Margo: I will love my pug buddy | AspenTimes.com
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Margo: I will love my pug buddy

Alison Berkley Margo

I wasn’t kidding when I said I was getting a pug.

This came as somewhat of a surprise to Ryan, who kept acting like this was a new idea every time I updated him on my progress. There was a lot of, “What?” and “Huh?” and “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Let me remind you Ryan’s dog George (my stepdog) is the farthest thing from a pug. He’s a German shepherd the size of a small horse. He’s 100 pounds, 4 feet long and 3 feet tall when he’s sitting on his haunches (if you count the length of his massive, pointy ears). He has a very long snout and a wide head and eyes that are close-set so he always looks slightly goofy but highly intelligent, like an absent-minded professor. He’s insanely well-trained, to the point where it gets annoying because you have to convince him to break the rules.

George also is scary smart. I spend a lot of time with him, and sometimes he’ll just sit there and stare at me with this expression on his face like, “I wish I could explain all this to you. It’s so obvious. Why don’t you get it?” the other day I’m pretty sure I saw him nod when I asked him a question. Sometimes he’ll talk to you the way German shepherds will do, all whining and sighing. I really need to get that on video and post it on YouTube. I’ll probably make a fortune.

Walking him around town is like a full-time job. People totally freak out. “How much does he weigh?” they want to know. My favorite is when they go, “Wow, that’s a really big dog,” as if I didn’t know this already. I’m always tempted to say something like, “Really? And all this time I thought he was a small giraffe.”

I used to do the same thing with my dog Sebastian because he was really big, too. On the eve of getting my new puppy, I probably should think about the fact that I don’t have the best track record with dog selection. It’s true that I didn’t really choose Sebastian; he sort of chose me. He was born in the house I was living in at the time after the two resident pooches decided to “seal the deal,” and one day we came home to discover that they were stuck together. Before we knew it, we had all these irresistible puppies under our roof.

It wasn’t really a surprise that Rusty, a 14-year-old male yellow Lab, managed to sire the litter shortly before he kicked the bucket. That dog was the most perverted creature I ever have met. Not only did he constantly have a Boner, but he would sit there and pant in a way that was extremely disturbing, his whole body gyrating like a disco dancer. Also, he had this nasty habit of folding his doggie blanket over into these little folds and then humping it while my roommate Anna and I screamed, “Stop it, Rusty!” at the top of our lungs. It was really gross.

Rusty belonged to this pilot Anna dated who, it turns out, wasn’t much different from his dog. He cheated on Anna, and that’s when she kicked him out but somehow ended up with his perverted, old, dirty dog.

Sebastian’s mom was a mean old chow named Suki. She had the scariest growl I have ever heard, low and gravelly like she was gargling hot rocks. One morning I was alone in the house and shuffled into the kitchen only to find Suki guarding the coffeemaker, looking and sounding just like a lion. She would not let me set foot into that kitchen. She scared me so badly that I climbed out the window of my bedroom and drove to the nearest cafe to have my coffee there. She was a bitch in every sense of the word, but she was beautiful.

Despite his genetic misfortune, Sebastian was a gorgeous dog. His fur was almost blue-black. He had a wide head and barrel chest and stocky, strong build. He looked more Lab than chow, but he had a black tongue that gave him away, and for some reason, he smelled like grapes. He was the sweetest-smelling dog you could ever imagine, and he kept himself impeccably clean, like a cat, and he loved me with every ounce of his being.

And therein lied the problem.

God forbid that something should come between us, like a door perhaps, and he would rip that thing off its hinges with his teeth and claws like a dragon lighting a match. That dog ate doors, windows, fences and car upholstery. He frequently picked fights with other dogs, and once he bit my co-worker in the ass, but instead of firing me, my boss said, “It’s about time someone bit her in the ass.”

Everyone told me to put the dog down, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. At the time, he was all I had. That damned dog loved me so much that I couldn’t help but love him back, even if he was a liability.

The breeder tells me my pug will be lucky to reach 14 pounds. She’s fawn-colored with a black face, and every time I look at the photos the breeder sent, I can’t help but giggle. They say pugs are the clowns of the dog world and will keep you laughing all day long. They’re smart and willful and don’t know how small they are. I told my friend Steve that pugs are like trampolines and cruiser bikes — it’s impossible to be sad when you are around them.

They might be high-maintenance, and they snort and snore and are riddled with health problems, but something that makes you smile every day is all I’ll ever need.

The Princess is driving all the way to Kansas to get the damn dog. Email your love to alisonmargo@gmail.com.


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