Eunuch in the Harem

Help me out guys…I am really at a loss trying to figure out females. I live with one, and now two more. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, but sometimes a fella’ just needs a little time out from all the drama. Maisie can be a really annoying little half sister and while I know she loves me to the moon and back, she never stops sniffing, licking, or chewing me. I am a pretty patient guy but there comes a point where I snap – not in a mean or nasty way – I just turn and give it back to her. And here’s the kicker, she loves this the most! So what do I do? All I really want to do for the day, and evening too, is nap – napping is good and I need a lot of it. Let’s face it, I am a lover and cuddler, not a fighter or athlete. If left on my own, I could cuddle and sleep away my life. At any rate, now that there are three females, I am beginning to feel sleep deprived.

Cecily really doesn’t interfere because she is deaf and blind, but what she does do a lot  is bark. I think I heard that Mason did that when he became challenged. She is a good cuddle partner though. Daphne, like I think I mentioned before, is a whole different class of dog. She doesn’t want to share space with anyone, prefers sleeping alone, and only plays with you when she is in the mood. We learned very quickly not to “poke the bear.” She is alpha dog with a capital A. We respect her and never overstep our boundaries. So you can see there are three very different personalities working on me.

Now, the most fun for Maisie and me is when Daphne decides she is ready to play, and believe me, she plays hard! She has this disgusting old deflated, ripped, and shredded football that she loves to chase and chew on. When she runs after it we run for her, barking with all our might and nipping at her since we know nothing can keep her from that ball. We feel so brave and strong doing this since we are safe from any retaliation. I know, we are wimpy pugs but it does so much for our self confidence and allows us to have some interaction with our boss. Sometimes, though, she will get so fed up that she drops the ball and comes for us, giving that growl that comes from deep in her chest. Let me tell you, when we hear that sound and see her muscles bulging, we scatter like roaches. I know I sound like a sissy but really I am just protecting myself from harm. Daphne’s jaws are really terrifying.

I’m not complaining because our days are actually pretty stimulating (probably more than I need) but we are a pack now, and as most of you know, pugs like big families. Grandma runs a fairly tight ship and she always has my back when there is ever an issue…probably because I am the only boy. She calls me “Philly Lou” or “Philly Gumbo” and I love it when she does.

I’ve attached a small film showing the football game…

Til’ next time,

Philly Gumbo

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My Name is Phillip

Hi Folks,

I’ve been reading my predecessor’s blog, A Pug’s Voice, and I am blown away by all of the stuff Mason could write about…I mean I can’t even think about that much stuff, let alone write about it. He seems like he must have been some kind of a giant in the pug world. I think he probably would have scared me by all the opinions he had and how he was so smart. Well, anyway, I am no Mason, that is for sure, and I don’t know much about life. I do know I am darn lucky to have landed where I am and to finally be living with my half sister, Maisie. Now she probably has a lot to say because she is  always so busy. Me, I just love curling up with my Mama, sleeping in her lap while she watches tv. I really love being held, rocked, and cuddled with, anytime and all the time. Here’s the other thing…I really love women. Like right now I am spending the summer at Grandma and Grandpa’s with their two dogs, Daphne the Frenchie and Cecily the black pug, and I wait all day for the minute when Grandma sits in her chair and I can leap up into her lap. Oh boy, is that the best. I just completely relax and let my eyes roll back in my head and wait for “Calgon to take me away.”

Oh, my name is Phillip, by the way…named after Phillip Lauer of Pupstarsonoma. He was the one who connected me to Mama after Mason died. I flew up to NYC from Arkansas and have never looked back. Thank you, Phillip, for putting Mom in touch with Barbara Lair, who breeds the most beautiful pugs in the world, if I do say so myself! At any rate, here are Maisie and I, the next generation of pugs, living a summer on Cape Cod…not too shabby! The downside is the sleeping situation. Grandma and Grandpa cannot and will not share their bed with pugs (something about not liking dogs sleeping on their heads or wrapped around their necks…weird, right?) So, we sleep in the “dormitory” with Daphne and Cecily (Grandpa’s office). Here is the real kicker…just because Maisie and I have had a few accidents up there, we have been put into diapers at bedtime. I am not embarrassed but Maisie is freaked out, hiding her head, looking away, and asking me to help her escape from them, the diapers that is. I help her and she helps me so that every morning when Grandpa comes for us, we are both without the diapers. I overhead Grandma talking about getting us onesies to hold them on us…oh well, the price we must pay, I guess.

Well, I am going to try this writing thing so I can share a little bit of our summer with you. I know I can’t write like Mason but I will try to find some interesting stuff to share. Next time I will tell you about meeting our neighbor, Jimmy, the Greek fisherman, and the treats he gave us…and how much I miss Mama who is in Hawaii for work…oh, and how crazy Daphne is – not like Maisie crazy, but crazy in a different way.’Til then,

Relax and enjoy the journey,

Phillip

P.S. That is me sleeping while Maisie stays awake and alert…

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Dear Readers

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Tears continue to fall as I sit at my computer, writing for the last time, words about my beloved grandpug, Mason. As Mason’s “transcriber,” it has been my privilege for these many years to give him the voice he so rightly deserved. His passing leaves a gaping hole in so many of our lives and a silence that is nearly deafening. Never have I known an animal in such a tiny body to have such a powerful presence. He was engaging, charming, demanding, funny, loving (on his terms), masterful, beautiful, courageous, tenacious, and all-consuming. His connection to my daughter was something incredible to behold and I feel certain there never will be such a bond between any human and animal.

Bringing him to life was a completely organic experience. He did tell me what he wanted to convey and always with a dry, sardonic, and somewhat jaundiced point of view. He was a gentleman but a glutton, a romantic but a pragmatist, a mastermind but an innocent. He was always a study in contradiction.

To say that he will be missed, is a huge understatement. In time we will all be able to share the many Mason stories that have become part of his lore and cachet, but not for a while. Right now we miss him too much and feel his absence too greatly.

I have loved sharing his life and telling his stories, and really grieve that there will be no more. I console myself with the knowledge that at least his voice was heard and loved by so many throughout the world. We all wish to thank you for your notes, letters, and comments throughout this very difficult time. Your words give us great comfort and peace, confirming what we’ve always felt about this little pug. Thank you for your loyal readership, support, and love.

Respectfully submitted,

Sue Newman

Mason’s grandmother and transcriber

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The Devil Wears A Onesie

What a summer it has been, dear reader, and my silence is due only to Grandma’s endless stream of guests visiting on Cape Cod. We were fortunate enough, however, to manage four visits and enjoy all of the pleasures this beautiful strip of land and sea offer. And while I would gladly regale you with tales of my chivalrous and exemplary conduct, I fear the opposite is more the case.

Returning to New York always puts me in a more– how should I phrase this?–aggressive and machismo state of mind. The mellowing and soporific effects of Cape Cod go by the wayside once we cross the Triboro Bridge and zoom down the FDR Drive to the Lower East Side. The difference is palpable and this old pug knows the route like the back of his paw. Living in Gotham requires a fortitude and quickness of reaction that is like nowhere else on earth…and so I become Devil Pug!

It is not something of which I am proud, but there it is, dear reader, a fact of my life.

I am ashamed to confess that I did the unmentionable, the unthinkable, the most abhorrent of all crimes…I bit the hand that feeds me, my dearest and most loving mother’s. It was on a Saturday morning when we always lie in bed and play – I, on my back with four little legs pedaling the air wildly and mouth agape, exposing the few little tooth like stumps remaining in my head – that I chomped down on her index finger like a Wolverine, never dreaming for a second that my bite had any teeth (so to speak). Well, blood came forth as my mother yelled in great pain. I am a monster, a devil, an evil creature with no means of atonement. And without prolonging the suspense, Mom ended up in the emergency room Sunday morning with a significant infection in her finger for which she received both antibiotics and a tetanus shot.

Another incident proving my satanic qualities is my seizure of the loaf of bread she brought from California for Dad. She, without thinking, thought the bread was secure (you will remember my bread episode of several years ago that sent me to the ER) and of course it wasn’t. It was laden with seeds, nuts, and other delicacies not fit for a pug. I proceeded to gorge until I was discovered. You would think I had learned my lesson but here is the thing about pugs, dear reader, we have no memories of unpleasant experiences…only of pleasant ones. I remember that bread tastes good but not that I was deathly ill from ingesting it.

I will continue on my hellish, bullish way, climbing over Lizzie as if she were merely a bump in the road and something to overcome. I will use her as a pillow or else ignore her completely. And while I am not the vilest of all creatures, I am certainly deserving of my sobriquet in today’s blog title.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

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Hold That Fiber

There was a time, not that long ago, that this senior pug needed to be mindful of the calories he consumed. That, however, is not the case now…au contraire…any extra poundage I can add to my frail frame without putting a strain on the old armature is desirable. I need a small reserve for any physical emergencies.

Well, dear reader, my loving parents, in all of their caring devotion to and attentive focus on my health and well-being, neglected to change my kibbles to Mature Adult from Adult Light. Light formulas, as you probably know, contain an incredible amount of fiber, which allows Butter Ball or Bella to eat an acceptable amount of tasty particle board without gaining an excessive amount of weight. How does that work, you ask? Ah, there is the mighty rub. Butter Ball and Bella poop prodigious amounts daily, at any time and without any warning sometimes.

For Mom and Dad, that meant keeping yours truly fully diapered at all  times and still having to deal with surprise droppings whilst changing said diapers. Poop ruled and ruined our lives. What went in, came out speedily. No wonder this old pug couldn’t gain weight. Our last visit to the Cape provided the wisdom we so sorely lacked. Grandma asked, in her assertive, no nonsense voice, “Why are you feeding this poor pug Light food and then complaining about all of the poop he makes?” Mystery solved, happy pug, and happy parents. Sometimes old people and dogs know best.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Here I am, freshly diapered and onesied, chilling on Dad’s legs.

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Food, Glorious Food

Proverbs 23:2 proclaims, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony,” but that directive seems a bit harsh to this venerable old pug. So the question in my mind is, “Is gluttony really a sin sin?”  I mean, if one reads the Old Testament closely, there are such heinous crimes being put forth as sins that gluttony seems small potatoes when compared to carving up babies, sleeping with or coveting your brother’s wife, or even murdering your brother.

All of which leads me to my most recent brush with the grim reaper. I find Monday mornings particularly rich in one regard…they tend to yield the mother lode of culinary street treats, leftovers, if you will, from the weekend’s bacchanalia. For a low rider, such as yours truly, these treats are easily obtained and always worth the small effort. On such a morning with Dad, Lizzie and I performed our ritual sniff, circle, and squat. Lizzie, of course, has no interest in the treasure trove the Lower East Side provides a true gourmand, such as I, but rather performs her tasks robotically with a mind always on the return to her bed. I, however, faced an unusually large, intact pizza crust in the middle of the sidewalk I was traversing. With no thought, acting only on pure instinct, I scooped it up and attempted to inhale it. Before I could even move this monster crust into my gullet, it lodged in my throat, blocking my air passage. I flopped onto the ground like a fish out of water, in full seizure mode. My eyes rolled back and my little legs stiffened and twitched madly. I remember hearing Dad say something about how he’d be damned if this was how I was going to exit this world, or maybe it was more like “not on my watch, mister!” In any case he reached into my gaping mouth, pulled out the offending crust, and threw it away. Recovering immediately, I hopped up and resumed trotting along, watchful for new orts.

My relating of this little tale brings us back to the question of gluttony and its sinful connotations. I realize gluttony is deemed a venial rather than mortal sin, but even that seems extreme. Was I, perhaps, lustful or greedy, rather than gluttonous? Or was my sin a combination of all three?  A pug is unique in this world in that once fed, he/she is ready to feed again immediately. It is in our DNA, our hardwiring if you will, but does that make us sinners? I don’t have biblical or even metaphysical answers to all of life’s imponderables, but I know I saw food, grabbed it, and Dad saved my life so that I could live to eat again.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Mom wresting my bone from me…

Doing what I love most…

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“Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” Dylan Thomas

Here’s the interesting thing about old age, dear reader, it cannot be anticipated no matter how hard we try, nor can its form be controlled. As humans, you acquire your puppy and are charmed by its youthful antics, its high energy, and evident good health. As you cuddle your precious, sweet smelling baby pug, it is nearly impossible to imagine this amazingly vital creature as a blind, deaf, drooling, limping, leaking, foul-smelling vessel of canine DNA.

For those of you who have followed me on my journey into old age, you probably are very aware of all of my physical changes and limitations but unaware of the daily toll it takes on my parents. I think humans get stuck on their memories of us as we were and find it very difficult to move forward into our new reality. My parents face a daily struggle, involving elaborate “pilling” twice a day, changing diapers regularly, and adding the protection of a onesie. These are merely the physical requirements. Add to this regimen, my constant barking upon waking, sleeping, walking, standing, and between breathing, which drives everyone crazy for some reason. And because I am obsessed with any and all food, I cannot relax for any period of time, lest I miss a crumb or morsel. There are also the unwanted accidents that occur during the diaper changing and the occasional nighttime diarrhea events, requiring a butt bath, change of diapers, onesies, and bed linens. This life stage has the power of erasing the wonderful memories of the preceding youthful years. Sleep deprivation is a constant in our house.

The irony throughout all of these changes is that my energy level and vigor remain untarnished, and in fact, are probably even stronger than ever. I can, on rare occasions, even interact with other dogs, twitch my tail gaily, and prance about as a young pup (see my video on Mason and Lizzie’s page on Facebook). Mom and Dad puzzle over this phenomenon regularly and I try to tell them by cocking my head and panting wildly that I am not leaving this life quietly or passively. This pug is going out on a rocket ship, with an earth-shaking blast that I hope erases the memories of these last few years.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Here am I, tearing into Little Bear as if he were my sworn enemy. Even in the onesie, I look fierce!

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