Bright lights, dozens of people, and a dog that must concentrate only one thing: her owner’s commands. For Miss Pickles the Pug, this is not a moment in the show ring. This is her chance to shine as a canine actress premiering on one of the biggest single-day sports events in the world: The Super Bowl.
Success as a “Foster Fail”
It all started when Margaret Skorka, now 30, and her boyfriend decided to foster Pugs. Skorka says she has always been obsessed with Pugs but first fell in love with them because of their faces and expression.
“Even on a bad day a pug can make can make me smile,” Skorka says. “They are such strong-willed dogs but are also simply hilarious; the clowns of the dog world.”
Miss Pickles was Skorka’s second foster pug but first “foster fail.” When the Pug was put in their care in early 2017, the couple quickly realized she had been abused and neglected. The dog was 10 pounds overweight and had not seen a vet in six years. She had infections in her folds and ears, rotting teeth, and a harness so tight her skin was red and raw.
Even people and situations would scare their foster dog. But Skorka knew she had to help and quickly decided to rescue Miss Pickles permanently.
Preparing for Fame
In July 2017, Skorka decided to make Miss Pickles an Instagram account. But her life wasn’t all glamour. In 2018, Miss Pickles was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor. However, the strong-willed Pug beat cancer too. With more than 13,000 followers, the 7-year-old cancer survivor was still just getting started in stardom.
Later that year, Skorka received a text from a friend about a casting call in search of a fawn Pug who could wear clothes and hats and bark on cue. Knowing Miss Pickles could do all of those, she decided to apply. She sent over videos of her dog doing all the required tasks. The next day, they received a message letting know they got the part.
“The animal trainer sent over instructions how to prepare Miss Pickles for her role,” Skorka says. “Luckily with all of Miss Pickles’ Instagram modeling, she was able to do what was required already.”
On the day of the shoot, Skorka found out when the commercial they were filming would actually air: The Superbowl. Skorka admits she was a little nervous. There were more than 40 people there, half a dozen dogs, and lots of distractions that could keep Miss Pickles from focusing. But, Skorka says, Miss Pickles rocked it.
Despite the excitement, Skorka and her boyfriend couldn’t spread their news just yet. They signed a non-disclosure agreement to keep the commercial a secret for two months.
“Truly this was very hard for us as we were far too excited and wanted to tell the world,” Skorka says.
Pure Pug Bliss
The wait was worth it. After telling their Instagram community the news, friends and fans erupted in excitement and reposted Miss Pickles’ segments.
“It was such an unreal feeling that [Miss Pickles] made it to a Super Bowl commercial and was going to be aired to millions of people,” Skorka says.
There were still even more surprises in store. It wasn’t until the commercial aired that Skorka realized the producers chose the name “Charles.” But it fit!
Looking back, Skorka says Miss Pickles is a completely different dog now than she was two years ago when she was overweight, scared, and unhappy.
Today, Miss Pickles the Pug is enrolled in a movie animal behavior workshop. Skorka says she hopes more commercials are in her dog’s future. But for now, she shares her Pug’s story on Instagram and hopes more young people chose to own or rescue dogs.
Join Miss Pickles
Are you interested in rescuing a purebred dog? The AKC Rescue Network can help you find the perfect dog and includes rescues for almost every dog breed, including over a dozen Pug rescues.
Think your dog has what it takes to be Dog Star of the Month? Use the hashtag #ThisIsAKC on Instagram.