I’m a cat person. That is, I prefer cats to dogs. Don’t get me wrong, dogs are swell; they just ain’t my cuppa tea. Friends’ dogs? Hey, they’re A-OK. Any pooch I can play ball with or run up and down the beach beside for a few hours is cool in my book….as long as I can go home without the burden of canine companionship. I imagine my thoughts on man’s best friend are much like the attitudes of those folks unburdened by children who find themselves at a family gathering which includes toddlers. You know how it goes.
AUNTIE: Oh, she’s so cute! Oh! Look at her little face! I just want to eat it up! Who’s a cutie pie? You are! Oh, yes you are! Oh, can I hold her? Wow, she’s so tiny! OOoooOOO! She’s smiling at me! Yes she is! She–
At which point the stunned, soaked, smelly relative hands the wailing kid back to the parents. Quickly thereafter, auntie swears to NEVER give birth to living young. Ever. She even considers a life of celibacy, just in case.
Now, all that being said, pugs are pretty goddam cute. I’ll give the little bastards that much. I mean, look at this guy. His name is Gene. He was so named because his tongue, usually lolling out of the side of his mouth by a good eight inches, so resembled that of legendary KISS bassist/God of Thunder Gene Simmons that the moniker was perfect. Personally, I think he looks more like Samuel L. Jackson, but hey…diff’rent strokes.
My lovely wife and I agreed to foster Gene for a while through a great organization known as Kentuckiana Pug Rescue. They do great work finding loving homes for otherwise neglected or abandoned animals. I know, I know…who in their right mind would pay top dollar for a purebred pug an then simply walk away from it? But it happens. Sometimes the new pet owners have sorely underestimated the financial cost of owning a pet or the time required to care for a living, breathing, furry member of the family. Sometimes it’s an even sadder tale: Gene’s human mom succumbed to cancer, and he needed a home. Simple as that. My wife and I, the good-natured, animal-loving liberals that we are, offered to keep ol’ Gene for a while. It was sort of trial run for us as well, as we’d considered adding a small dog to our two cats and two human boys. The boys wanted a dog, and we decided that the middle of the worst goddam winter in Ft. Wayne history was the perfect time to add another animal to our home. Not just another pet, mind you: no, another animal which required closely-monitored feeding (pugs will literally eat anything and everything) and trips outside to the bathroom.
You know what love is? I’ll tell you what love is. Love is going out in negative-ten-degree weather and shoveling a 40-by-20 patch out of the two-foot deep snow in your backyard for an animal to defecate in. Love is hoping that the plows come through again so that you can take the little bastard on a walk around the block. Love is picking up what seems to be a chewy Lincoln Log from the couch because somebody didn’t get outside fast enough. Love is putting the kitchen trash can up on the counter top so that the lovable bastard doesn’t knock it over and dig through it to find the empty microwave popcorn bag you threw in there last night. Love is dealing with pug breath in your face at 5:30 am. Love is your cute little ball of energy barking incessantly at the inflatable Santa Claus in the front yard.
But, yes, love is also a warm, fuzzy, full belly presented to you out of trust and affection. Love is also the squeals of laughter from the kids as that stupid beast chases his tail around and around and around until he falls over from dizziness. And, okay, fine…love is the feeling of happiness as Gene goes off to live with his forever family. Was it worth it? The heartache, the angst, the frustration? Fine. Sure. Okay, yes, unquestionably. Did I tell myself “never again?” Damn right I did.
So, yeah. This week we’re sitting for a friend’s pug. Goddammit. His name is Mr. Chubs. He looks like this.
And when he goes back home this weekend (awwww, so soon?) I will be quietly relieved. My cats will be delighted to have my lap back. I will be pleased to not have fawn-covered hairs all over everything and thrilled not to worry about stepping into what seems to be melted Tootsie Rolls on my way to the restroom. The thing is, I’m a cat person and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Hell, I’m proud of my status. The entire internet exists because of cats (citation needed.) Cats have even given me some of my favorite expressions; you could even say they’re the ‘cat’s pajamas!” And scooping a litterbox in the safety and elemental comfort of my garage in January is infinitely preferable to picking up steaming piles of dog waste at any time of year. So will I ever welcome dogs into my house again? Absolutely not. No way. 100% negative on the doggie-sitting. All done.
Aw, who am I kidding…
Jokes aside, kindly check out the good folks at Kentuckiana Pug Rescue. Browse the pooches, foster a dog, make a donation. And may the odds be ever in your favor…)