Every year I write a Christmas letter for my friend Joan recapping the big events that happened at her home called Pugdom each year. The letter goes out to friends and those who have received one of Joan's pugs. We consider them family.
Joan and Vader
Snow has yet to stick to the ground, but Christmas is in the air. Lights twinkle as I drive through town and the warm glow of Christmas trees shine from almost every window. At Pugdom life continues as usual – pugs come and go, are born and die. This year was no exception.
2012 saw the arrival of many new faces. Our friend Jane attempted to adopt another pug from Green Mountain Pug Rescue and instead of one, she got two: Fanny May and Sadie. Fannie is a funny little girl, probably younger than they estimated and Sadie, well Sadie was an old lady who had belonged to an old lady. She died not long after coming into Jane’s life, but she lived out her last days as loved as she had always been by her previous owner.
Jane and Sadie
This summer Lumpi and Griffles gave birth to six black puppies. One died at birth and our little Batman put up a grand fight, but passed away at seven weeks. He was precious and precocious – the first of his litter to walk, but he failed to grow and although he won our hearts, he lost the fight. I will remember him as if he had lived to be an old man. His siblings thrived and three found new homes. The fourth, Gryffindor will remain at Pugdom. He is handsome and a tease – he kisses everyone, but Joan to my delight and her dismay. His paws are huge, he looks like his daddy and he is full of joy. His sister, Margot, went to live with our friend Bonnie in New Jersey, who used to own Joan’s pug Katrinka (a.k.a. Scarlett). Margot is now known as Sassy Margot. Bonnie’s friend, Bob, adopted Arlo Kensington and renamed him Bunja, for African royalty. On the day he left, Joan cried. Our goofy little boy, Waltham’s Little Trump, went to live with our friends the Damitzes and well, was renamed Goofy. He now lives with his aunt Truffels and two other Pugdom relatives, Chunky Monkey and his mom, Jerry.
Narnia, one of our original “Forest Creatures” returned to Pugdom when her owner, Nancy, had to give her up to care for a family member. Narnia came with her antique collar and her new name “Sweet Pea.” We were also told by Nancy that she sometimes called her “Little Pig” and the other night Joan confessed she understands why. This sweet old pug sure loves her food! She fits right in, however, and loves to play with the other “bedroom” dogs that have the luxury of sleeping in Joan’s room.
Narnia as a Puppy Many, Many Years Ago
Our friend Yvonne at The Collection added a third pug to her crew when she adopted Josie from Champlain Valley Canine Rescue. I got a new addition to my home as well. Waffles, Griffles and Truffels’ sister, has taken up residence. I have wanted to take her home since the day she was born but with two other pugs it always seemed impossible. When Vaderman passed away in June, it seemed the logical choice to scoop her up and take her home to be Alfie’s constant playmate. Yes, Waltham’s Zag Vaderman died. He lived to be 13.5 years old and had a wonderful life, eating his favorite McDonald’s fish fillets right up to the end. He was cremated with his “Humpie Doggie,” the stuffed dog that had been his girlfriend and constant companion since he was a pup. I miss my little man everyday.
Joan and Peaches when she first arrived
Peaches in Later Years
Unfortunately, Vader was not the only one to say goodbye this year. Peaches, the Grand Dame of Pugdom passed in June. She had been a rescue pug from an Indian reservation, but she lived like a queen until the day she died. Chessie, Jane’s cat, who in our active imaginations ran a legal practice and schooled the pugs, died today at the age of 17.5. Today, I also received a call from our friend, Harvey, owner of Dr. Poohbah Gump (a.k.a. Peter O’ Toole) telling me that he had to put Poohbah down on Saturday. We also learned that our good friend, Tom Rose, another pug breeder who often helped Joan assess her pugs had passed away. Tom, was all gruff on the outside, but had the sweetest heart.
Dr. Poohbah Gump (a.k.a. Peter O' Toole) with Harvey Blackmer
We had the typical fun this year – attended Green Mountain Pug Rescue’s social, this year in Killington, Vt. and the Chestertown Pug Parade in NY. Alfie participated in a number of dog shows in Tunbridge, Keene and Saratoga and did us proud. She keeps getting better and better. Joan and I spent a wonderful stolen day by the ocean in Maine at the end of summer where the puppies played in the sand.
Waffles in Costume at Chestertown, NY
Joan is still trying to move into the new house, but she keeps getting closer. It’s hard to move a lifetime of stuff and a whole herd of pugs. I joined a writers’ group this year and am sharing many stories of life at Pugdom and the greater Pug World. You can read about it all at my web site (www.pugsandpics.com).
We’d love to hear from all of you. The snow may not yet be on the ground, but Christmas is in the air and just as we’ve offered you a peek inside the windows of our lives, we’d love a peek into yours. We want to know how all those pugs that left Pugdom’s doors are faring and we love pics as well. So pick up the phone and give Joan a call or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The warmest glow for us comes not from the Christmas lights, but from the wagging tails and the tender hearts of the pugs that we have known. Have the happiest of holidays and another wonderful New Year!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!