Tag Archive | pugs

Answering the Call of Thunder

Ernie the PugLast night we had a thunderstorm which was part of the remaining weather system that spawned the tornado in Oklahoma. Even though the thunder and lightning was enough to make us jump out of bed and turn on the television to make sure there were no twisters in the neighborhood, I felt a little guilty about being worried about a regular occurrence in our area.

At any rate, we were fine and the good news is, it rained so I won’t have to water my newly planted blooms for a couple of days. Even better, the humidity cleared out, and this morning, we are blessed with a beautiful day.

The only disturbing fact about the storm was, Ernie — my pug for you new readers — decided he needed to scare away the loud, growling nuisance that was outside by barking. This dog is only 23 pounds, but he thinks he’s a bull mastiff. He stood up on Ken’s pillow, his fur standing up along his back, and gave the thunder his best effort. So now, we not only have the natural sounds coming from outside, we have a barking dog in our bed.

In his mind, Ernie thinks he needs to protect us at all times. Ernie barks at a lot of things. Like when there’s another dog on the television screen. Like cars going past our home. Who would figure that this little squirt would become so protective of us. The only problem is, if he gets a chance to sniff the intruder, he settles down and goes to sleep!

Giving Ernie his due, this little dog is the best doorbell a person could want. And that’s a good thing because our door bells bit the dust shortly after we moved into this house eleven years ago. Ernie alerts us whenever someone parks in front of our house, walks on our sidewalk and heaven forbid, comes up the ramp. You would swear the SWAT team was surrounding our house when the mailman comes up the ramp to drop the daily bills in our mailbox.

What I want to know is, how do we convince him that God is really not calling when it thunders outside?

Are Pugs Little People?

As we waiting for yet another snow storm, I’m looking forward to a quiet day in the house. Ernie’s in his favorite position, slapped up against my thigh, as my fingers race across the keyboard.  I hear his quiet snoring, and feel his warmth. This is how we work everyday. His closeness made me think about how I got hooked on pug dogs in the first place. Here’s my story.

My love affair with pugs started in my young twenties when I “rescued” a little pug from a mall pet store. I named him Crusher.

Kippi Playing

Crusher the Towel Bandit

I don’t think this 5 pound creature could have crushed a pea, but somehow the name fit him. Crusher was a puppy mill victim, and after I brought him home, he was constantly sick for the six or eight weeks. Our vet was so upset when Crusher died at 14 weeks, he sent his little body to Madison for an autopsy. It turned out Crusher had no air sacks in his lungs, so he suffered perpetual pneumonia. His death broke my heart but taught me a lesson. Never buy a dog at the mall or any other pet store.

I missed Crusher so much, I went on a hunt to find a good breeder to find another pug puppy. This time we bought Rocky from a couple who bred the dogs in their home, and you could truly see how much they loved their pugs.

Rocky in his Monogrammed Coat

Rocky in his Monogrammed Coat

Rocky was my second baby. (I never told him that. In his mind, he was my FIRST child.) He was so cute and playful; such a difference from Crusher. He was easy going and made friends with our retired neighbor. Dave and Rocky hung out together every afternoon until I came home from work.

When I had my first child four years later, like any older sibling, Rocky got his nose pinched — which is really funny because pugs don’t have very big noses.

When we brought Amy home from the hospital we put her car seat on the floor so Rocky could smell her and get acquainted. He looked at baby,and then up at me as if to say, “You’ve been gone all this time, and THIS is what you brought me?”

Needless to say, Rocky was very jealous. He pouted for a week. He refused to eat. He sat in the corner facing the wall. He didn’t come when I called him. He refused to sit with me–especially when I was holding Amy. He tried all the tricks he could think of to discourage me from paying attention to the baby.

I finally had a “Come to Jesus meeting” with him and told him in no uncertain terms that Amy was staying, and none of his bad dog antics were going to work. As if he understood the terms, he accepted her and took on the job of Amy’s protector.

Two years later, we brought home a new pug puppy. This time Amy was the owner. She named her puppy, Kippi.  Amy and Kippi bonded right away. She faithfully, fed, watered, trained, and played with her dog, and Kippi was faithfully hers.

Amy and Kippi Playing Super Heroes

Amy and Kippi Playing Super Heroes

I always got a kick out of how Kippi slipped into her bed after I had finished tucking Amy in when the dog was curled up on the rug.  When Amy would ride her two-wheeled bike down to her girlfriend’s home to play in the house, Kippi would wait on the porch until the girls were finished and then she would follow Amy home, running behind the bike. The neighbors still remember this scene of the little girl and her pug.

One of the saddest days in Amy’s life was when she had to give away her dog. She developed asthma at age eight. By then my Rocky boy had passed on, but having experienced his death, I knew how Amy was feeling. We visited Kippi at her new home once, but it was so hard on Amy and Kippi when we had to leave, Amy said she never wanted to go again. That was almost 30 years ago.

I didn’t have another dog until about eight years ago. My daughter Sarah bought Guido for me as a Christmas present. Again, this dog came from a couple who just loved the pug breed and raised the dogs in their home. I got to hold Guido when he was just two weeks old and the thrill of having a new baby in the house again was exciting.

Guido and Mom at two weeks old

Mom and Guido at two weeks old

Unfortunately, Guido was a handful. He was an alpha dog, and he thought he was the boss and didn’t have to listen to me. He needed a much stronger owner to control him, and one fateful day when he was outside, he broke his chain, ran across the street to his favorite park, and on the way home was hit by a car. Even though he was such a little stinker, my heart was broken.

Enter Ernie — a rare Silver Pug — about four months later. He was raised by a professional breeder. Sandy’s dogs were some of the most beautiful pugs I had ever seen, but like the other breeders I had known through the years, she brought the dogs in the house and had a genuine affection for them. Sandy wanted to keep Ernie and show him, but because one of his testicles didn’t drop, he had to be neutered and sold.

Lounging in the Sun

Ernie Lounging in the Sun

There were four puppies we could have chosen, but I’ve learned never to force a relationship with an animal. Let them pick you, so that’s what I did. Ken and I sat on the sofa, and Ernie was the one puppy who jumped up to say hello. After the third time he did this, we knew he was choosing us. A week later, we brought him home on New Year’s Eve afternoon in 2007.

Since then, our love for him has grown exponentially. He keeps a steady vigil all day, especially when I’m writing. He cuddles up to my back at night, and even checks on me when I travel down to the bathroom. When Ken is having a bad day, Ernie stays by his side. He’s an equal opportunity companion.

The Packer Gang on Game Day

The Packer Gang on Game Day

It’s almost a crime how much we love this dog. Some children should be so lucky. I’ve told Ernie he better live to be a ripe, old dude because he will be my last pug. After all, how can I replace perfection?  He’s a loyal pal who delights me everyday.

I’m so thankful Crusher made me fall in love him so many years ago. Pugs are just little children with four legs and a curly tail. How can you not love that?

Thoughts About Reincarnation

Ernie the PugMy brain works in mysterious ways. It always has questions that need answering. I wonder about strange things. I ask myself a lot of  “what ifs”. You know,  like: “What if the world was really flat, what would happen when you fell off?” “What would happen if money really grew on trees?” “What would the world be like if people immediately refused to fight?”

This morning I woke thinking about reincarnation. After all, how many times have you heard someone say, “The next time, I’m coming back as a (fill in the blank)”?” My Aunt Dorthy always said the next time she was coming back she would be a little bird, so he could poop on everybody who had been mean to her. Watch out bullies!

So, I wondered what it be like if I could come back in my next life  as a dog. And not just any dog, it would have to be a pug dog.  After all, I’ve never met a pug owner who doesn’t think their dog is the cutest, smartest and most loving companion on the planet.

Think about this. When I opened my eyes this morning, my faithful pal Ernie was snuggled up against my side, snoring in a deep slumber amongst a thick fleece blanket. When he realized I was awake, he rolled over for me to give him his morning tummy rub. Then he stretched, got up on his feet and snuggled in for some more petting.

Now I know for all of you who don’t have pets who sleep with you, this is probably gross, but for those of you who understand this pet-human connection, you’re probably saying, “Awwww.”

Ernie has a great life. The hardest thing he has to do is go outside in the cold or rain to do “his business.” The other humiliating thing he has to do is eat cold, dry dog food from a bowl that’s on the floor. But for the rest of his day, he has soft chairs to snooze on, he’s stroked a good share of the day, and he is loved as much as any grandchild. He travels with me when I go away for more than a few hours, and he makes me proud by being a perfect dog when I go to friends’ homes. (Except for the time when he initiated my friend Heidi’s new house with a lifted leg. Then he was a BAD DOG! and was publicly scolded.)

But all in all, Ernie’s got a great life. He doesn’t have to worry about any creature comforts. He doesn’t have to worry about where his next meal is coming from. He doesn’t have to deal with telemarketers or creditors when the phone rings. Everyone who knows him, loves him. He naps when he wants. He gets treats everyday, and all he has to do is be his cute little self.

Yeah, It’s settled. The next time I come back, I’ll be a chubby, bright-eyed, happy, pampered pug to be doted upon for the rest of my days.

What will you be in your next life?