Friday, November 7, 2008

Mr. President -- Don't Get a Pug

While I've been taking a sabbatical from this blog, we added to our family in a way. To our wonderful fawn pug (that''s him in the first image) , who we adopted from a rescue group three years ago, we've added the little guy below him, also from pug rescue. Introducing, Chamuco, the black pug. Chamuco was actually bought by a reputable breeder in Canada but his family couldn't keep him and gave him away. We got him when he was only 11 months old.

Just a note about his name. The name Chamuco came off of a tequila bottle in Mexico. Supposedly, it translates to "little devil." Our little devil is aptly named. It wasn't easy coming up with one for this guy. We tried a few. We thought "Dizzy" to go with Louie who is named after Louie Armstrong (I've also had cats named George & Ira and Sassy, after Sarah Vaughan. You get the picture). Naming the new puppy was a puzzle. The first one we settled on was Obama though my mother thought it might seem offensive to some people, the reality is that we were so into the election, it was all we were thinking about. I mean if the circumstances were different, we might have named him after Hillary. But it was all solved when we made that fateful trip to Mexico City and ordered tequila.

My friends will confirm my love for my dogs and, really, all pugs. Since we adopted Louie, I've grown into a huge fan of the breed. Pug people call it getting "pugged". In his election-night address, President-elect Barack Obama promised his two beautiful daughters that, following historical tradition, he would get them a puppy when they moved into the White House.

You'd think I'd love for the Obamas to adopt a pug. They are a fantastic breed. Loyal, yet independent and occasionally stubborn, they are very smart and lovable animals. They are brachycephalic and can have breathing problems but many live long and healthy lives. While some of them snore, I know many who don’t. My husband snores louder than my pugs.

Pugs are charming dogs, big on personality and yet small in stature. A latin term, multum in parvo, is often used to described them. Its literal translation is "much in little" but pug people like to say it means a big dog in a small package. This is an advantage for people who don’t have room for a larger dog but don't want the attitude or hyperactiveness of the other small breeds.

Yet, I don’t want the President’s family to have a pug. The problem with pugs is that they are challenging dogs. They require patience and attention and they aren’t the type of dog that is good on his own. They don't respond well to great variances in temperature, especially heat. Because of this and some other traits (they can have high-pitched barks and they tend to shed a lot for example) a lot of pugs end up in pug rescue or shelters.

After the movie “Men in Black” came out, pugs were suddenly in vogue. Everybody wanted to get one like Frank. But people didn’t understand pugs and more than a few gave them up or worse. My friends who have been working for years in pug rescues have had to deal with unwanted and abused pugs. They don't want to see anymore out there. Louie, our first rescue, is blind in one eye and deaf in one ear -- both from not uncommon pug ailments.

So, Mr. President, get sweet Sasha and Malia a sturdy everyday dog like a lab. Better yet, send a message to the unwanted dogs of America and get a mutt from the shelter.

But whatever you do, please don't get a pug.


Undercover Black Man said...

Great post, SOL. And Chamuco's a handsome little devil.

S.O.L. said...

Thanks UBM. And thanks for spotlighting my blog the other day. Chamuco is a real devil, that's for sure.