Saturday, March 20, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 79

Taken: March 20, 2010, 12:30 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca.

Another shot of my old man pug, Louie.

The origin of pugs is still in some dispute. We know they're originally from China and they were bred by royalty for royalty, that they were mixed with mastiffs along the way, that they were intended as companion dogs and they are brachycephalic or flat-nosed dogs.  I've heard it said that Tibetans believe they are reincarnated monks. I don't care if that last part is true -- the idea is so wonderful I prefer to believe it.  My favorite term about pugs is the Latin multum in parvo, which loosely translated means "big dog in a small package."  They are every bit of that. For members of the so-called Toy Group, they are tough as hell,  smart, funny, motivated by food, stubborn as the day is long and, at times, among the most peculiar of man's best friends. They have personality to burn. Really knowing a pug dog is loving a pug dog. No two ways about it.

I'm biased I admit. Louie is the first dog I've had as an adult and I got him when he was at least five years old and had already lived most of his life on the street. He's had one illness or another almost the entire time we've had him -- is now completely deaf,  blind in one eye and nearly blind in the other. His cost and care have been a challenge to our hearts -- and our wallets -- but he has also been a light in our lives, an integral and ever-present member of our family, the ruler of the house. The day he leaves us will open an enormous hole in our hearts.

Since Louie is a rescue, people often say how lucky he is to have found us. I always say without hesitation that it's we who are fortunate to have found Louie. He changed us in ways deep and lasting. He brought love into our lives when we were struggling to find our footing in difficult times. He gave us a purpose when we were floundering, he gave us strength and as crazy as this sounds, brought us luck.

We've come to rely on the certainty of his being and his idiosyncrasies, his tightly curled tail and the happy dance he does when it's time for supper or a walk. His particular manner of being under foot without being in the way, his gentle snoring at night,  the way motorcycles turn him into a junk yard dog and how he used to tilt his head when he could still hear us say "ride" or "cookie". He's such a huge part of our lives that he is at one with us -- there is no knowing us without knowing Louie the King of All Pugs.

Chamuco, our recent pug addition, is making his own name among our friends and in the hierarchy of the household, but Louie will always be the man, our first, our one and only, our heart. I sometimes find it hard to believe how deeply Louie has taken hold in our lives, how much a part of us he has become. Perhaps part of it is because we don't have children but I know in my heart that there's something else at work here.  There's just something about Louie, something special and wonderful and magic. I just don't think his finding us (and vice versa) isn't somehow the work of fate -- that there isn't some grand design in play here that is beyond my comprehension.

On those days when believing in the void is almost impossible, I only have to look at Louie to rekindle my faith in things unknown.  A reminder that some gifts come in little packages with big hearts and flat noses and curly tails.

I shot this with my K100D and edited it slightly in Photoshop.

No comments: