The passing of Pudge our much loved pug
After Blackie left us, Sonia was quite relieved that she did not have to contend with such a large dog anymore, and we did not have any pets for some time. Her two boys missed Blackie however and mentioned it often. Sonia assumed we were just teasing her because she was in fact afraid of dogs, but when her youngest son took a great interest in bulldogs and took her into pet shops occasionally to see them she was in a dilemma. She had a very independent spirit and never wanted her boys to be without something because their father had died, but a bulldog was still a big dog and she was not sure she could cope with it. She raised the subject with me on several occasions, obviously torn between her fear of a big dog and her son’s love of the breed, but it was not until someone mentioned the pug that she started to capitulate, and then she did an awful lot of checking about the breed on the computer. Although she would have favored a Chihuahua, which is very small and does not shed any hair, she felt maybe she could cope with the size of a pug. Someone told her a pug does not shed (they do in fact shed hair, as well as a lot of love) and she felt she could accept it.
By this time she had got used to the idea of having a dog in the house, and we started to look for a good breeder. We went to see one that had only two females left out of the litter and Sonia fell in love with them. After stroking them and playing a little with them for a little while, the owner suggested she should pick one up. I watched the other pup though when Sonia had picked up her sister. It had a sad look on its face and its face seemed to be thinner (I found out later when we had brought her home this was a trick Pudge used when she was looking for sympathy or a treat). I did not say anything at the time, but when we left to think it over I mentioned it to Sonia and there was no longer any doubt as to which pup we would take.
It was close to Christmas and we wanted to surprise Sonia’s boys with it on Christmas morning, so we arranged to pick it up on Christmas Eve and leave it with my daughter, who would then bring it over on Christmas day. The dog was got for her boys, but from the moment Pudge came into our home there was never any doubt who she wanted to be with, and Sonia accepted her just as freely. It was a pleasure to see the change that came over Sonia with the arrival of Pudge. She sat down to relax more than she had been doing and obviously enjoyed the little bundle of fur which always climbed into her lap. Pudge was without doubt the proverbial lap dog, and loved to climb into anyone’s lap as soon as that person sat down, but as soon as Sonia came in to sit down everyone else got ignored. For the first few years we had her she liked to attack the bottom of Sonia’s slacks and often I would see Sonia walking along stiff legged as Pudge was holding on to her slacks and she had to drag her along wherever she wanted to go.
Pudge was not what you would call a man’s dog. While Blackie had loved to play ball, if I rolled a ball along the floor for Pudge, she would look at the ball and then look back at me with an expression, which seemed to say, “do you think I am stupid enough to run after that”. That was another thing about Pudge, the expressions. I have never known another dog with the facial expressions like a pug and she had so many of them. When anyone came to the door she would bark and have a round face trying to look fierce without a great deal of success. When we were eating she would pull her ears back slightly which made her face look thin and sad and her eyes would look so sad as she occasionally blinked them. Then there was her accusing look. If Sonia and I were sitting watching television, with Pudge asleep on Sonia’s lap, when I got up and went to the fridge in the next room, no matter how quietly I had been getting up, she would be waiting when I came back with that accusing look, “I know you have something and I want some of it.” She would come and stand beside me on the chesterfield and if I ignored her she would place her paw on my leg, just to let me know she was there.
Sonia’s boys loved her and played with her a lot when she was younger. One of them would hold her while the other ran off somewhere and hid and when the one holding her let her go she would run off looking for the other boy. When the boys were sitting on a love seat playing their Nintendo or other computer games there she was in between them watching the activity. I often wondered if there had been a third controller if she would have tried to play. When she was younger she like to scoot all over the place and have someone chase her but as she got a bit older she stopped this.
She followed Sonia around a lot especially as she got older and as Sonia did whatever she had to do in the kitchen she would just sit there watching. If Sonia did manage to get away without her noticing she would run around every room looking for her until she found her. About an hour before Sonia came home from work she would sit in the hallway waiting for her, and then follow her around waiting for her to sit down so she could climb onto her lap. When she was younger she loved to go for a walk and as soon as she heard the word walk she would twirl around in circles in her excitement. When she got older she still got excited but after she had gone about ten feet she would stop and wait to be picked up and carried.
I had to teach her how to go down the stairs when she was small and once she got the hang of it, the stairs were no longer an obstacle. Over her last year however she was nervous about going down the stairs and taught herself a new way. She would stand sideways to the top stair put her stair side front paw down until it reached the next step. When that felt secure she followed with the other front paw and finally the two rear paws. It was slower coming down one step at a time, but she made it on her own. By this time she could not hear as well, but to the end could still tell when I had gone to the fridge, her eyesight was going and one day the vet showed me all the blind spots on her eyes. She was having difficulty breathing as well and could become quite restless at times. Over the last month or so she would frequently try to get into tight areas facing out and often got into trouble when she went in head first and then tried to turn around. I had heard of animals doing this for protection when they sensed their end was near, but this was the first time I had witnessed it.
She had been having trouble breathing for about a year but that last day it was bad and she was very restless. I tried to get her to lie still in the hope that might help, but she just couldn’t. When Sonia came home she followed her even more than usual even though she seemed to be having difficulty, and Sonia thought she should give a little more of her medication. When she came back with the medication she found Pudge lying on her side, in considerable difficulty breathing and unable to take the medication. She called me and we picked her up and drove her to an emergency veterinary clinic where they put her on oxygen straight away and wrapped her in wet towels to bring her body temperature down. Because of her difficulty breathing she was not able to get rid of the heat in her body in the normal way. It took some time, but gradually the red color returned to her tongue and her breathing, though still labored, was a bit better.
We had to leave her overnight and the vet did not hold out much hope, but we felt we just couldn’t abandon her as long as there was any hope at all. This was an emergency night clinic only and we would have to pick her up the next morning, but Sonia felt if she had to be put down she wanted it done by her regular vet that Pudge was used to. Sonia went with her elder son the following morning to pick her up and take her to that regular vet, but they had not gone far before Sonia, who was holding Pudge in her arms, heard Pudge give two little sighs and then stopped breathing. She had waited out the night to die in the arms of the one she loved the most and the one who loved her dearly. She had brought a lot of love to all our lives, and was quite a little character. We knew she was a dog, but I am convinced she thought she was human. Apart from the love she brought, I cannot say that she changed my life very much or that of Sonia’s boys, but there was quite a change in Sonia’s attitude towards dogs since Pudge’s arrival.
There is now doubt Sonia misses Pudge and for a while did not want another dog, because no dog could for her fill the gap left by Pudge’s passing, but I have seen her take a neighbors full grown black Lab (similar to old Blackie) for a walk and even play with it. Every time she sees a pug, she wants to pet it. Over Christmas while we were in Florida she went into a pet store and they told her they were expecting a pug pup in a few days time. She kept talking about it and just had to go see it when it arrived. She held that little pug in her arms and it clung to her and tugged at her heartstrings. She was even giving it a name Biz (her youngest boy is called Mark and got the nickname Biz from his friends when he was small because of Bismarck in their history books) I thought she was going to take it but I guess she is still not quite ready. She has taken a lot of ribbing from her eldest son and I about abandoning poor Biz, and I think it will not be long until there is another Pug in the family.