TRACEY, IGOR (RIP) & ZOMBIE
Official Pugalug Ambassadors and
Top Fundraisers for Pugalug Pug Rescue!!
Click here to stay up-to-date on Tracey and Zombie's latest events!!
The greatest challenge for any charity is being able to raise the money needed to fulfill the mission. Pugalug exists to help pugs in need, and that often requires significant veterinary care. And that takes A LOT of funding!
Pugalug has no paid staff, and we rely on our dedicated volunteers who assist with everything from dog transport and events, our foster families that love and care for our rescue pugs during their transition, and of course, fundraising. That category is where Pugalug has found a guardian angel.
If you follow Pugalug on social media, then you will already be familiar with Tracey Silverthorn and her pug boys Igor and Zombie. Tracey is a force of nature who has been a devoted supporter and top fundraiser for Pugalug for over 10 years!
Tracey and her pugs have worked tirelessly over the years to host a range of fundraising events and initiatives that benefit Pugalug Pug Rescue. When COVID hit and live events were no longer possible, Tracey and her team of London, ON based volunteers figured out how to host a whole bunch of fun virtual pug fundraisers and hangouts.
Tracey and her boys have developed a fan-base of supporters from (literally) all over the world and these wonderful people have donated not only funds, but also an incredible array of prizes (including beautiful custom artwork), silent auction gifts and raffle items that are featured at many of Tracey's events.
This past year, Tracey and her husband Sean had to say goodbye to Igor Pugdog, the boy that started all of this magic. What did Igor and Zombie's loyal fans do? They stepped up and made donations to Pugalug in honour of Igor's memory.
Thanks to Tracey, Sean, Igor and Zombie, and the MANY wonderful volunteers and supporters who work with Tracey, Pugalug has been the incredibly grateful beneficiary of OVER $75,000 in direct donations from all of Tracey's hard work and the support of her crew of volunteers. The impact that Tracey's efforts have had can be witnessed in the dogs that Pugalug has been able to rescue and care for. It is no understatement when we say this:
Tracey - we could not do this work without your dedication, commitment and absolute passion.
Here are some fun facts about Tracey, her pugs and her fundraising work!
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Tracey and her husband Sean got their first pug about 14 years ago. His name was Fester, and very sadly he passed away just after his second birthday because of a spinal cord problem. This is when Tracey became aware of some of the notorious health issues that can affect the breed.
After losing Fester, Tracey wanted to donate to a pug rescue in his honour and learned about Pugalug. Tracey is based in London, ON and Pugalug was the closest pug rescue to her, located in Toronto.
Six months after losing Fester, Tracey and Sean adopted Igor.
In 2012, Tracey saw a casting call for a short film looking to cast a pug posted in a Pugalug newsletter. Igor was the top obedience pug in Canada at the time, and a St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog. He had all of the skills, the good looks, AND a very skilled handler (his mom!) to be a film star. They went to the casting, got the role and the rest, as they say, is history.
Igor’s movie career saw him starring with the legendary Gordon Pinsent, walking the red carpet at TIFF galas, trips to New York. Igor’s film star status took Tracey and Sean to many places they had never imagined going. And It all started with casting call in a Pugalug newsletter!
To her great credit, Tracey and her pugs have been giving back to the rescue ever since. (Igor and Tracey are also two of the stars in the CBC documentary Pugly).
THE ANNUAL CALENDAR
With Igor becoming a pug celebrity and gaining lots of fans, her family’s whole focus was to use his fame to help fund Pugalug Pug Rescue. Tracey was a retired graphic artist and put together Igor’s very first calendar herself and had it printed at a Staples. (She does not even have her own copy of that very first edition!). The first calendar was a big success and raised over $1,300 for Pugalug.
This year, Zombie had to fill the very big paws of his older brother starring in his very own calendar, Generation Z. Tracey said that when they got Zombie and he started appearing in their social media, their followers grew even more...little Zombie has his own charm that sucks people in! So she knew he would be a natural and that fans would love his 2021 calendar.
The calendars are a year-round project for Tracey, and she can’t even begin to think about how many hours goes into the production, never mind the messaging, emailing, packing, outsourcing and trips to the post office. Many times she has said to herself “no more, this is the last one” .... and every year she does another calendar.
There have been 8 editions of the calendar so far, and the 2021 Generation Z calendar SOLD OUT!! Tracey has already began work on the 2022 edition - keep an eye on our social media for the 2022 launch in September (and get yours quick...this one is sure to be another sell out edition!)
THE PUG PARTIES
With the calendar going strong, Tracey needed to find a venue to bring pug lovers together. She held her first pug party in her backyard for their immediate pug friends. That annual gathering flourished into 3 parties a year: the “Kids <3 Pugs Party, the “Pee Party” and the “Tail Gate Calendar Launch Party”.
When Covid hit this past year, Tracey did not miss a beat. Instead of an in person kissing booth for Valentine’s Day, she and Zombie hosted their “Virtual Kisses” campaign. She has hosted virtual parties on Zoom, sold gorgeous Igor Pugdog commemorative buttons, and Tracey and her boys have such wonderful fans that quite often they just make donations to the rescue in honour of Igor and Zombie!
IT TAKES A VILLAGE - THANK YOU TO TRACEY'S VOLUNTEERS IN LONDON!
At the start, Sean and Tracey did the parties in their backyard by themselves. But they quickly outgrew their yard and it became too much work to do alone. You know the old saying…”it takes a village…”.
Tracey's friends Jeff Abrams and Stephanie Concannon graciously opened up their beautiful backyard, their house (yes at times during the parties their house has been FULL of pugs) and their lives to Tracey and the work she does for Pugalug.
She's also recruited many other people as well. Jeff and Stephanie's son Ryan helps set up all of the party equipment. Tracey's besties Judy Beitz and Susie Fraser (who don’t even own dogs let alone pugs!) along with friends Tracey Cooper, Carolyn Phee and her great neighbour Susan Jensen round out her volunteer crew. And Tracey's newest volunteer, Mary Alice Harvey, takes care of calendar distribution in the Whitby area.
It takes all these people and more to make these parties a success!!
Tracey also has many talented friends that are always making glorious pug items for her auctions - Kristina Loewen, Mike Piggot, Christina Stoll to name a few. The donations, monetary or hand crafted items, come from Igor and Zombie fans from all over the world.
There are also many local businesses in London that have supported her right from the start. Minuteman Press printers always give her the best deal to help out the rescue. Global Pet Foods (Wonderland and Wellington Rd), A Village Tail, and Hyde Park Feed and Country Store have all been selling the calendars for Tracey since the start. Those retailers were later joined by A Handmade Tale and Petacular (Ridout St). And local dog treat company Bosco & Roxy’s supplies her with dog treats for all her pug party guests.
TRACEY ON PUGS
"As a pug Mom, I have been very blessed to have the pugs I have had. I have learned over the years JUST HOW SMART this breed is and that the world doesn’t give them the credit they deserve. These lil dogs are power houses! Fester took me into the therapy dog world, Igor took me into the acting world, and now Zombie has taken me into the agility and trick dog world. I encourage pug owners to explore the potential of their dog.
While having fun in a therapy dog visit or at the agility ring, Pugalug is always in the back of my mind. The social media photos and streams are done for two reasons: to give people a smile everyday and to engage more followers, hence more funds for the rescue. This breed stole my heart years ago and I will ALWAYS have a pug (or two) ".
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF PUGALUG, AND EVERY SINGLE PUG WHO HAS BEEN HELPED BY THIS TIRELESS WORK, WE THANK TRACEY, SEAN, IGOR, ZOMBIE AND ALL OF THE DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS WHO HAVE HELPED TRACEY, HELP PUGALUG!!