A Pug’s Life

“My God, this is marvelous!” cried Robert Grayson, as a herd of snuffling, yapping pugs swirled around his ankles. “It’s like some sort of French farce!”

Grayson, who’s from L.A., was riding a bus pask Alta Plaza park one Sunday when he spied the gathering of about 40 pugs and their owners cavorting on a grassy hillside. He immediately did what any self-respecting pug person would do: he got off the bus and joined the fun.

Pug enthusiasts like Grayson are a little more obsessed than everyday dog lovers. Those who attend the monthly soiree in the park–known as Pug Sunday, held on the first Sunday of every month–come not only to let their furrow-faced darlings frolic amongst themselves, but also to trade pug-care advice (such as how to prevent excessive snoring), chat about their dogs’ websites, and snap hundreds of digital pictures. As one enthusiastic paparazzo crawled through the grass with a camcorder one day, Melinda LoSavio rolled her eyes. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s crazier,” she said, “pugs or their owners.”

Meanwhile, Elvis Fred, Daisy and Mugsy Sue yodeled and wagged their corkscrew tails; Francoise paraded her holiday neckwear (a jingle-bell wreath) in front of Prince Duncan; Kai stuck out his tongue and wheezed like a failing carburetor; and a renegade band of unruly pugs, led by a dog named Smudge, stampeded past–followed by a mob of fans.

“We have no idea who started this,” said regular Peyton Gaudiosi, cozy in a sweater embroidered with pug faces. “But pug people have a way of finding each other.”