Trail of Pugs


On a good day life is a series of lucky twists and turns, strange and happy coincidences, small signs and wonders. And, for those of us who are pug lovers, there are always a few pugs thrown in for good measure.

Today was such a day. It didn't begin that way, however. I had a plan to take my mother and the pugs to Manchester, N.H. to attend my niece Tori's five-year birthday celebration. Unfortunately, a series of events led to a stressful morning and by the time we were ready to take off, it would have been too late to make it, so instead we chose a late-in-the-day trek to Montpelier, Vt. We were going to catch a matinee, but after browsing the bookstore and surveying the street, we decided some window shopping would be more fun. And, it was.

We found one store filled with fantastic and unusual clothing and hats where I spent way too much money and had way too much fun; then on to the next. I noticed a water dish and a stuffed, life-sized Golden retriever in the corner, so I inquired of the cashier whether they ever had a real dog there. She informed me that not only did she bring her Golden into work, but so did the owner and the rather stoic looking, male clerk sitting at the rear of the store.

"I love dogs,"I said. "I have pugs," and suddenly the mood of the man in the rear lightened.

"My daughter has two bullmastiffs and a pug," the man said in the long, slow drawl of a TV cowboy. "Pug rules the whole house," he said with a nod. "The whole house." Then he returned to his stone-faced silence.

"I'm not surprised," I laughed.

We then journeyed next door to the closet of a kid's store where Mom spotted a statue of a fawn pug on the floor next to a mannequin of a child. "I'll have to take it's picture," I said, waiting for a shopper to move out of the way before snapping three shots with my I-phone. Both the shopper and the store clerk looked at me perplexed.

"I'm not as strange as I seem," I offered. "I have a pug blog." I"m not sure if that made me seem any saner or not.

After shopping some more and visiting the local pet store, we made our way down to the Mexican restaurant. Our chimicangas and quesadillas had just arrived when I noticed a small, short woman passing by wearing a gray pug sweatshirt and pug earrings.

"Do youhave a pug?" I asked as she passed by and as she turned to look at me I realized it was a friend and fellow pug owner who I had not seen in a number of years. She had disappeared rather suddenly from my life and over the years I had wondered what had happened to her. We were both surprised and delighted to see each other and soon erupted into lively conversation about pugs' births and deaths. I learned that her last pug died about two years ago at 15 and that she had since adopted two other dogs, too heartbroken to get another pug. I shared with her about Vader's death and Alfie and Waffles' arrivals. We talked well into the meal. In fact, the waitres came over and asked me if she could warm my food. My friend took my email and promised to get in touch. I hope she does. Seeing her was a happy coincidence and proof that if you follow a trail of pugs it is likely to lead to a happy ending.