York, PA –
Rose, an 8-year-old pug who lives on Woodbine Road in Peach bottom Township, was born to be a queen.
Ever since her owner, Lisa Kerner, dressed her in her first costume while still a young pup, the energetic black-eyed beauty has pranced and strutted like a high-fashion model on a Paris runway.
“She’s a fashion diva and I’m the dog pageant mom,” Kerner said.
Both are in their glory since learning on Aug. 27 that Rose earned top prize in the best-dressed dog category of an international competition sponsored by GUND, a company known for its plush gifts.
During the dog days of summer, GUND held its first Top Dog Photo Contest for which 1,305 entries vied to become the company’s next plush pooch.
Although Rose did not win the grand prize, she earned enough of the more than 50,000 votes cast via Facebook to give her a crown and the title of best-dressed canine in America. Kerner and Rose will receive a prize pack of GUND products totaling $250.
“This is the biggest contest she’s ever won. It gives her bragging rights. She’s a little celebrity,” Kerner said.
Rose is the only one of Kerner’s five pugs who loves the fashion limelight. The others will dress up now and then, more out of a desire to appease their owner than because they care about how they look. Rose, however, seems out of sorts if she’s not dressed for the day, Kerner said.
“I’ve been dressing her since she was 9 weeks old. She thinks clothes are natural,” she said.
So natural in fact that whenever Rose sees her dressing stool, she jumps on it, eager to don one of her 75 or so outfits, which Kerner accessorizes with shoes, purses, hats and jewelry. Rose also enjoys topping off each out fit with a stylish wig.
Kerner buys some clothes stitched specifically for dogs, but she usually takes outfits made for little kids and dolls and tailors them to fit Rose. Often, scrap material, junk jewelry and whatever she can find around the house serve best to style Rose, she said.
“The costumes are elaborate, but the cost is not,” she said.
Kerner acknowledges she is a little crazed when it comes to her pugs, especially dressing Rose.
“It’s a hobby, yes, you could say that, but probably it’s more like an obsession,” she laughed. “But it’s so much fun and we also use it to do good for other animals.”
Kerner last year started Pugs for Pinky, a nonprofit that helps sick pugs and their “people” with high medical costs. The foundation is named after one of Rose’s offspring, Pinky, who died last year after an illness.
The pair also have appeared in local and regional parades, and annually attend fundraising events for the Pug Rescue of new England in Spencer, Mass.
Kerner hopes that winning best-dressed in the GUND contest will help the pair do even more good for sick or injured pugs.
“I’ve always been proud of her but now I’m even more proud,” Kerner said. “She’s a beauty queen!”
— The grand prize winner in GUND’s Top Dog Photo Contest is Jonny Justice, a Staffordshire bull terrier who was rescued from Michael Vick’s illegal dog-fighting ring. The company will use Jonny’s likeness to create a plush version, available for sale at specialty gift and toy stores in 2013. for detail, visit www.GUND.com.
— Learn more about Lisa Kerner, her pug, Rose, and their efforts to help sick pugs at www.pugsforpinky.com. The Pugs for Pinky Foundation’s next fundraising event is 4 to 9 p.m. Sept. 9 at Pizza Hut in Forest Hill, Md.