Welcome to the World of Pugs

by Lori Mohr

Our old life was over. In three short months, Lucy, our Pug puppy, had undeniably become the sun around which we orbited. She was our first. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect -- our newly emptied nest had left me free but floundering. Now, for the first time, I saw the world as my oyster...how could I have known a cobby little dog would turn out to be my pearl?

Shortly after Lucy arrived, our daughter Christine persuaded me to go with her to New York for the U.S. Open Tennis tournament. She loved the energy of a big city and Manhattan was the biggest of them all. But my husband, Larry, and I had given up the city and had been living in bucolic Ojai, a pastoral valley just south of Santa Barbara where upscale art community meets old California. Life was slow and sweet.

Still, since Lucy was in good hands, I decided to go. True, I wasn’t looking forward to the crowds, the noise, the rush and bustle, the heat and humidity -- all congealing in a subliminal irritation borne of trying to move at one’s own pace in a high-strung metropolis bending you to its rhythms. But the lure of tennis and Christine was enough for me. I booked the flight.

By Day Two, I was still trying to adjust to the hubbub of ceaseless activity when Christine and I stepped out of our mid-town hotel and headed for the subway to Flushing Meadows. Grabbing a Starbucks on route, we jostled through the throng trying to drink and dodge and hurry. That moment was a microcosm of everything I hated about the city. I was just about to grumble to Christine when I spotted a woman and dog about a half a block away moving in our direction. As my eyes traced the downward trajectory of her leash, a Pug appeared on the other end!

Without saying a word, I shoved my half-empty coffee cup into Christine’s hand and darted into the crowd. Forging ahead with fanatical fervor, I quickly closed the gap between me and the stranger. Suddenly realizing that she was my destination, the Pug Woman recoiled in a defensive move -- shoulders up, mouth open -- nervously yanking the leash closer in a reflexive reaction against whatever violation she imagined was about to occur. I reached her and stopped. She did not look pleased.

“Oh! You have a Pug!” I announced with the adrenalin of an undercover cop snagging his perp in a sting operation. Pug Woman remained mute for a moment, assessing my level of dementia before deeming it safe to respond.

“Uh, yes. A Pug.”

Exuberantly slapping my chest with my right hand as if underscoring the coming fact, I spurted, “I have a Pug too!” My grin grew even greater with the certainty that this proclamation justified my forceful advance. Pug Woman stood still, stunned. I went on. “Oh, this guy is adorable! What’s his name?”

"Uh...his name is Spanky. It’s Spanky." Clearly, the woman was still uncertain.

"Well, he is just perfect! So...staunch...and cute!...and look at that beautiful tail!" By now I had dropped down for a closer look and was running my fingers over Spanky’s lush coat and rubbing his ears, much to his pleasure and her discomfort.

"He is quite a good looking dog," she conceded, thawing under the warmth of my unbridled adulation.

"How old is he?"

"He just turned three." With that, she paused for a moment. But she went on, hesitantly at first, then with growing animation, telling me about the Black Tie Affair in Central Park celebrating Spanky’s birthday. I told her I’d never heard of such a thing, but guessed that Spanky must’ve cut a fine figure in his tux. She continued, describing the NYC Pug scene and all the social events, from agility classes to play dates. By now, Christine had caught up and was stealthily observing, ready to jump in and drag me away to avoid a ruckus if Pug Woman suddenly terminated the inquisition. As it turns out, we talked for another 10 minutes, laughing and going on about Pugs in general, Spanky and Lucy in particular. When we parted ways, both of us were smiling.

"Muuuthhhherrr," Christine chastised, grabbing my arm and swooping me along the sidewalk. "This is the city! You just don’t stop people and engage them in conversation!"

But no reprimand could penetrate the thrill of a Pug sighting. As Christine pulled me along the sidewalk, arm in arm, I could swear the sky looked a little bluer, the stuffy air supplanted by a cool breeze brushing my cheek. By the time we boarded the subway, I had a whole new perspective. What a town! Such vitality! Such friendly neighbors! The abrasive urban sounds had morphed into melodious white noise -- a sweet, harmonious din. In ten short minutes, I had gone from ‘outsider’ to ‘homie.’

In that moment, I realized with Lucy I not only got a Pug -- I had stepped into a universe bound by Pug adoration, the sharing of which could not be subdued by any protocol of regional culture. In that moment, I realized that no matter where I was, there would be other Pug sightings, other instant connections. In that moment, I realized I now had countless friends the world over -- kindred planets succumbing to the gravitational pull of an irrepressible sun.

No doubt about it, I had become a Pug Person.

Lori Mohr is a freelance writer living in Ojai, California.

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rubysmom (about 9 years ago)

Loved the article.  Really made me smile because I have found myself doing the same thing.  I just don't think about my actions being socially acceptable.  I can't help myself when I see another pug and it makes me miss mine when I can't be with her.  Thanks for the article!

rubyboobie (about 7 years ago)

Even my non-pug owning friends have been "pugged" by my Ruby.  They go up to people they see with their pugs and do the same thing, then they text me the pictures of the pugs they meet.  Pug fever is very contagious!

RosienMikeysMom (about 9 years ago)

i can't tell you how many times i have been away from home or even in town and have gone out of my way to say hello to a pug. as a matter of fact, a few weeks ago i was at the grocery store and as i got into the car, i saw someone walking a pug puppy from across the lot. i threw my bags in the car and just about ran over to the woman. luckily, every pug owner i have ever come across is just as happy to show off their puggy as i am to greet them. pug people rock!!!!

predatorpug (almost 9 years ago)

I totally did this while I was up in Whidbey Island, Wa.  I was visiting my sister and I saw this man from far away with 4 pugs and I tracked him down and got my pug fix.  That made me so happy and the owner was a very generous man and had adopted them all.  My sister thought I was crazy!!!  I'm so owned!!!!!

vinnythepug (over 8 years ago)

Oh Yes!!!!  I can attest to this strange human reaction.  Many dozens of times over the years while out walking my human I've witnessed this.  On more than one occasion a human has stopped his or her vehicle in the middle of the street with autos behind them to speak to my human. 

Many a times on one of my websites I've been asked to explain this strange human behavior.  My answer then was as it is now, "It's a pug thing, if you have to ask, you won't understand!".

On a more serious note, I thanks GOD to have been born pug.  To have been born any other breed than pug would have made me just another dog.   Come and check me out pugmates



Vinny the Pug




ZuZu0609 (over 8 years ago)

This article couldn't be more true, LOL  I think us as pug owners DO feel connected on some level and I don't think I've ever noticed that happening like that with other owner's of other dog breeds....we (pugs AND their owners) are defnitely a special breed indeed, lol

Laurie222 (over 8 years ago)

I am guilty of doing what the article says.  Just last week, I was in my sister's hair salon getting my hair colored - yes I had a head full of hair dye & foil etc & a big cape on me and another hairdresser said, "Oh a pug just ran by."  I got out of my chair & stepped outside (looking like an alien) & saw the pug & immediately called him over...he was chubby & precious & I just had to pet him & talk to him & he ended up following me into my sister's salon (she was not happy about that!).  The other hairdresser eventually found his mom & dad & he was safely home but I couldn't stop smiling all day!

KatB (over 8 years ago)

This article has to be the best of all. I have enjoyed reading every word. I believe the pug phrase for it is "I have been Pugged"! Once you bring one of these adorable creatures into your life, you have had it. There's nothing else better in my book. I to am one who has to go over to every pug person, and touch the pug. It is truely magical. The pug just draws you in. There's just no stopping it. I went to my first dog show, some of you remember. I own MinPin, Jap.Chin and two puggers. Out of all the people I talked with at the show, there was no doubt that the pug people were the happiest and friendlyest of everyone there. They didn't care if they were 1 second from going into the ring, if you asked to touch they would shove one in your arms. And say, Here! Hold Fred, I'll be right back, go in the ring, do the showing of another pug, come back, and continued to speak with me. Always with a smile, and willingness to talk pugs. Running up to other pug people, is how my Sulynn came to be mine. If I hadn't ran up and said, OH! Can I pet your pug? I have pugs. I wouldn't have found out she needed help with a new home. They are truely hypnotic.

lrvman (about 7 years ago)

I must say that Pugs are the most human friendly dogs I have ever seen. EVERYONE is a friend, and they just love the attention! Right now, it's torture for us as it's too hot to take our PugOLets out for walks. (20 straight days of 100+ temps) Took Puggers out to the lake to go for a swim with us, had her lil lifejacket on, and was swimming to EVERYONE who looked at her for a pet. Gotta get more of the lifejackets so I can take the others out on our next excursion!

Frankie2009 (about 7 years ago)

For sure! Me and the wife are Pug people....we didn't see to many until we got our Frankie. Now we see them everywhere. The best thing is that Pug People are so friendly like our furkids. I think our pug rub off on us, and everyone becomes your friend! lol I love when we meet one on the street with Frankie as it ends up a short play date, and it seems we always swap funny stories about our pugs and laugh and laugh. It is so wonderful! I am so glad I got pugged!  

Venus'sMommy (over 5 years ago)

Venus and I were out for a potty break yesterday and a lady was walking
her dog (not sure what kind) and she said "Oh, is that a puppy?" and I
said "Yes" I should have told her that she was a Pug! I loved this article

Tlstumpf1 (over 5 years ago)

this article is so me when seeing another pug for me and my husband we can't imagine having another breed pugs are loveable, extremly smart, just amazing,we love our babies where we live 2 of our neighbors have pugs its great!

mablemouse (over 5 years ago)

I loved this story! I often find myself pretty excited when I see someone who also has a pug, it's not very often that you see one where I live

MollysMum (over 5 years ago)

Love this story, this happened to me when I was getting my pug, Molly. Unfortunately the lady I had accosted wasn't so keen on Pug talk...