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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Ode to My Dad, or I’d Take a Grenade for Ya

Dear reader, I apologize profusely for my long absence but there were several contributing factors which prevented me from sharing with you the trials and tribulations of this old pug’s life…1) There is little to nothing happening during the season of cold and darkness. 2) We’ve been experiencing very challenging legal issues with our building. 3) Grandma has been busy with her so-called life. At any rate, here I am, poised and primed for regaling you with tales of my life in the city that never sleeps.

I dedicate this particular chapter to my long-suffering, but dutiful dad. He is a prince of a human (and I don’t say this lightly). On a recent evening, he took Lizzie and me out for our post dinner walkies and toileting. In his haste to complete this task, he neglected to bring the required baggies for waste collection, and of course Miss Lizzie, being the dutiful little pug that she is, quickly deposited her offering. Poor Dad though, realizing his oversight, ran into the tailor’s shop directly across from Lizzie’s “gift” and procured only one bag. Having averted that disaster, he led us on our journey. I failed to deliver, however, the much-awaited offering and Dad had no choice but to shepherd us into our building’s lobby, admonishing me all the while. Once inside, out of the cold, I assumed the all too familiar semi-crouch fast walk, immediately recognized by Dad as my signal of imminent release. With the alacrity and speed of one long accustomed to such emergencies, my blessed dad scooped me up and caught the unstoppable missile in his open and bare hand before it ever reached the marble floor. There being no receptacles in the lobby, my dad had no choice but to carry his prize in one hand into the elevator with two pugs in tow in the other. Once inside the elevator, Dad realized that tenants most likely would be entering our confined little box and then he would be forced  either to explain his foul smelling hand or hide the evidence. He chose the latter option and found a way to conceal the offending object by a quick sleight of hand, turning an open palm into a quickly flipped, reversed closed palm, hidden behind his back. Fortunately no one joined our little “lift party.”

Entering our apartment, Dad went straight to the toilet and flushed away any evidence of my effort. Mom could only stare in amazement and then give way to uncontrollable laughter.

And so, dear reader, there you have it…just another day in the life of a pug named Mason. You must remember I have no control of my hindquarters, so the humor in this situation is elusive to me, but according to my mom, my dad is one in a million.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Laundry delivery day...note my louche posture in a fetching onesie. Lizzie, of course, is just embarrassing.

Here we are, wedged into our little wheelie, being transported to Grand Central Station.

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Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen, or Oops, I Did it Again

Look at this face, Dad...eager and well-contained for the train trip

And here is the Village Idiot, sitting up on the sofa as if she knew what she was doing.

I know, I know, dear reader, that my lament grows tedious but there seems to be no end to the indignities I both must suffer and inflict upon those I love. As I have mentioned over the past two years, growing old is neither for the faint of heart, nor for sissies, and yet it is something both humans and animals must face. In addition to my growing incontinence, I have apparently lost my hearing. How do I know this, you ask? By watching the frantic and exasperated expressions on my parents’ faces while their mouths move and hands gesture wildly, I am able to ascertain that whatever sound they are producing does not reach my ears.

I do try to control what happens in my hindquarters but am rarely successful any more and yesterday’s accident set off my dad in a particularly alarming way. Since Mom is out of town this week, it falls exclusively to Dad for our care giving, and he is both thorough and conscientious; however, yesterday he failed to take us out before feeding us dinner and I was unable to stem my flow after inhaling my meager but long awaited meal. Dad then stepped in it, reacted violently by taking his urine soaked shoe and throwing it into the wall, opening up a sizeable hole. Lizzie and I could only stare stupidly (Lizzie’s normal gaze) in amazement. Since I am no longer of the hearing world, I could not actually hear his imprecations but I am pretty sure they involved my name.

And there was the ill-fated morning that I unfortunately released several unsavory offerings in the elevator and poor Dad had no bag to contain them. He, being a considerate and civic-minded pet owner, had no choice but to scoop them, run to the apartment, and flush them away, all the while invoking my name in a very derisive manner.  After explaining his anger to Mom, she asked where Lizzie was and of course it was clear one pug had been left behind. That’s right, folks, Lizzie was once again riding mindlessly up and down our building’s elevator just waiting to be rescued.

I must dedicate this blog to my dad who gives us such loving and efficient care on a daily basis, but like Job, must suffer the many trials I inflict upon him unwittingly and unconsciously. I love you, Dad, and wish my final years were not so challenging, but I have so much enthusiasm, energy, and lust for life that I am not about to bow out at this time. Bear with me and I will try my best to be a pug of fewer accidents.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

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Love Walked Into My Life, or Ode to Miss Brooke

As you know, dear reader, no greater love hath a pug than for his mistress, but I’m not going to lie, my love for Miss Brooke exceeds what passes for normal infatuation. When Mom and Dad realized their travel schedules were going to overlap for their away time, panic ensued. Who could they possibly find to care for their dearest treasures (Lizzie being a more tarnished treasure)? This was not something they approached lightly, but rather with a heavy heart and much dread. But imagine their joy and excitement when they reconnected with Mom’s sister’s oldest and best friend who also lives in New York. Miss Brooke not only loves pugs with every fiber of her being, but also has an aged family pug living on Cape Cod with her parents.

It was kismet, destiny, fate, call it whatever you wish, but from the moment Miss Brooke came to care for us I was lost. Her voice is like melted butter, warm caramel, sweet honey…all of those luscious tempting tasty treats rolled into one mellifluous sound. When she speaks to us we feel her love and adoration. And her smile….ahhhh. Her entire face becomes illuminated every time she smiles, which is a constant with her. I would wiggle and dance until I collapsed just to gaze upon her countenance. Her body is soft and warm, and to cuddle with her at night is one of my life’s sweetest memories.

She is never cross and always ready to love and hug us. Even when I bark incessantly (for which I have no explanation), she just smiles and asks if I am hungry! Fellow pugs, I have found nirvana right here in the Lower East Side of New York City! And guess what? She returns to us this coming week! Oh thank you patron saint of pugs for what you have so graciously put into our lives! And you know those embarrassing moments I am so prone to? She just says, “Oh Mason, you poor little love, let me clean you up, honey, and you’ll be good as new.” And then she kisses me. Maybe I’ve already crossed on over the rainbow bridge, folks, and this is heaven. If not, then it is heaven on earth.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

I have included a short film that Miss Brooke took having a conversation with me. Listen to the sweetness of her voice.

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Sniffing for Truffles, or Suitcase Secrets

First, dear reader, I am well, relatively happy, and trying to enjoy what few pleasures remain for a pug of my advanced years and infirmities. While I was unable to spend an entire summer on my beloved Cape Cod due to a vicious Frenchie named Daphne, who for some unexplained reason goes into a blind rage just seeing me walk about in “my home” (remember I was there first), and lack of bladder and bowel control, I was able to enjoy quite a few visits. Grandma has had company all summer and was unable to write her usual timely updates for me. She does, however, keep readers informed on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mason-and-Lizzie/44314065749) and you should always check it out if you are concerned for our (read “my”) welfare.

As many of you may recall, I had a very serious episode this spring when I devoured Grandma’s 12 grain seeded bread in its entirety. Well, as Grandma is wont to say, “There is no fool like an old fool” and I guess those words are applicable to yours truly. But honestly, folks, this pug is starving…really! Is it too much to ask, at this stage of my life, that I be given working dog rations? After all, I bark incessantly, burning countless calories.

My mom’s sister from California was visiting and she very generously left her suitcase open, the guest room door as well, and then departed for the day with Mom, leaving Lizzie and me unattended. My nose quickly ascertained that there was some kind of food in her bag and so I enlisted the aid of my stupid but faithful sidekick…Lame Lizzie. Always eager to please me and gain my praise, she hied to, foraged wildly like a boar rooting for truffles, and came up aces! What a veritable treasure trove she unearthed in this copious bag…a sealed plastic bag with individually wrapped rice cakes dipped in carob. What joy! What bliss! What unadulterated euphoria! I can tell you honestly that I, not for one New York minute, hesitated before giving that plump little woodchuck the green light for opening these treats. She neatly scissored, on their seams, each little package and laid its contents at my feet. No frantic ripping and rending for that squirrely little pug…oh no, Lizzie’s approach is meticulous and precise, never giving a hint of her presence, other than the missing food.

I enjoyed myself thoroughly and was resting comfortably when the hammer fell. Home came the humans and Mom and her sister quickly discovered our activity. I was too sated to protest or throw Lizzie under the bus…and so I took my punishment like a man (a little man). Fortunately for me, there were no severe consequences necessitating a trip to the ER but I confess there was a copious amount of waste the next few days and I was denied dinner that night.

So, what could have ended poorly didn’t and I am right as rain again, ready to face whatever adventures fall into my lap (a little play on the current autumnal season).

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Killer, right?

One of my favorite summer activities...driving Grandpa's Jeep

Ship of two fools...Lizzie and Cecily at sea --- literally

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