Search “Chug the Pug” on this blog and you will find countless entries on this little black bean of a dog that came into our lives to help us through a rough patch, and then continued on his merry way,
chasing bulls out of the yard, showing up the bird dogs with his pheasant retrieval skills, snoring, snorting, howling and just all around creating hilarious chaos and merriment wherever he went.
He was a character in our lives out here at the ranch, one I loved to torture by dressing him up in a Santa suit and making him pose for countless photos.
A lap dog by breeding, Chug the Pug hated to miss out on an opportunity for adventure, proving time and time again that there are no limits, just mind-set.
My new readers may not have heard about our chubby little one-eyed pet because about a year and a half ago Chug decided to make his rounds to the nearest rigs and oil sites around our ranch to meet his neighbors, get his belly scratched and feast on table scraps and the occasional steak while he waited for us to come and find him.
It was a problem for us, all the kindness he was shown on these rigs, because it meant more wandering for an animal who could previously be trusted to stay within the safe limits of the farm yard.
And it meant that one day, when we went to retrieve him, he was nowhere to be found.
After a couple months of my husband taking daily trips up and down the highway, passing our name around to oil field workers who move in and off site by the days and hours, and checking with neighbors, I finally decided that Chug the Pug had likely hitched a ride with a lonely trucker and was sitting shot gun with a bandana around his head an his tongue hanging out the window, off to find a bigger adventure.
I liked that story better than any alternative. It helped me come to terms with the fact that I’d never see him again.
And that’s the way that it was… that was the story I’d tell…
Until a couple weeks ago when I found out the rest of the story….
Coming Home: Lost dog finds his way to the right home
by Jessie Veeder
I sat behind the desk at my office and picked up the ringing phone. Young and determined, we were in our third year of marriage, had just moved back to our home state, just lost our first pregnancy and were chin deep in renovating our first home in an attempt to get our grown-up story on track.
For two years our lives were covered in sawdust, paint and power tools. We worked during the day and in the evening we re-seeded the lawn, built a new staircase, laid carpet and lost two more pregnancies along the way.
You need to take out a wall? Get your hammer and break it down.
You want a baby? There wasn’t a doctor in the state at the time that could give us the blueprint for that.
When I picked up the phone that day, I heard my husband say, “I just saw a poster. There are pug puppies for sale. Little black ones,” he said. “I’m going to call.”
So he called. And two weeks later he brought home a little black smush of a puppy with a pink tongue and curly, wiggly tail.
Because we needed a distraction. Something else to love.
Fast-forward through six years filled with home renovations, new jobs, three more lost pregnancies, and a move out to the ranch, and that little pug became the star of our lives and the stories on my blog, his cow-chasing, raccoon-wrangling, porcupine-fighting adventures winning over the hearts of my readers across the country.
Until a year and a half ago when he decided to explore a rig over the hill from our house and didn’t come home. When my husband’s nightly searches didn’t yield any answers, I came to terms with the fact that I would never see Chug the pug again.
Until last week when I looked down at my phone and found a message from a stranger staring back at me.
“I think we have your dog Chug. Our friend found him on a rig and brought him home. It selfishly breaks my heart to message you but I just read your blog and I knew I had to … you can call me …”
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I dialed the number.
“He just loves cats,” she said.
“I know,” I said.
“And he loves to go out on the boat and swim … We bought him a life jacket … The neighbors adore him. He sleeps in our bed with us … he’s well loved …”
And then the line went quiet. Two strangers, 60 miles apart, connected by an animal, each with her own bond, not knowing where to go from here.
So we made plans to meet up the next day. I would be through Dickinson on my way home from my 20-week ultrasound, halfway through a pregnancy we never thought we’d know with the chance to see the dog that helped us through the worst of things.
I anxiously knocked on the door and was greeted by a woman about my age, a tiny little yorkie and a one-eyed, barrel-chested black pug with a little extra squish around the middle.
I reached down to scratch his chin and pull on his soft ears, and he looked up at me, as well-loved as a dog could be.
I looked at the woman with her clasped hands and nervous smile. She invited me in, introduced me to her friends who had gathered for moral support or to be witness to this uncommon story, and we all started gushing about this small world, missed opportunities and how my online documentation of Chug led her friend to help find me.
And then there was that silence again.
“I contacted you because if it was my dog I would want to know what happened to him. This is a tough situation, but …. we can’t have children, and these dogs are like our kids.”
I looked at Chug rolling around with the yorkie on the floor, then down at my growing belly and back at the woman whose struggle for a family was all too familiar and fresh in my mind.
“Maybe he came into your life for a reason,” I said.
Judging by the sighs in the room and the tears in my eyes, I think we all agreed.
And so the decision was made. I said my goodbyes and pointed my car toward a life we could only dream of when we first called that little dog ours.