It seems to be a characteristic of my friend Joan’s pugs. When I first visited Joan’s house, crowded with pugs and gates to keep them separated, I remember the repeated whoosh and thump as Egg would jump gate after gate like an Olympic hurdler. I’ve always thought her pugs would make excellent agility dogs and I’m thinking of taking up the sport with Waffles. That girl needs something to do.
Since I’ve been laid up with my cold, she’s been demonstrating her dissatisfaction and boredom by getting into everything. She does it in precise, dedicated fashion turning over trashcan after trashcan until each has been explored. My lip balm and my glasses are favorite chew toys. She has learned to climb on bags and shelves, creating her own personal stairwells to whatever her desired goals. In order to work and conduct phone interviews without the continuous thwack of another object she has claimed dropping to the ground, I have placed my own baby gate at the bottom of the stairs, letting she and Alfie have the run of the downstairs while I work in my second-floor office.
Ever my “Pugdini” Waffles always eventually seems to find a way upstairs. Initially, she would worm her more slender pug body through a crack where the gate didn’t quite reach the wall. Alfie, terrified of the gate ever since it almost fell on her as a puppy, would stare at her with a mix of horror and amazement, bewildered that anyone would try such a feat. When I learned to bridge the gap and block this path for Waffles, she learned to press her body against the gain until it was leaning like a ramp and she could climb it. Again, Alfie stared, awed.
I figured that’s what Waffles had continued to do to make her way to me, until tonight. Tonight she soared over the top like a streamlined jet plane, while my poor little Goodyear blimp sat at the bottom sulking. I stood at the top of the steps wondering what to do with my two little girls. Alfie may be my beauty queen but some exercise classes may be in order. And, Waffles, time to channel my juvenile delinquent’s tendencies into something more appropriate!
To be honest, I’m excited about the prospect of starting something new. One of the best things about a life with dogs is the new directions in which they take us. They make us grab their leashes and follow their lead out into the world. Since I got my first pug, I have been to show rings throughout the country, braved hurricanes and viruses to prance around a ring for a few minutes. I have met lonely people who light up at the mention of their dogs and friendly people as giddy and crazy as me to show them off. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind, locked up in your own world of work and commitments. My dogs never let me stay there long. One of them always seeks me out, finds me, and drags me out the door. Following their lead, I’ve learned to soar.