This time of year, it's good to be as snug as a pug in a rug. Chelsea, Winston and China know what we're talking about.
The trio of pugs belong to Concord resident Robyn Guarino, an attorney by day, doggie coat seamstress by night.
About two years ago, Robyn became frustrated by the dog outerwear she found in stores. It was either too cheaply made or didn't quite fit her pups right.
"Pugs are very difficult dogs to fit because of their broad shoulders and small tooshies," she said.
Robyn took matters into her own hands and designed coats for her little ones. Equipped with double layers of fleece, flip-up collars to block the wind and coverage on her dogs' bellies, backs and front legs - Robyn's coats kept her pugs toasty warm during their walks at the conservation center.
It didn't take long for her pug-loving pals to want coats for their pups, too. "If you're a pug lover, it's kind of a cult," laughed Guarino. And so, one Christmas, Robyn pumped out about 10 fleeces for the entire pug gang. When a friend suggested that Robyn sell her creation, Cozy Pug was born.
Robyn sells her outerwear at cozypug.com and at pug socials. In fact, she's gearing up for one gathering that's near and dear to her heart - the Green Mountain Pug Rescue's annual social. Robyn and her husband Steve got all three of their pugs from the Vermont rescue. The Sept. 25 social in Stowe, Vt., is the organization's primary fundraiser.
To prepare for it, Robyn has sewn enough coats to fill several bins. Patterns vary from Red Sox logos to leopard print and sizes range from small to large.
It's only for the socials that Robyn preps in this way - web and phone purchases are made to order.
"The first thing I do is ask what the pug's weight is; that's usually a pretty good indicator of the size," she said. Guarino has also made extra small and extra large coats to guarantee that all her doggy clients are comfy and cozy. Her fleeces have even been known to fit Dachshunds.
"We haven't gotten one sent back to us yet with the complaint that it doesn't fit right," she said.
Cozy Pug coats cost $60 online including shipping. At pug socials, the outerwear goes for $55. "It's important to me that if I charge that much, it's going to last," Robyn said.
And what do Chelsea, Winston and China think about their fancy frocks?
"They love them!" Guarino said. "They have come to associate that a coat means that it's time for a walk."
Sure enough, during our visit with Guarino we watched Winston practically dress himself, lifting his paws into the sleeves. Chelsea didn't want to take hers off when it came time to go inside. But she's the diva of the bunch, Guarino said, so that's to be expected.
For more information about Cozy Pug, visit cozypug.com.