PugHearts of Houston Blog

My Pug Story–Chapter 4 Chucky (Part 2)

Thursday, 7 July 2011 10:25 by karenr


Chucky was safe & happy; now we had to make him healthy.  First came the heartworm treatment.  My vet did it with two injections one month apart, and activity restriction/bedrest in between.  We kept him crated when we were at work, but when we were home his natural place was snuggled with us on the couch or in the big bed, so it was easy to keep him quiet.  He was a total love sponge.  The protocol deferred neutering until after the heartworm treatment, so we had two months to work on breaking him of his marking habit.  Since he was crated or leashed if he wasn’t on the couch or bed, timely verbal corrections took care of the marking problem in a couple of weeks.  Our pack was complete (or was it?), and I finally had my purebred pug.

Our pack

Chucky made it through his heartworm treatment with a minimum of coughing/distress, and then it was time for neutering.  Poor Keith, he suffered a bit in sympathy, and even made a couple of half-hearted attempts to convince me Chucky should be allowed to breed at least once.  After all, the arguments went, he had papers, came from a great bloodline, and had both a wonderful disposition and great conformation.

Up to 30% of animals surrendered to animal shelters are purebreds. There are not enough homes for all of these animals, including young, healthy and pedigreed pets.  As a volunteer for PugHearts, I have seen this outcome first hand.  But at the time, my husband needed some convincing.  One of the best articles I came across in my research can be found here:

We did the right thing.  Vet bills for immunizations, heartworm treatment, and neutering were now over $1000.  When Chucky’s former owner called me about getting his free mural, I told him in no uncertain terms that the debt had been paid in full!   I gave him an earful about the pain and suffering he had inflicted on this poor dog, which probably made no real difference, but at least it made me feel better.

head tail

Chucky never sired puppies, but I like to think at least one of the potential buyers of his offspring instead adopted a rescue pug.  He still enjoys sniffing bottoms, but smelling is all he’s going to do!

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My Pug Story–Chapter 3 Chucky

Tuesday, 5 July 2011 18:21 by karenr

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.

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My Pug Story–Chapter 2 Krissy

Monday, 4 July 2011 10:57 by karenr

Fast forward a year:  Christmas 2002.    My artist intern wanted a small dog for her kids.  I extolled the virtues of a pug (even though I only had a half-pug) before she began making the shelter rounds.  She called me from one with the report of a black pug.  She wasn't really interested, but she thought I might want to take a look.  With my 11-year old stepdaughter, we took a ride "just to see".  This pug was an imposter, too:  a chihuahua-pug mix (or Chug).  A purely pug body, but a face all her own (complete with an underbite and always-showing canine tooth).  We promptly dubbed it her "atti-tuth" and gave Krissy to her dad as a Christmas present after she was spayed.

krissyattituthkrissy 3

Krissy is sweet, hyper, and ball-obsessed.  She will keep bringing the ball back to whomever throws it.  She is especially good at seeking out little boys at the dog park:  she knows they will throw it longer!  Krissy is our media star:  A TV crew from The Animal Planet was filming out at the Millie Bush Dog Park during the annual Reliant dog show, and they were impressed by how fast she was chasing the ball:  she literally kicks up a dust trail.  One of the producers asked us “Will she do it again?”  Of course we told her, “All day long!”  Her segment was only about 5 seconds when the dog show finally aired, but we are proud of her, none the less!

Krissy is the playful member of our pack.  Depending on the personalities of our foster pugs she will wrestle, chase, play tug of war or keep away.   We swear she has ADD, and is more than a bit of a spaz…but we love her.  Here she is at play with one of our foster pugs:

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My Pug Story–Chapter 1 Cupid

Sunday, 3 July 2011 19:08 by karenr

I plan to put a different spin on the Pughearts blog. I thought the best way would be to share my personal pug story so you will all know a bit more about the writer. The story starts back in 1998, when I was providing hospice care for my (almost) ex-husband, burned-out from my 60-hour-a-week hospital job, and looking for some unconditional love. I wanted a pug, so I contacted the local rescue group who was active at that time, but as a first-time dog owner my name was not high on their list as a potential adopter.

I hit my low point on Valentine's Day, but then I received a call from the rescue group telling me of a pug mix female who was in a high-kill shelter. A few hours later I brought home a year-old Jack Russell/Pug mix I named Cupid in honor of the date. 

cupid old 2cupid

I wanted a laid-back snuggle bug, but I got a dominant, high-energy alpha bitch. Little did I know, but this was exactly the dog I needed. Extremely intelligent, Cupid needed more than casual walks, so I broke out the roller-blades, bought a bicycle, and enrolled in obedience classes. I was lucky to have an excellent animal behaviorist lead my class, and he taught me everything I needed to know about becoming a pack leader. Cupid even learned dog agility.

As for me, I de-stressed, lost 40 lbs, and made it through the death of my husband. Cupid finally made it through puppy adolescence and chilled out, too.

Life-insurance and pension money in hand, I decided to leave healthcare and try to make a living doing what I loved: art. I started a decorative painting business, and began painting murals, doing faux finishing and reporting to no-one but myself. My trusty Cupid at my side, I made it through the rough first two years of start-up.  Here we are with one of my big murals on canvas:

cupid small

My initial partnership failed, but I had the tools and the client contacts to make it as a sole proprietor, and Cupid and I began dating. I soon met a helicopter pilot with a wicked sense of humor and the gift of gab who shared my love of animals.

Keith’s idea of the perfect dog weighed at least 60 lbs, however, and his experience as a teenage vet tech had left him prejudiced against "little yap-yap dogs". Cupid soon won him over with her big attitude. Cupid is 14 years old now, but she still rules the pack with her body language and force of will. It is because of her we make a good foster family: leading with body language and by example, she does most of the work showing a new dog the ropes!

cupid yawn

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