On a warm June afternoon, some 30 pugs (and their owners) from around the Baltimore area gathered at the St. Paul’s School Garden Pavilion for tea and “petit paws,” courtesy of animal lovers Amy and Chuck Newhall. In his role as host, Stanley, the Newhalls’ beloved coffee-colored and wrinkled 8-year-old pug, greeted each guest wearing a leash lined with red roses and ivy designed by Rennie of Simply Beautiful.
Two-legged guests chatted and dined on tea sandwiches and cookies, iced tea punch and chilled Perrier, while their canine counterparts munched on dog treats served in garden baskets and mingled at their own water bar. Painted with a pug in the center by faux artist David Shafto, a low circular table fitted with four stainless steel dog bowls provided the perfect pug hangout.
Guests could rest on dog beds scattered on the floor, or at round tables with pug-motif tablecloths topped with fresh flower arrangements.
“The Garden Pavilion was the perfect spot, with its high ceilings and tiled floor that stays cool. Pugs tend to get very overheated,” says Amy Newhall.
The inspiration for this canine confab came from a pug party that Newhall hosted two years ago at the Maryland Historical Society, in honor of an exhibit featuring gowns belonging to Wallis Warfield, the Duchess of Windsor. “She and the Duke were pug lovers and I thought, what better way to introduce the exhibit than to have a pug party,” explains Newhall.
To compile the guest list, Newhall and other organizers put the word out to area dog lovers and veterinarians. The Historical Society had only one stipulation before the event took place: the dogs needed a port-a-potty of sorts. In came David Thompson of Foxborough Nursery, who designed a topiary garden enclosed by a boxwood hedge and bordered by cobblestones, for discretionary use by the pug guests in the gallery where the party was held.
“Some of the dogs came dressed in tuxedos,” says Newhall. “The party was such a success that we decided to do another.”
At the end of the St. Paul’s event, each pup received a party favor, compliments of Pet Depot in Timonium: A dog bone and gift certificate for a free dog bath tied with a green ribbon.
“I would love to do a Halloween pug party,” says Newhall. “I’d want all the dogs in costumes, and Stanley would come dressed in his ‘Men In Black’ costume. I can’t wait to show that one off.”