Instigator…Idiot…Pug…

If I were a pug with one eye I would tread lightly in this world, understanding that my life is hanging on the fact that my remaining eye, well, remains.

If I were a pug I would have put pen to paper in my journal to detail each gory detail about how, exactly, I lost said eye. I would have made a special note on how it is best to stay in the yard for the love of safety and even though some creatures look fluffy and cuddly and similarly built, looks can be deceiving…and unbearably poky.

I would have written that down for sure. Then I would have underlined it and placed it right next to a sketch of the spiky animal who caused such misery in the first place.

Now I know if I were the pug I wouldn’t have opposable thumbs, but I would find a way. I would talk to someone. I would ask them to remind me every night before I kenneled up or snuggled on the blanket on the couch to tell me the story about how I approached a porcupine for a cordial discussion about politics only to come away with one of those needles he wears as fur poking out of the middle of my eyeball…

My favorite eyeball…

Yes, if I were the pug this traumatic event would be burned into my brain, because what followed was misery, three trips to the vet, stitches, drugs and several desperate attempts to jump out of the cone that was placed over my head to protect me from myself.

If I were the pug I would have not forgotten.

But alas, I am not the pug. I am a me, a woman who puts rolls in the oven to rise at 9 am only to discover that at 7 pm after the oven is adequately pre-heated and ready for the evening casserole, that the rolls I had completely forgotten about are done, saran wrap and all. Surprise!

No, I am not the pug. I am me, a woman who forgets things in her oven, but who will never, under any circumstances, forget how an injury occurred. I’m on my tenth or twelfth diary folks.

But the pug?

Well, the pug is the pug and the pug just happens to:

a. have a short memory
b. have balls of steel (those balls, of course, being metaphorical, because well…)
c. be an idiot
d. all of the above

And after yesterday’s events I believe I have enough information to answer the above multiple-choice question correctly.
Because as I held the stocky, determined, incredibly strong for his size, pathetic pug on the floor of my kitchen while husband worked to remove what I have documented as the third round of porcupine quills the animal has endured in his short lifespan, I grabbed my pencil and circled:
d. all of the above.



Now I admit there should have been signals that this animal’s intelligence is questionable. I admit I should have figured this was bound to happen again after witnessing how much gusto he put into chasing that raccoon off the deck…twice. And the rabbit that showed up, umm, not living, to my doorstep? Well, I’m pretty sure he didn’t commit suicide. 

So you see, I could blame last night’s incident on the lack of an eye, like maybe the pirate pug couldn’t properly assess the situation he was getting himself into. Like maybe he was blindsided… But as Pops pointed out, the fact that quills were poking out of his squishy nose right below the good eye, indicates, well he at least saw it coming. The quills inside his mouth finish the story.

The story that ends with the pug being labeled not only “idiot” but “instigator.”

Instigator.

Terminator.

Eliminator.

Dumbass.

Because even now as I type this I hear that shithead barking ferociously at some poor creature up in a tree or down in a coulee somewhere…

Yup, now he’s running around in circles down below the corrals, the lab on his tail, following the scent of some threatening vermin.

I just got in from screaming at him to come back, but he must have lost his hearing in that last porcupine fight. I swear to Martha, if I find myself pulling quills from that snorty snout again tonight he’s up for grabs.

Adoption.

A pug orphan.

Because even after a half-hour, four-way fight between me, husband, the pug and those damn porcupine quills, a fight the pug was sure was going to be the death of him; a fight that found him whimpering, bleeding, shaking, and begging us to unhand him; a fight that ended with a gallant victory by a strong man with pliers and a stunned and feeling-much-better-already-thank-you-very- much black lap dog curled up on the foot of the couch sighing deep, grateful, breaths of relief, it is quite clear that the third time is not going to be a charm.

When the pug gets in from his latest life-threatening chase, I’ll let you know what I think about the forth. And then I’ll give you the number of the mile marker where you can pick him up if you would like to take on the task of saving his life…day after day…

Cause I tell you, it would be my luck that this is the only dog in the history of the universe that has the potential to live forever… Despite the tiny brain, big balls, and all the odds.

Now, where did I put his safety goggles?

Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the pug

You know when your husband nudges you in the morning and so sweetly says “time to get up” and  you barely open your eyes enough to squeek pathetically back “I don’t wanna” and then in a huff roll over to finish that dream about Matthew McConaughey?

And then your alarm goes off, but not loud enough for it to rouse you from your coma and most definitely not loud enough to prompt you to throw the covers off and take on that meeting you so bravely scheduled for 8:00 am.

So when you finally peel back those eyelids you panic as you notice that you have exactly three minutes to shower, feed the dogs, round up the cats, find your pants, tame your hair, make the coffee (because coffee is essential) and drive thirty miles to town.

And in the frantic search for your pants, you curse your compassionate heart as the baby kitten you so gallantly saved from an immanent death, in her desperate plea for attention, attempts to climb up your exposed leg drawing a fair amount of blood as you dash to the basement for the laundry you left in the dryer.

Then on the way back up the stairs one of those hornets, (you know what they look like) the ones that have been threatening to swoop in from the sky and sting you all season, finally makes good on his promise and smacks you a good one right on the bare, pant-less, ass.

Yup. Not even on the nice fleshy part you have been growing all summer with beer and hot dogs and fried things, but the underside, the tender side that never had a chance.

And it stings. Oh lord it stings.

So you whimper a bit, and hold your hand over the violated flesh and stop only to find the little bastard and squish it in all your rage…

But you don’t have time to cry. Or to find ointment.

You have to get your pants on dammit…

…and round up the herd so you can bring home the bacon.

Yeah, I may have had one of those mornings…once or twice….

And I would take this time to complain, but it could have been much worse.

I could have been the pug.

The pug, whose passion is too big for his short, stubby body and who curses the day he was put into a stumpy dog outfit with short legs, a curly tail and a nose that has so much to give to the world, if only it were just a little more practically designed…like for smelling.

Or breathing.

But he gets by. No, he doesn’t let his body, which is much better suited for napping than for chasing wild animals around the ranch, get in his way. Because in his mind he is 110 pounds of fierce muscle and pure instinct.

Pure, animalistic, instinct.

See when the people are away, you know, earning the money that pays for their kibble, the dogs…well…

…there is so much to do out here when no one is watching….

Like chase squirrels.

Bark at the horses.

Dig giant holes.

Watch TV.

Chew on my favorite shoe.

Eat poop…all kinds of poop.

Swim.

Roll in poop.

Show the cows a thing or two about who is boss.

Run after deer with high hopes of bringing home a leg or two…

Eat poop…and…well you get the idea.

So while I was suffering through that meeting and trying to balance comfortably on one butt cheek, I imagine the pups were doing all of the above, having the time of times, a day of days, taking it all in so they could tell me about it when I got home (cause they were a little worried about me I am sure, the way I stormed out of the place)

But when I got home….the pug was gone.

But the pug is usually gone.

Cause his best friend lives at my mom and pop’s about a mile down the road and he takes that trek, against my wishes, every day. Sometimes two or three times.

Yeah, he’s in big, big trouble most of the time. So I wasn’t particularly worried as the lab and I went out for our usual walk,  just like the old days when he was the only dog. And it was kinda nice, but I didn’t tell the pug.

Cause he was gone.

Anyway, on my way home it was getting pretty dark and from across the coulees I could hear the pug yelping.

But I wasn’t worried. I figured he was being dramatic as his BFF was playing a little too rough. So I continued on my merry way, thinking about dinner, thinking about my bed, and thankfully, not thinking about my wasp sting. And when I arrived home refreshed from the beauty of the evening, a flush in my face, my lab loyally  by my side, I asked husband if he has seen the pug lately.

Have you seen this guy? 2 feet tall, 35 pounds of pure muscle, black hair, brown eyes.

“Nope.” He replied. Also, not concerned

“Well, I think he’s at mom and pop’s. He’ll be ok until morning. I am ttttiiiiirrreeeddd….and did I tell you that a wasp stung my bare butt today?”

I pulled down my pants to show off the evidence.

“Good Lord,” said husband.

“Good night,” said me.

And we snuggled down in bed proud that we were finally turning in before 11:00 pm and happy that we were going to finally get that full night sleep we deserve.

The lights went out, the pillow went over my head, my eye lids closed, Matthew McConaughey appeared again and….

“Rrriiinnnnggg, rriiinnnngggg…”

Oh shit, someone’s calling. Something’s happening. Something’s wrong. My sister’s in labor (this was pre-baby…she’s not having another one, don’t be crazy). We won a million dollars. We lost a million dollars. There’s an alien invasion….

“Uhhh, hello.” I said meekly when I finally found the phone.

“Ummm, yeah. Hi Jess? Dad here.”

Oh, phew…ok it’s dad. Not the aliens. Now for the terrible, terrible news. What happened. Who do I have to take to the hospital?

“Oh, hi dad, ” I said shakely.

“Yeah, hi. Ummm, well, yeah. You know your little black dog? The little one?”

“Yeah, I know him.”

“Yeah, well he’s over here and he found a porcupine….yeah… a porcupine. And I think he lost. I think the pug lost the battle, cause there are quills all over his face and in his butt. I feel really bad and don’t think I can hold him down by myself to get them out. I think you guys better come over here and help me.”

Now here I’ll admit I experienced a wave of relief knowing that no human was missing a limb and no babies were being born and no flying saucers were coming down to suck out our brains today…

But when the relief passed: Seriously? Seriously? Chug. Chug the pug. What the hell were you thinking?

“Ok dad, we’ll be right over. Sorry bout that. So sorry. Just thought I could get him tomorrow. Oh gosh. Sorry. We’ll be right over.”

After the moans and groans of husband cursing the day the pug was born and giving me a brief but stern lecture on how he was my dog and I should keep a better eye on him and that he just can’t go frolicking around anywhere he choses, he pulled on his clothes and his manly slippers and drove us over to the scene.

Oh, and I was expecting a scene. Because for how much passion and delusion that pug possesses, this was sure to do him in. In my mind pug was going to look like a dog shaped porcupine, quills protruding and spiking out from all angles, the pug limping and gasping and saying his last goodbyes.

But by the time we arrived, my very favorite pops had already removed the quills from the pug’s face and the only evidence of the apocalyptic encounter was left in about 85 good sized quills poked into his butt (I guess it wasn’t the day to be a butt).

And I felt for him as my mom paced back and forth as if this was one of her grandchildren who was enduring this hateful, quill removing procedure. I told mom to keep it together as husband put on his gloves, pops held the pug down and I shook my head and tried to calm the little dog down, pluck after yelp, pluck after yelp, by saying things in my sweet calming voice like:

“It’s ok, you stupid dog, this is what happens when you run away…oh poor puppy, puppy, if you would have stayed home like a good boy you could be snoring safe and sound right now…dumb dog, dumb, dumb dog….what made you think you were going to win that fight…oh poor puppy…poor dog…wish your brain was bigger, wish you would listen…sweet pug, oh pug, calm down…bet you learned your lesson there….puppy, puppy.”

20 minutes, hundreds of deprecating, but sweetly spoken words, and 85 quills later, the pug was free from the pain of his seemingly smart and brave-at-the-time adventure.

And because I thought the situation so grim and the hour so late  and my mind so groggy, I didn’t grab my camera…hence there is little evidence except for the emotional scars and the photos of the actual quills we pulled from the pug’s butt.

He survived.

So, once the pug was released from what he was sure was the end of days, I helped the boys clean up and looked around to find that the little dog had cowered and slunk and sulked his way right up to my mom’s lap. On the couch. In the house where dogs are not allowed. And both had their dramatic, sad faces plastered on.

And as I grabbed him up to take his wounded pride and wounded butt home, I was just a little disappointed that he stole my thunder. Cause that blew my wasp stung ass right out of the water there.

Yeah, sometimes that short little snorty nose leads you up the wrong tree.

And sometimes, just like momma says, there will be days like this.

I guess that’s why God invented band aids.

And moms and dads.

Hope your day was free of stings and pokes.