Andrew is a 14-year-old boy with autism, and his favorite thing in the entire world is pugs. When he was little, Andrew didn’t have a lot of friends, and so he created a cast of imaginary friends to hang out with — who, for some reason, all happened to be pugs.
Andrew’s family has always lived in places where dogs aren’t allowed, and so he’s never been able to have a pug of his own. His obsession has stayed strong throughout the years, though, and he owns a ton of pug-themed things, including backpacks, T-shirts, a wallet and keychains. As Andrew’s 14th birthday approached, his sister wanted to do something special for him, and soon came up with the idea for a pug-themed party.
“I was speaking to a neighbor a few weeks ago and the subject came up about my brother always getting excited when he bumps into her while she is walking her dog Ziggy,” McKenna Little, Andrew’s sister, told The Dodo. “At the time, I was thinking about what I should do for his birthday since it was two weeks away, and I thought, ‘I’m going to have a pug party!’ I was just planning on seeing if one of my friends had one and could show up to a little BBQ that my mom and I were going to have at the park on the day of his birthday.”
Little decided to make a Facebook post asking her friends if anyone had a pug they could bring to Andrew’s party to surprise him. She desperately wanted to make this birthday special for her brother, especially because he’d never had a birthday party before.
“He has always been too scared to have one in fear of nobody showing up,” Little said. “He’s a very sentimental person and it would break his heart.”
Little’s friends began to share her post, in hopes of finding someone who had a pug who would be able to attend Andrew’s party. Three days before his birthday, no one with a pug had RSVP’d yet — and then something amazing happened.
Pug Nation Rescue of Los Angeles heard about Andrew’s party and wanted to help. The group shared the party event on its Facebook page, hoping that some of its followers would be able to attend. Within a few hours, over 50 people and their pugs had RSVP’d for Andrew’s special day.
“I was in such shock,” Little said. “I was at work sitting at my desk and tears were just flowing down my face because I was amazed by the amount of compassion these pug owners shared. People from all over the world were asking me for my mailing information to mail him gifts and birthday cards as well as his email to send him a happy birthday message. It was so heartwarming.”