By Katy Cable-The Weekly Runt
All eyes were on us! I felt like royalty as my dapper husband dressed in a Versace suit (that’s been collecting dust in the closet since our wedding) helped me out of the car. Outfitted in a vintage gown, jeweled high-heels, and a black and white faux fur and feather coat, we were quite out of the norm for a mid-afternoon spring day in the country.
And it just got better! The second our adorable black pug Olive, jumped out of the car, every bystander’s mouth dropped (and cellphone came out.) Olive was wearing a pearl necklace and show-stopping, pink glitter gigantic bow harness from the Christian Cowan couture collection for Moshiqa. This ensemble was made popular by celebrities like Lady Gaga and Paris Hilton. Our family was dressed to the 9’s,10’s and in this case, “roaring 20’s!”
For someone who has spent the better part of a year holed up at home in sweats and Pug PJ’s, I jumped (and barked) at the chance to attend a “live and in-person” Pug event!
My husband, feeling somewhat self conscious at all the attention asked, “are you SURE we’re supposed to dress up too and it’s not just the dogs?” Knowing our “pug peeps” and the year we’re stepping out of, I was certain they too would be going all out.
The occasion was Chai the Pug’s 5th “Great Gatsby” birthday celebration. When last year’s highly anticipated soirée fell victim to CoVid-19, an appropriately themed “roaring 20’s PAWTY” was on the calendar the minute the city moved into the red zone.
We walked into a dream that was well-worth the wait. And the commute! Chai is the “Pug-spiration” behind The Chai Coffee Co. A quaint cafe about two hours (make that four in traffic) from LA in the Historical District of Yucaipa. With emporiums, sweet shoppes and cherry blossom trees lining the charming street, one feels as though they stepped back to a simpler time. A time when everybody knew more about their neighbors than just their on-line profiles.
For this occasion, The Chai Coffee Co. had been transformed into a scene straight out of the Great Gatsby. Small jeweled lamps, beads, and Art Deco frames graced each table. Jazz music played. Several themed backdrops for InstaGram pics were set up. But the highlight was a large table featuring a jaw-dropping cake in the likeness of flapper pug, Chai.
To my husband’s relief, the place was packed with many of our beloved pug family, and everyone was impeccably outfitted for the occasion. And then there were the pugs! Imagine nearly 35 poshly dressed pups in tuxedos and bowlers, flapper gowns, sequins ball gowns, pearls and feathered headbands. Funny enough, the canines seemed to be enjoying the fancy dress festivities as much as the humans.
We quickly got the party in full swing with a game of musical chairs to the tune, “Who Let The Dog’s Out!” Pugs were held in the arms of their humans although several eliminated pugs chose to stay in the game and play follow-the-leader.
Guests were treated to Chai’s amazing coffee, beverage and food concoctions while the hosts deliberated on who would win the prize for “Best Dressed!”
The favorite game for the pugs was filling small bowls with whip cream and seeing who could devour it the fastest. My little Olive had to sit that one out. When it comes to food, her resource guarding issues can come out faster than you can say “woof!” and she often lives up to the name sake “bitch!”
The party was a FUN-draiser for The Pug Queen who rescues pugs. Many of the pugs in attendance were adopted from her. Recently she received an influx of Pugs rescued from the China meat trade and they needed costly medical attention. In addition to donations, a raffle was held with gift cards and must-have pug paraphernalia.
Then came the highly anticipated cutting of the cake. The Chai flapper-pug cake was a true work of art. This creation could’ve easily “taken-the-cake” as the winner of TV’s “Cake Wars.” While the guests serenaded the happy birthday song, Chai sat patiently in front of her cake. Her trademark tongue hanging perfectly out the side of her mouth. And so was ours!
Everyone gasped when the knife made the first cut. It seemed to beautiful to destroy. One taste and that thought went right out the window. The cake was every bit as delicious as it was impressive. It took the will power of a super hero not to eat myself into a diabetic coma.
The party cake, cookies, pup cakes and treats were the creation of Crystal, owner of Divine K-9 Treats. Not only is Crystal a talented baker but she’s also a Purple Heart Air Force Veteran and brain tumor survivor.
It melted my heart watching Chai and her friends decimate their cake. If ever there was a moment made for video, this was it! In fact, writing about this soirée is a bit like writing about your favorite song without listening to it.
Although my pug community did our best to stay connected over this past year, it didn’t come close to actually being together. I realized how much I’ve missed seeing friends and all the great things we do. Chai’s post-pandemic pug party was a perfect way to celebrate life getting back to normal after a very “ruff” year. Pugs and kisses on your 5th birthday Chai. Thank you for sharing your special day with us.