Honoring Newington volunteer Ronnie Chapman
It was only supposed to be one day. Then it turned into over 10 years!
Ronnie Chapman’s volunteer service with the Connecticut Humane Society started back in 2008. She’d joined a Day of Service at the Connecticut Humane Society through her former employer, Bank of America. Her work that fateful day involved cleaning and animal care. But once it was over, she knew she had to come back.
She went home with an application to become a regular member of the CHS volunteer team and hasn’t looked back. Today, Ronnie is a fixture at CHS’ Newington location, often seen with a cat snuggled in her arms.
She has a special affinity for the sick cats who are receiving medical treatment, and spending time with them in the isolation room is one of her favorite things to do. As a member of the Fur Squad, Ronnie also works with the kitties who are super shy or fearful, helping them overcome their “cattitude” toward people. Plus, she’s been known to feed stray cats while on vacation, and shares her home with three felines (shout-out to Joey, Quincy and Onyx), all CHS alum.
But don’t mistake Ronnie for a “cat person.” While her love of felines runs deep, Ronnie is a pug person through and through. Her pug love started with a friend’s adorable puppy over 15 years ago, which led Ronnie to Lily, a fawn-colored puppy who showered her with kisses. But one pug just wasn’t enough. When Ronnie saw a black pug who’d been surrendered to CHS, she knew she had to bring him home.
And that’s how Bogie went from the kennels of CHS to internet fame.
Ronnie opened an Instagram account in Bogie’s name and started posting photos of her beloved pooch in funny outfits—everything from bow ties, to bowler hats, to leather jackets and French berets. Bogie, being a pretty tolerant guy, didn’t seem to mind. His following has since grown to over 18,000 Instagram followers, he’s appeared in two calendars, he’s modeled for various pet products, and he was featured in three animated “Pugataur” shorts including one to promote pet adoption. Bogie received over 100 Christmas cards last year from his fandom. Ronnie confesses she’s an “animal kook” and that Bogie has a bigger wardrobe than most people.
But Bogie hasn’t let fame go to his head. He’s still a silly guy who loves his toys, and he hasn’t forgotten that he was once homeless and received loving care by the folks at CHS. To give back, he helped with a couple of donation drives at the J. Jill store when Ronnie worked there. Shoppers who visited the store when Bogie was on site could receive 25% off their purchase if they made a donation to CHS.
When Ronnie isn’t volunteering at CHS or dressing up Bogie, she’s administrating an online community for pug lovers, Grumble, Inc. She also enjoys going to the gym, doing yoga, and cooing at any pug she comes across.