“Get a puppy,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said.
I was mourning the loss of two ancient pugs in just over two years. This happened to be a not unexpected consequence of adopting ancient pugs in the first place. Feeling a bit tender in the heart area and acknowledging that my Boston Terrier was slowly creeping into the geriatric territory himself, I emailed Pugnation LA and asked if they could let me know when a younger dog came in. I immediately received a response of an adorable little fawn puppy who (I thought) would be just perfect. My husband said no. About a month later, I get another email and it’s this nine-week-old brindle pug puppy and I need him. I email Gwenn back and say “I’m coming for him”. She asks if she’s going to cause a divorce but I don’t care.
Wallace was tiny and dainty and everything that my broken heart needed. He was only seven pounds and I could hold him up in one hand. Everyone in the airport wanted to meet him and get sweet little puppy kisses. The plane ride home was uneventful and I was delighted to bring home a little brother to my two other furry children. Passing through customs, the officer asked if I had proof that he was too young for his rabies shots. I unzipped the flap of his travel carrier and his tiny wrinkly head poked out and he tried to jump out at the officer for more cuddles. Laughing, the officer patted the puppy on the head, checked his vet records and let us through.
It was only after we made it home that I discovered what a truly terrible mistake I had made. Anything that fits in his mouth was to be tested for flavour. Wallace does not wait to see if items are edible, he simply ingests them and waits to find out if they are digestible.
The list of things that I have fished out of his cavernous cheek pouches includes entire rows of staples (after he ate the cardboard box), pine cones, crabapples in varying stages of decay, broken glass and several shoes. Some of this is understandable, apples are technically food and there’s something wondrous about smelly shoes. However, I cannot even begin to fathom why he wants to eat staples and broken glass. Pet insurance is designed for the undiscerning palate of a pug puppy.
Even worse than his insistence on putting everything in his mouth, is his insistence on being close to me at all times. Including the bathtub. And the shower. There is no such thing as personal space.
Wallace loves to join me at work where he is a distinct impediment to productivity. Fortunately, I have a very unconventional office and we have a rotating schedule of dogs. We have Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the little monster knows that as soon as I put on my shoes and pick up my purse, I am headed to work. He has figured out that if he waits for me to struggle with the gate latch, he can sneak out and wait impatiently for me to open the car door.
With a puppy, the sound of silence is particularly ominous. A break in barks, snorts and notes means that somewhere, something you love is being systematically destroyed. I have lost track of the items I have lost to this little ball of furry destruction. There are toothmarks on my coffee table, pawprints in the paint of my cupboards and I had to install a shoe cabinet with doors after he learned how to knock things off the rack. In the span of one week, he ate two of my roommate’s shoes. Of course, they weren’t from the same or even a remotely similar pair. He had to eat two completely different shoes so that both pairs were no longer functional as footwear.
The worst part is that I can’t even find it in me to stay mad at him. He looks up at me with those giant brown eyes and I just melt. I don’t think I’m cut out for puppies. The most common phrase in my household is either “Don’t eat that!” Or “Oh Gawd spit that out right now”
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to remove a pug from my dryer.