By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal
“The pug is living proof that God has a sense of humor.”
– Margo Kaufman
“I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.”
– Will Rogers
“The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.”
– Samuel Butler
Back in March, the pedigreed pup population at my house doubled when Thom Thumb II, the graying black chihuahua, was joined by Sally, the champagne-colored pug.
And then there’s George, a questionable amalgamation of breeds, who brings a down-home, salt-of-the-earth, oh-so-common essence into the mix.
Though she’s probably nearing the age of 3, Sally seems like a puppy. That’s likely because she spent the first two years of her life in a crate at an Arkansas puppy mill. There was no life outside her crate, except for breeding and later tending to her offspring in a whelping box.
These days when she excitedly runs in circles in the living room, I believe I can hear her rejoicing, “Free at last, free at last.”
I called my friend Mel Whitfield to tell her about Sally’s arrival into my brood. I called her because she has loved a pug named Belle for a very long time.
What she said confused me a bit initially: “Prepare for your life to be filled with joy.”
Quite frankly, Sally had been with me only a few days then and all my life seemed to be full of was an enormous amount of pig-like noises. A small pig, yes. Still and yet, a pig.
I’ve listened to her when she’s sleeping and she snores just like my paternal grandfather did – loud and long. But there are times, when she sounds more like an old-fashioned coffee pot, just steadily percolating.
Sally’s sounds aside, I understood soon after she came to live with me in east Tupelo exactly what Mel meant by a pug bringing joy.
I look at her and I smile. I talk to her, she tilts her head from side to side and I laugh, usually out loud. When she has an accident in the house, I open my mouth to fuss but end up hooting at her attempts to feign innocence.
If I’ve had a bad day or am feeling blue, my trio of canine comrades cheer me. But Sally, with her beautiful bulging brown eyes and her flat nose, always brings the laughter, and lots of it.
Just after she came to live with us, I drove Sally to Memphis to see a veterinary ophthalmologist. Apparently, folks come from all over with their dogs to see this doctor. A bevy of breeds were represented in the waiting room, including a proliferation of pugs.
Sally and I sat and visited with two women from Mid-South Pug Rescue, who’d brought two recent rescues for medical care. I thanked them for saving Sally.
I watched all the waiting pet owners, and I realized everytime they’d look at one of the pugs in the room, they’d smile.
Suddenly a well-dressed woman with no dog attached entered the clinic to pay a bill. She suddenly looked at Sally, but no smile materialized. She just stared, then suddenly spoke in a highborn, Southern-sounding style.
“I don’t normally relish a pug, but that is a particularly fine one,” she said.
Sally snorted sweetly.
And I smiled.