When I met Robin and we started getting serious, he made it clear that a dog would be in our future or we were not going to be together. I graciously accepted this ultimatum knowing it was a battle I would not win. One day when we were in the airport, my eyes instantly locked on the cutest dog I had ever seen and it was love at first sight. I went up the owner and asked what the breed was and the rest is history – we became crazy pug people. Robin was a big advocate of adopting dogs and through the help of the Michigan Pug Rescue we added Babyface and Bugsy to our family. They lived to be 18 years old mainly due to Robin’s wonderful abilities of keeping dogs and plants alive. He was my “pug whisperer.” We can talk about the plants another time.
In 2014, we adopted Laura, Lindy and Ella, who we affectionately called “the girls.” We had intended to adopt two but these gals came as a packaged deal and we could not resist. Needless to say, Robin was the lead parent and the girls loved their daddy. He stayed at home with them and provided them lots of kisses, hugs, food and potty breaks. He had his rituals with each of them, but Lindy was especially close with him. Every morning and night, she would climb on his chest and begin to lick his face. He would lay back, close his eyes and let her go at it. I always thought it was kind of gross but he knew Lindy needed to do it and he was happy to oblige.
When Robin passed away, it was evident that the girls knew something was wrong. For the first time, under heavy advisement from my family, I packed up my puppies and dropped them off at Petco for a few days while we sat Shiva. I knew it was the right decision but I felt bad having them stay there. The staff seemed nice, but I was overly protective of the girls and I didn’t like the idea that they were in an unfamiliar place! We called everyday to check to see if they were ok. Most of the reports included they had eaten well and were good girls. The staff commented on how good their appetite was but that they stayed to themselves and did not mingle with the other dogs. Gotta love pugs!
Isabelle and I were anxious to pick the girls up as it did not feel the same in the house without them. Unfortunately, when we came home they seemed sad and it broke my heart. I did not want to leave them alone. Lindy didn’t lick anymore and there were a few suspicious accidents occurring which verified these pugs were not happy. Although no one likes their home becoming a bathroom, it did remind me of the time when a mysterious pug had urinated in Robin’s shoe. He went to put it on and it was wet and squishy. We always suspected it was Lindy as she has a bit of an edge. Robin was so angry about it which was funny to Isabelle and me. It caused many years of giggles at his expense, which he always said in an enunciated way “HAHA!”
Putting all the laughs aside, reality began setting in and I panicked, how was I going to manage three pugs? It seemed like a cute idea to adopt them back in 2014, now the task of raising them felt enormous! Luckily grandma stepped in to help which was very much appreciated. Grandma has always been great with the girls but was not shy to declare that Ella was her favorite pug. Could she be trusted to care for and treat all her grand puppies equally? We discussed the matter (not really just adding drama to the story) and agreed to split shifts staying with the girls to make sure they had company. I instituted more frequent walks and bought a doggie stroller to make a reasonable accommodation for Laura who has a bad leg. Laura and I were both slightly embarrassed to use this stroller initially but have found it now to be a nice solution to make the walks easier. Also, we have added reinforcement with a new member to the Girls Support Network. Lisa, our neighbor and dog sitter extraordinaire, comes in twice a day to feed them and show general love. They are excited to see her and she declares that they make her day better too, a win-win for everyone.
All and all everything seems to be working and we are falling into a new rhythm. I find a lot of comfort just hanging out with the girls and snuggling on the couch. I also saw a glimmer of hope the other night… Lindy started licking my hand. Normally I would have pulled away as I hate that sucking noise and the saliva, but this time I channeled Robin and let her lick away. I guess it was finally reassurance that everything was going to be ok.