A Whole New World



First, for those of you who do not know me well, I should say that I am not new to the pug world. I inherited my first pug, Buffy, from my brother 16 years ago and went out seeking a first pug of my very own, Vader, two years later. It was then, I met Vader's breeder, Joan, who at the time had 22 or more pugs in her home and now has anywhere between 14 to 18 depending on the day.
With her I have seen pug puppies born and oldsters die, I have traveled to AKC-sanctioned pug shows and learned how to handle pugs in the ring. I have attended pug socials sponsored by local rescue organizations and participated in costume contests, races and more. In other words, I am no virgin to the world of pugs.

A few weeks ago, however,  when I joined the Hubbard Hall Writers Project led by our Esteemed Leader writer/photographer Jon Katz, I found myself apologizing for being "Pug Crazy," which resulted in his conclusion that I feared the label. Not exactly true, I thought to myself. I pretty much know I'm pug crazy.

Jon in turn asked me, "Why pugs?" and I still haven't come up with a good answer. Honestly, isn't it evident, I thought? They're adorable, funny, clownish creatures whose sole/soul purpose seems to be affection. He concluded that all the pug people he knows are friendly and outgoing, enthusiastic even.

Yes, that fits, I thought.

Our conversation progressed and I soon found myself explaining the ins and outs of pug socials to him and subsequently the other writers in our group. They all seemed equally astonished at the notion of a pug kissing contest, which my pug had won, not because of the win, mind you, just at the idea that people would hold a contest designed to have their pugs repeatedly kiss them on their mouths.
Once I conquered this hurdle and explained I wanted to write a story of my friend, Joan, and her many pugs, I faced a new challenge. Joan, you see, does not live the most traditional lifestyle, which is exactly why I want to write about her. I had typical anxieties about writing about someone I know, but what I didn't bargain on is how strange people find the sheer number of pugs she owns.

I have been slowly digesting the concept that while I joked about being "Pug Crazy" the fact is people might actually see me that way, at least a little bit, you know in the same affectionate and tolerant way that you might view your doddering Aunt Betty?

Well, so be it, I thought. In for a penny, in for a pound and when it came to my love of pugs, I was already all in. I began posting more about pugs on my blog to good response when suddenly, the stakes were raised a notch. I learned about a group on Facebook that I was told I just had to join if I wanted to connect with pug people. The group is called Pug Sluts.

Pug: any of a breed of small sturdy compact dogs of Asian origin with a smooth, short coat, tightly curled tail, short muzzle, and broad wrinkled face
Slut: 1. chiefly British : a slovenly woman 2. a : a promiscuous woman... b : a saucy girl ..'

Wow, I thought. Yes, I love my pug. Yes, we won a pug kissing contest together. Yes,  I cavort with many pugs on a regular basis, but do I really qualify as a slut? I went and joined the Facebook page in the hopes that I will learn the answer to this question and what it might mean if I do. I'll keep you posted.