Monday, July 25, 2011

Okay, I asked for it.

We have dogs.  Two Pugs, to be exact.  A Pug is so dignified and awesome, that we really don't ever refer to them as "dogs".  It's almost offensive to use the "D" word in this house.  Language counts here so it's:  "Fed The Pugs lately?"  "Any Pug need to go outside?"  "PUGS!!!!  Come back here!"  "Pug, why are you so awesome, as to sleep 20 (or more) hours out of 24?!?"  "Girl Pug, if you were any cuter I'd eat you up with a spoon!"

Dixon and Zelda are 8.  Dixon is the handsome lump of black, Zelda is the cutest thing alive (counting my very own baby) and is the fawn on the right.  They seriously do THAT....All.  Day.  Long.  Only exceptions: when food is being prepared or consumed by humans (oh how they LOVE Cam then!); they HAVE to pee/poo or will explode THIS MINUTE (procrastinators have nothing on Pugs); or Mama is running the scary noise maker that will kill us all (vaccuum). 

Truth is I hated all small dogs.  One, because, well, the obvious: small.  Small, in my experience, equals yappy and snappish.  So small and yappy?  With a willingness to bite?  Fuck that.  Two, because a dog should be rough and tumble.  Like a good Retriever.  THAT'S a dog!

Then I met two Pugs.  And fell madly in love with those lovable little goofs.  Snorty, chunky, playful, curious....Pugs.  They belonged to my Division Officer and his family (my time in the Navy), so I got to know those little guys very well, and found out that Pugs aren't like small dogs....they don't yap.  They don't try to extricate the meat from your ankles.  They LOVE people, not just the humans who feed them.  Friendly, out-going, playful, tough, and cute with the bug-eyes and smooshed face.  Still the only small "dog" I like.

Seeing as how y'all probably can count, you might wonder who that third Pug is.  That is Murphy.  Once upon a time, Rob and I were foster parents.  Foster parents to wayward, cast-off, abandoned Pugs.  We fostered 20 Pugs in about 18 months, all went to loving homes.  The organization I volunteered for is fantastic.  They do their due diligence in making sure that Pugs that find their way to us go to appropriate homes, where there will be a forever connection.  Can you imagine being an animal that has been given away (or worse), go to a new home, only to be cast out again?  Right.  So if you ever come into contact with what you think is an over-zealous rescue group, we are that way for very good reason.

Anyway, back to Murphy.  Murph was our last foster.  Number 20.  He came our way right before Christmas in 2009.  I had to travel out of our county to pick him up at a shelter.  Immediately I was struck by his "perfect" Pug face.  He is a handsome, handsome Pug.  Perfect black-mask, wrinkles galore.  And save any comments you think may be funny "A face only a mother could love!" or "looks like it ran into the back of a truck!"...because I have heard them all and really?  They make me want to slap the ever-living shit out of the ignorant mouth who dares to speak it to me.  For reals.

Murphy's looks were exactly what people who love Pugs look for.  In my mind I was already seeing he would be snatched up FAST.  Then they opened the door, and the saddest, most pathetic thing happened.  This little Pug flattened himself to the floor.  I mean, if he could have melted into the floor he would have.  (We would later find out his leg bones are extremely fucked up from either living in a space he couldn't stand up in or from being scared shitless so often they didn't grow right.)  His little tail was wagging furiously, but it was missing over half it's fur.  And it wasn't at all curly like a Pug tail is supposed to be, it was more of a short, bony, slightly curved finger.  And black.  Like it was dead.  The vet tech handed me the leash, and this little Pug didn't move a muscle, except that ugly tail.  I tugged, and he slid across the floor.  It occurred to me that he didn't know what a leash was ( more often than not, most of my fosters had this problem), so I unhooked him and called him to me.  He looked like he wanted to be my friend...big pleading eyes, a nervous chuffing of his beautiful little muzzle.  He army-crawled over to me, not once lifting his belly off that floor.  No way that Pug was walking out of the shelter, so I carried him outside and put him down so he could do his business before the car ride home.  He finally stood up, and zoomed here and there with the energy of a hummingbird.  When he started to bolt I yelled and he dropped smack to the ground, shaking like a leaf.  A thought that ran through my mind on a regular basis when doing my foster work "I fucking hate people".  :(

Got the poor beast loaded up in my car, into Dixon's car seat.  Yes, my Pugs have their own car seats.  Comfy perches to watch the world go by, that also keep them hooked in and safe.  Murphy started crying, flattening himself, and generally looking like I was trying to murder him.  On the way out of the shelter I realized I got to name this little guy.  "Murphy" sprung to mind, and it stuck.

The traumatizing car ride over, Murphy's demeanor didn't improve too much once we got home and he met Dixon and Zelda.  Some curious sniffing, but he would hit the deck as soon as anyone walked within 10 feet of him.  But the tail never stopped it's frantic wag.  This went on for weeks and weeks.  He was also the only Pug I wasn't able to house train.  AT ALL.  For such a little Pug, he had an impressively large bladder and used it to soak my home.  I was used to Pugs peeing in my house, but it wasn't something I ever was able to just shrug off.  I bought stock in Nature's Miracle, and Murphy may have made those people billionaires.

Oddly, not many people expressed an interest in Murph.  Brutally honest about the house training, most people ran for the hills.  Except one.  To this day I wonder what the fuck I was thinking.  The decision actually makes it in to the top ten worst decisions I have ever made.  And so you can see it wasn't a bullshit list, one of those spots is taken up by bankruptcy and slipping out of the handcuffs while being arrested for a DUI.

My mother.  She oohed and aahed over the pitiful little Pug.  She didn't seem to give two shits that he was always in a wet doggie diaper.  My father had passed away a little over 8 months before Murphy came to live with us.  Six months after Pop died, Mom had to vacate their large house and move to a small one bedroom condo.  The big house also housed two standard Poodles.  The loves of Mom's life (she still pines for them).  Four months before I met Murphy I had to call the local Poodle rescue group and have Mom's beloved dogs re-homed.  She was devastated.  I was taking deep, satisfying breaths of relief.  I am crazy about Pugs, not so much about Poodles.  Especially the female.  That dog was straight shit-house-rat-CRAZY.  So when Mom started fawning all over this little Pug, I had a moment (or 1000) weakness.

I talked my rescue coordinator into letting Mom have him.  An ecstatic Mom handed over her check, swearing she'd follow all the advice and promising she'd love him FOREVER.  Mostly she has done what the rescue would want of it's adoptive homes.  He's well-loved, treated like a member of the family, has regular check-ups at the vet, and has an impressive wardrobe of harnesses.

What's lacking?  The Pug still pisses his pants.  And those pants are worn to my house so often, that's why the little fucker is in the photo above.  After 2.5 years, Murphy walks taller.  He is still hand-shy, but doesn't hit the deck as fiercely or as often.  We can touch his belly now, because he keeps it off the ground, mostly.  He still goes completely rigid when held.  Hates being in the car.  And loathes sitting on our laps.  He tolerates petting, but doesn't seem to enjoy it.  He loves to lay on the back of the sofa, and will occasionally pick up a toy (but then has no idea what to do with it).  He has found his "voice" FINALLY after 2 years of being with Mom.  He men.  Never women.  He still has an adorable face, which is why he is not strung up dead right now.  Mom, against ALL the advice I gave her (and really, what do I know, I only trained 19 Pugs...), and put down piddle pads.  Essentially training Murphy to piss in her house.  On frigid days, rainy days, hot days, oh fuck it...whenever Mom was too lazy to get off her ass, she'd claim Murphy just doesn't like the cold/rain/heat/sun/clouds/grass....WHATEVER.  That's fine if she wants to live with a house-pissing anxious dog.  What drives me absolutely insane is that he spends oh, at least SIXTY percent of his time at MY house.  Pretty much since Mom's surgery back in January, the little pisser has been here.

To make it more fun?  She has ordered me NOT to use the crate with Murph.  You know, the thing that keeps a pissing dog from pissing all over my house.  You can bet that she refuses to believe that a crate is actually a good place for any dog to be.  A safe haven.  A place they can truly call their own.  A restful spot that every Pug I ever fostered learned to appreciate and wander in of their own accord.  I am an idiot, so Mom ignores all of that nonsense.  Anyone want to guess how much time Murphy has been spending inside the forbidden crate? 

I sometimes joke how Cam's whining will drive me back to the bottle.  I fully mean it when I say Murphy is going to make me have to cover up that sobriety date tattooed on my back.

So really, I suppose I have 2.6 Pugs.


  1. Pugs = cute

    I grew up with Boxers....they still are #1 in my book but in all honesty if it's a dog, I will fall in love....with some more than others, but I hold no malice for my 4 legged friends :)

  2. Love Boxers! Great with kids and just super dogs. :) Plus, they have a semi-smooshed face!