old; and Chloe, 9 years old.

On her left ankle sits a tattoo of her second pug that passed away, Percy. It is safe to say that the tattoo resembles a permanent mark all pugs have made on her life.


Michael Arias can be reached at [email protected] or @mikey_arias on Twitter.