When you shake the family tree you are bound to end up discovering some black sheep and unusual skeletons in the closet. I’ve always suspected as much of Waffles’ own background. I have known her breeder Joan and all her pugs for 14 years so I pretty much knew her immediate pedigree, but like anyone’s lineage I seriously suspected there might be some secrets.
Take for instance Waffles maternal grandmother, TarBaby. When TarBaby was just a wee pup she went missing for 11 days and when she returned, showing up proudly in Joan’s driveway, she looked like a little worm. As she grew, she sprouted jowls and a distinct expression that isn’t exactly Pug-like to my eyes. As the years passed, she very clearly resembled the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I joked with Joan that during those missing days she had taken up residence in a nearby swamp and affectionately have dubbed her Swampi and Swamp Creature. I tease that one day she will sprout gills and fins. Underneath all the teasing I sometimes fear that I am right.
Take Tarbaby’s son for instance, Puddleglum, named for the Marshwiggle in The Chronicles of Narnia series. Joan might act mad when I pick on Tarbaby, but she went right along with me when I suggested we give Puddle his name. In fact, she even let me dub his sister Perrin Pollywog. Waffles, Puddle’s daughter, has always been tiny and spidery for a pug, not much bigger than a tadpole when she was born.
In the months that she has lived with me I have often described her banshee scream – a hideous noise that often sounds like something deep inside her has died. She whines as well and in between often hisses and snorts. Again, I have had to question her true nature. Tonight, I may have discovered it.
I went to see The Hobbit and halfway through the movie when Gollum appeared, it hit me – it’s Waffles. Now pugs have been described as resembling many a movie creature – Yoda, Gizmo, E.T., but when I looked at Gollum I didn’t see a typical pug, I saw Waffles – the big wide eyes, the hunched over spine, the wide mouth and intense stare and yes, most importantly, the hissing and when his ‘preciouses’ was missing, the same otherworldly scream.
Perhaps Tolkien was acquainted with an early ancestor of Waffles. He was English and Joan received her first pug from Prime Minister Clement Attlee of England, so that might be a logical conclusion. But, I have my own suspicions. Call me crazy, but I suspect that somewhere near Joan’s house that we call Pugdom, on the peak of a mountain in Warren, Vt. is a doorway to Middle Earth. Only an explanation such as this can account for that god-awful scream.