Chucky was born on January 8, 2004 at the kennel of a prominent show dog breeder in another part of the state. Both parents were AKC champions and he was sold to a family for $2000 at the age of 12 weeks after receiving his initial puppy shots. Only the best would do for the status-conscious father, and the kids had to have a pug after watching the movie “Milo & Otis,” so the whole family drove across the state to pick him up. And named him Otis, of course.
This family was an acquaintance of ours: friends of a friend. We first visited their house for a 4th of July BBQ when Otis was about 6 months old. The kids were still carrying the pup around like a stuffed animal, and he was an adorable innocent, with a great disposition. It was apparent they had done no work to housebreak the dog, and when he had an accident on the kitchen floor he was banished to the backyard with their jumping, unruly, adolescent Giant Schnauzer. I tried to provide some instruction on training, and taught the little pug to sit while we were there. He was so sweet and eager to please.
Over the next 6 months, I kept asking about the little guy’s well-being. Our mutual friend told me that Otis’ owner had had half a dozen dogs before this in the years he had known him, and he had given them all away. This was a red flag to me, and the next time I saw his owner at his place of business, I told him if he ever was looking for a home for Otis, to think of me. The next time I saw Otis it was at a holiday party, and the dogs had both been banished to the backyard, full-time. The adolescent males were both marking the house, and the mom had put her foot down. The 100 pound Schnauzer was terrorizing the poor pug, who retreated under a garden shed; it was the only place he could escape the mouthing and rough play. I again offered to take the pug, but I was told that the kids would be heartbroken. But Otis was now over 20 lbs., and the little ones couldn’t carry him anymore, so he was left to his own devices in the backyard.
It was that backyard that eventually got me my pug. The next spring, they decided to put in a pool. With the fence open, the dogs had to be crated full-time. Otis’ owner finally decided to give him to me in exchange for some mural painting I promised to do for him. When I came over to pick him up, he was crated in the garage, not the house. I held my tongue, happy to be getting my purebred pug at last.
When I got him home, he was so happy! Cupid loved the intact male, and flirted hilariously. Krissy immediately wanted to play. He figured out the doggie door in about an hour, and kept going in and out. When we settled on the couch to watch TV, he wormed his way in between us and started making puggy purrs. It was the first evening of many we would spend this way. He promptly claimed the pillow as his spot in the bed:
My brother Charles had recently passed away, so we renamed our new pug Chucky in his honor. Since the paperwork his owner gave me included no vet records except from the breeder, I took him to my vet the first thing the next morning. Only a year old, and he was already heartworm positive.
More about Chucky in Chapter 4.