Sunday, April 6, 2014

Purses Not Pugs: On Being Informed Before You Bring a Pug Into Your Home

After “What’s for homework?” and “Why doesn’t my library card work?” the question I am asked most frequently is “What kind of dog is that (pointing stupidly at dog)?” 

When I begrudgingly answer that she is a pug, I am, more often than not, asked where I got her.  This follow-up question is the most obnoxious a.) because it makes THE FOOSA seem like an object rather than a fully formed sentient being; b.) because that’s a rather personal question to ask a woman double over picking up pug poop; and c.) because it assumes that dogs can be purchased like new flateware.

I adopted THE FOOSA and she joined my family.  I did not get her; we begot one another Old Testament style.If you’re thinking about getting a pug because they look squishy and adorable and you’re looking for a furry accessory, buy a new purse not a pug.  Pugs are not the easiest dog breed to take care of and, as a result, a lot of little fur people end up in shelters, in rescue, or being mistreated because their owners are ill-prepared for pug parenthood.

If you really want a cute puppy, let me tell you why you should not bring a pug your home:
  • they snore, even when they are awake
  • they fart all of the time, including on you or in confined spaces
  • they have no concept of personal space and will jump on furniture regardless of your household rules or your orders to “get down”
  • they shed profusely all year long
  • they’re prone to genetic health issues and require ongoing expensive medical care
  • they have dry skin, so you have to use specially formulated shampoos and conditioners for sensitive skinned canines
  • they’re dry skin is also helped by daily Omega-3 vitamins that are huge, expensive, and nearly impossible to administer to a cranky pug
  • they require top-of-the-line dog food in order to maintain a healthy balanced diet (not cheap . . .)
  • they get eye goo several times a day and like to wipe it on people, furniture, and light colored clothing, frequently when you are not looking
  • they are easily overheated and can’t stay outside or be taken out in warm climates
  • they’re deceptively heavy and prone to obesity
  • they’re stubborn and will only do something if they want to
  • they’re prone to bossiness
  • they’re barky (especially girls) and territorial
  • they’re motivated by food and will steal your lunch as soon as look at you
  • they’re incredibly curious so you can’t leave anything unattended unless you want it rifled through, stomped on, or eaten

Despite all of these quirks my pug is the light of my life and I love her wholeheartedly.  Before I even considered adopting a pug of my own, I had years of experience caring for my dad’s pug (my “fur brother”) and knew what I was getting myself into. 

When I adopted her I was well aware of the physical, emotional, and financial commitment I was making to THE FOOSA; had I been equivocal in any way, I would not have brought her into my family.  Pugs, and all pets, are like furry children; if you are not willing to make a decades-long commitment to their happiness and wellbeing, don’t bring a pet into your home. 

If you are aware of the responsibilities of pug parenthood, and are firmly committed to your fur-child-to-be, you should adopt one from a reputable pug rescue organization (I adopted the FOOSA from Central Coast Pug Rescue in California).  Buying a dog from a breeder (backyard breeder or reputable one) only adds to the pet overpopulation crisis by financing an industry that harms more animals than it helps.  

Rescue organizations, like the one that paired THE FOOSA and I, work towards curbing pet overpopulation while placing the right fur person with the family that is best for them.  The intensive screening process involved in adopting a dog from a rescue organization gives you the time to see if pet parenthood is the right choice for you and appropriate for your living situation. 

When you are making the decision to bring a pet into your home, time, research, and a lot of soul searching is more helpful than asking a frustrated lady on the street while she is trying to pick up poop. 

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