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Pug for Prez

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Pup's campaign parody provides diversion; raises funds

She's going to "work like a dog for American jobs" and is "determined to lick rising healthcare costs."

Mildred officially entered the 2016 presidential race Tuesday with her Facebook campaign ad that has garnered thousands of hits, and as of Sunday, already raised $15,000 in campaign t-shirt sales. She also has a glammed-up website.

"Pug for President" is Mildred's catchy campaign slogan. She resides at the non-profit Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary in Mt. Juliet off Saundersville Ferry Road. She's one of at least 50 elderly dogs in the rescue operation. Mildred is of a not-quite-determined "mature" age but is a "pug you can trust" and a very dignified dog.

The one-eyed pup is one of Michael and Zina Goodins permanent residents at their home-based animal rescue they founded in 2012 for gently-used, elderly dogs not readily adopted.

Mildred's mock presidential campaign is their latest fundraiser they said is a way to give those on social media a fun break from the recently hyped-up election coverage, said Zina. Pug for president is a refreshing respite from Donald Trump, and if things keep traction for Mildred, she just might trump Trump as a mongrel mogul.

Pug for President pondered

The Goodins' idea for pug on the stump came from a friend when she saw a picture of Mildred on their regular website.

"She thought she looked dignified and randomly said, 'she should run for president,'" Zina said.

With fund raising a full-time endeavor for their sanctuary, the retired-former engineers ran with it. They made t-shirts, buttons and campaign signs, as well as a slick campaign commercial that features Mildred in all her glory, prancing on regal white stone steps with a red-white-and-blue kerchief and a professional voiceover that explains her platform.

In just 48 hours the organization raised $10,000, and they most likely will surpass their $15,000 in donations this week.

"All funds raised will support our mission to provide homes for elderly pets that are nearly or fully-unadoptable due to disability and/or old age. We want them to be able to enjoy the remainder of their senior years with a good quality of life," Zina explained.

Originally, the Mt. Juliet couple was involved with the Middle Tennessee Golden Rescue. They ended up with a ton of Golden Retrievers they adopted. They next opened their own sanctuary and now work very closely with the Mt. Juliet and other area shelters and give their own shelter to the older dogs that do not capture anyone's hearts.

They now have more than 120 active foster relationships with local families or single adults. They raise funds because those who provide a home for an elderly pet need not worry about medical costs. If they choose to foster a "forever home," versus a true adoption, the non profit will take care of the vet bills associated with fostering an older pet that just wants to be loved in the later years. They spend about $14,000 a month in associated costs.

On Oct. 16 they will have their annual Big Dog Art for Old Friends fundraiser in Nashville. Local and international artists decorate supplied statues, and those who wish to donate bid on them. There is online bidding now at

Meanwhile, Mildred is taking her campaign celebrity in stride and not letting the "top dog for president" status go to her head.

As far as her political party, let's just say she's running as an independent, in the Geezer Party.

To see Mildred's campaign video, go to Shirts are on sale at To learn about the sanctuary, visit Old Friend Senior Dog Sanctuary's website or Facebook page.

Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at

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