When I’m out and about in the world–working, shopping, grabbing a drink with friends–there’s a common question people from all corners of my life make sure they stop to ask me. It isn’t “how ’bout that weather,” or “how’s the new house coming along?” (the answer is “slow” in case you’re wondering). No, it’s not even “why’s your hair weird?” or “where’s your husband?”
It’s “How’s the pug?”
Followed by “Any more run-ins with porcupines?”
And then “Does he still think he’s a cat?”
“Has he peed in your husband’s boot lately?”
And finally “Oh that dog, he makes me laugh.”
The damn pug. Everyone just loves him.
These days, as his behavior has moved further away from domestic lap dog and closer to wild hound I’m trying to figure out, despite all of the reasons I shouldn’t, why I don’t send that damn dog packing.
Because as I run through the answers to the questions it’s pretty evident that’s exactly what I should do.
I should just let him run away like the wild wind he thinks he is, tell him that the next time he hits the road, curly tail in the air, nose to the ground sniffing out which oil rig or neighbor has steaks on the grill, I should just leave him there to fend for himself.
I had this discussion with myself yesterday when a friend I work with in town popped in my office to tell me she had received a phone call.
About the pug.
See I hadn’t seen him ever since I pried him off of the couch a few days earlier and shoved him out the door to find a spot to poop.
Well apparently he likes a little privacy to do his business away from the house…like far away.
And apparently it takes him a while…or maybe he just gets distracted by things like butterflies, wandering coyotes, the herd of cattle up the road and, well, life in general.
Each time he goes missing I imagine him sitting shotgun in a big rig finally fulfilling his dream of traveling the country by highway, front paws up on the edge of the open window as he leans into the wind, letting it blow through is floppy ears sending the drool trailing off with the dust of the 18-wheels. I think of him looking over at the truck driver with the white beard, bald head and Harley Davidson t-shirt, and saying something like “Hey, thanks for picking me up man. I’ve been trying to get out of here for years. Life on the road…now this is livin'”
In my imagination the pug’s voice sounds like one that would come out of the lungs of a middle-aged biker who’s been smoking cigars and Marlboro Reds his entire life.
Anyway…it’d been a few days since I’d seen the damn dog, but I wasn’t concerned. Aside from the one recent episode where my momma was on her way home from a trip to the city and spotted a black dot out in the middle of our neighbor’s pasture nearly four miles away from home, the dog has generally been making his regular rounds. When I decide it might be time to get him back on his diet, I’ll get in the pickup and start my searching ritual: up to the oil site south of the house, then the one across the road. If he’s not there, I’ll check mom and dad’s. If he’s still MIA, he’s usually at the rig near the highway.
It’s getting ridiculous, but each time I arrive to load his fat ass into the pickup I have to spend a good ten to fifteen minutes talking to the guys about how awesome he is, how bad-ass he looks with one eye, how much fun they had with him and how they fed him T-bones and let him sleep in their campers with them that night.
No wonder the little bastard won’t stay home.
How can I compete with T-bones?
Anyway…back to yesterday. The pug was missing and I was starting to get a little concerned because he wasn’t in any of his usual locations. And the lab was home.
When the lab is home and the pug is not, that’s when things get hairy. The pug, left to his own devices, has the potential to go rogue and stay that way until someone comes looking for him. And he never calls to tell us how late he’ll be out.
But I decided I had reached an all-time low when I got a phone call about the bandit AT WORK!
This electrician who had been working on a site on the highway tracked me down to let me know that the little shithead had been hanging around the site for days (shithead might have been my word and not his) and I suddenly felt like a mother who’s kid had been sent to the principal’s office.
And I would have never thought to check there. The pug would have been missing forever, because Lord knows he wouldn’t have made his way home until he was certain there were no more steak dinners coming out of those campers.
So on my way home from work I got to make a pit stop to pick up the pug who pretended like he didn’t hear me when I called his name across the muddy field.
But when our eyes finally met he did do me the service of at least acting happy to see me. Like he suddenly remembered he had a previous life away from this construction site. A life that maybe wasn’t so bad after all…I mean, I do occasionally let him sleep on my favorite blanket and feed him leftover dinner scraps. Come on buddy, what more do you want from me?
But I guess I’ll keep him…
tied up in the yard with a “For Giveaway” sign tied around his neck.
You love him? Come get him!