For reasons that escape me, I haven’t expressed much on this blog how obsessed I am with pugs. Let me catch you up to speed – I’m smitten with them.
I follow a multitude of celebrity pugs on social media, the most notable being of course Doug the Pug. I also have a Doug the Pug calendar by my desk at work that one of my best friends got me for my birthday, because hey — my people know me well!
It goes further than just social media though. Every time I see a pug on a walk, I either squeal, “OMGITSAPUG” or I will ask to pet it. There’s an older pug that I see around my office often (my office is near a bunch of apartments), and every time I rush over and ask his mom if I can scratch his snarfy face. Which he loves… because pugs love me and I love them and I want us to all be together.
My reason for loving pugs so much is 100% because of how much I miss BT. Of course I feel and speak about the loss of Tim more than the loss of his/our dog, but I ache for how much I miss that little dog. Even in the worst of her dementia, she would twist her body side to side and wiggle that tiny lump of a tail every time I bent down to greet her. Her attitude (and her farts) could fill up the entire room. Things are quieter, and a little less, without her.
Looking at pictures of Boston Terriers or seeing them on the streets still feels like a stab in the heart to me, but I don’t feel that way about Pugs. They’re still small, snorty and smushy faced little dogs but I don’t have any deep feelings of loss associated with them. So I write about pugs in my work outside this blog, watch videos of them on the internet and window shop on adoption pages for them. You know, totally normal behavior.
Then last week I had a pretty rough day. I got some unexpected news that a close family member fell seriously ill, and was on pins and needles all day waiting for updates. As I left my office, I told myself that I would just go to the gym, eat healthy leftovers for dinner and read a book until I fell asleep. That is until I turned the corner to my neighborhood and saw a small tan creature on the side of the road.
First I thought it was one of the feral cats in the neighborhood, but as I parked my car near it I realized it was way too fat to be a cat. Face down in the grass snorting away, I walked up to find a real life 100% in the flesh Pug.
“Hey little guy,” I said as it smushed its entire flat face into the earth to get a smell. He didn’t react as I walked closer, and I realized that the dog could barely hear anything. I tentatively reached out to pet its butt, not sure if I would scare him and get nipped at, but the pug turned his black face up to me and stared vaguely in my direction. He didn’t have a collar, and didn’t seem like he could hear or see all that much.
I pet the thick folds of his neck fur and scanned the neighborhood to see if anyone was around. Nobody was walking nearby calling for a dog, and the houses were all quiet with shut doors. So I scooped him the pug up and walked to my car.
After the short drive to my house, I first posted on Nextdoor about finding the dog and then put my new friend in the closed garage with a water bowl and dog bed while I tended to my own animals. Mr. Pug let me know that he was incredibly put out by the accommodations by barking non-stop in my garage. I sat with him on the floor for a minute to figure out my next step, which was taking him to the vet to get his chip scanned.
What I thought would be a simple exercise in calling the owners on his chip turned into a few hour series of tracking this little dog down. I knew his name was Murphy, but that’s about it. His chip was registered to DFW Pug Rescue, but they claimed to have no info on him. I chatted off and on with the intake coordinator at Austin Pug Rescue (who was SUPER helpful and nice by the way), and eventually she called the vet who used to work with their combined pug rescues and turns out that vet remembered the dog and was able to contact the owners.
While all of this worked out, I set the little guy up in my laundry room away from my wolf pack. He wasn’t super thrilled, but took a nap in BT’s old bed and didn’t bark. I went to dinner with my roommate, and as we turned back into the neighborhood I noticed an open gate to the backyard of a house right by where I found Murphy Puggy McPuggerson a few hours earlier.
“Think I should knock on their door and ask if they lost a pug?” I joked with my friend.
Turned out I should have, because about thirty minutes later the owner called me and said that was her house. By this time I began to realize how much pugs shed (the answer is about 100x more than Boston Terriers) and knew I had to return dear Murphy back to his people. So I scooped him up in my arms, and walked back to their house with his little scruffy breaths against my chest.
Of course they were delighted to get their beloved old pug back. The gate had somehow been opened/blew open, and since Murphy Puggy McPuggerson (I coined his new middle and last name, you’re welcome) is pretty much blind and deaf he just kind of wandered away.
“Thank you so much! He can’t really see or hear,” the owner said in her pajamas.
“Oh of course, I saw him on the road and didn’t want someone to hit him. I used to have an old Boston Terrier who was also deaf and blind, so I know how that goes.”
“Aw yeah, they’re great little guys.”
“Yeah. It’s funny,” I continued. “I’m COMPLETELY OBSESSED with pugs and when I was driving home from work I saw him on the road and thought, COOL THE UNIVERSE SENT ME A PUG!”
The owner looked at me strangely, and hugged Murphy a bit tighter away from me.
“Well thanks… goodnight!”
So that’s how I almost had an ancient pug, and also scared a perfectly nice couple into thinking I tried to kidnap their animal.