Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, or Did You Miss Me?

I know I know…my silence speaks volumes but, dear reader, my voice is stilled only by Grandma’s preoccupation with other matters (none of which could possibly be as important as my words). At any rate, I am pushing her to complete what I don’t consider an odious task, but rather a creative and informative pleasure.

My fourth of July was all a pug of my advanced years could hope for: a car trip cuddled next to Mom, green grass dotted with marrowbones, clam shells thrown casually about, lobster outdoors, fireworks viewed from the comfort of Grandpa’s Jeep, Four Seas ice cream, and a visit to my favorite animal hospital. No, there was no injury or illness…just a once-over by my sardonic, I’ve-seen-it-all vet, Dr. Munson. Mom was concerned since I am less able to navigate freely with the gradual wasting of my hindquarters, particularly the left hind leg. With his usual shrug and caustic tone, he assured her that I still “had game” and was in for the long haul. Reassured, she hugged me and professed her undying love. Frankly, I have no idea why she worries so. So what if I’m held together by duct tape? I have more enthusiasm and lust for life than most puppies I’ve seen. And of course, Lizzie performed her little “Oh Mason, I’m glad you’re back and so glad you are okay” dance when we returned. She is so disingenuous and I know this because the minute I left she was cuddling with Cecily, like I never existed.

The good part of this growing infirmity is that I am free to be me, and  dear reader, as any elderly human knows, one of these freedoms is to poop when and where I wish, without any warning. I apologize if I’m offending any of you,  but this is my reality. Yes, I do don the nightly diaper but it can manage only so much payload (forgive me again) and there are oftentimes escapees. And often, some errant stool, like rain from heaven, falls to the ground, as I either am  being carried or strolling through the house. Grandma and Dad are not fans of this occurrence. Of course that presents a secondary problem since Grandma’s domineering, alpha Frenchie, Daphne has a predilection for my sweet offerings. As I’ve often said, old age is not for sissies, nor the faint of heart.

Everyone was on high alert that weekend, always trying to  stay one step ahead of the inevitable. And  into the fray came Otis, the English bulldog, who vomits when he is frightened, but he spent his days at the beach swimming and body boarding.

I’m not sure how sad Grandma was seeing us leave but I know the weekend was magic for this old pug.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Ridiculous two females...Cecily and Lizzie just wallow in their girlish love for one another.

Daphne, the terrorist, on our boat outing over Memorial Day...

Otis at the beach, on a beach chair...His nose got sunburned because he spent every day in the water without sunscreen.

And now, the best is saved for last. Who could resist this pug mug?

Not too bad for an old guy. I'm in it to win it!

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Green Acres is the Place to be, or La Symphonie Pastorale

Last weekend, dear reader, confirmed all of my long-held beliefs that canines, like all other creatures of the wild, are meant to spend their days in the great outdoors…with the exception of bitter cold winter weather. Pugs would not survive long in such unforgiving conditions. Pugs do well curled up in front of a fireplace or on a soft sofa, safe from such challenging elements…but I digress.

Because Mom and Dad had to attend a wedding party in New Orleans last weekend, Lizzie and I were driven to Ct. to spend that time with our other grandparents. While their knowledge of and experience with dogs is somewhat limited, they tend to lavish us with treats, attention, and great freedom as compensation. I would never want to disappoint them by suggesting such treatment may not be in our best interest, and so Lizzie and I just go with the flow! Marrowbones awaited our arrival and we were free to explore their three acres for the most desirable chewing spot. I found mine under a large shade tree and was content to idle away most of the afternoon in this rewarding pursuit. Lizzie, however, liked following Grandpa around as he gardened, but then again she has never been very imaginative. I was able to take advantage of her absence by hiding her bone behind the tool shed, which afforded me great pleasure. I then remembered my former ploy of burying my bones in the tall grass and then appearing crestfallen before my Cape Cod Grandma and Grandpa. Assuming I had consumed them, my Ct. grandparents handed over more, which I hid for future use…kind of like putting money into a savings account.

I discovered living such a bucolic life gave me a brief return to my former glory, as I nimbly navigated the outdoors stairs without any assistance.  I was able to travel up and down at will, with no ill effects. How was such a feat possible, given the severe limitations of my hindquarters? I cannot answer this question but can only assume that the magic of such a weekend gave this venerable old pug a small taste of his former glory. Whatever the reason, my legs took wing, enabling me to forget all of the pills, pain, and palliative care of my daily existence. I know it was difficult for my grandparents dealing with all of the diapering, pilling, and bedtime issues but I want them to know their efforts were greatly appreciated. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for making this old pug feel like a young pup again.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

How perfect a picture is this?

Love this because Lizzie is behind the fence and can't get in

Yours truly being held while wistful Lizzie looks on!

Naptime

King of the yard with his treasure

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A Loaf of Bread, A Lot of Time, and Moi

The old saying, “no fool like an old fool” is certainly applicable to yours truly, and were I able to undo the events of the past 48 hours I would. I am, if nothing else, an extreme gourmand (not to be confused in any way with gourmet) and I have lived a long life in a daily quest for errant pieces of food, ort, and garbage. It is my “raison d’etre,” my passion, and my undoing.

Grandma arrived Friday afternoon bearing treats and toys, which I enjoyed to no end. We then decided since the weather was so fine, to walk to Epsteins for an outdoor adult beverage. Mom fed me a fair amount of French fries, which I inhaled, while Lizzie sat on Grandma’s lap just waiting to be petted by passersby. That outing and indulgence set the stage for what unfolded Saturday night.

With my bowels already quite roiled by the ingestion of foods not normally a part of my daily diet, I should have realized how important it was for them to rest. And after the “accidents” of Saturday morning and afternoon, I knew the wise choice would have been to relax and not pursue my food quest, but of course I could not obey that instinct.

Mom and Grandma left the apartment at 7 pm since they had theater tickets, which left Lizzard and me to our own devices for an entire evening. I remembered seeing Grandma carry into the apartment a large bag from Eataly, a remarkable food store on lower 5th Avenue. I was positive there would be something of interest within that bag but unfortunately Grandma had stowed it in the guest room, up on the sofa, out of my reach. Since I have little to no use of my hindquarters, I had to involve the village idiot in my plan. I will say this for Lizzard, being of a lower mental order she is always willing to forgive and forget previous wrongdoings. In a Machiavellian manner, I explained how important it was for me to acquire said bag because I felt certain Grandma had left a treat in it for us which she had forgotten to hand out earlier. Spry as a roly-poly little hedgehog, Lizzard sprung up onto the couch, snagged the bag, and hopped down. Pushing her aside roughly I inspected its contents, discovering a handsome 9-grain loaf of bread. This was the perfect choice so I searched no further. I must admit it was a bit too hearty for my palette, but I was a pug on a mission. It took five hours of serious chewing and swallowing but I managed to finish all but a small chunk of it. Finally I knew what it felt like to be full…so full I couldn’t drag my body across the room when I heard the key in the door after midnight.

Mom and Grandma inspected the living room quickly, ascertaining there was no evidence of accidents, while chatting about their wonderful evening. It was then that Mom noticed my bloated and distended belly. At that same moment Grandma discovered a little piece of bread on the rug and asked what it was. The rest is a bit of a blur…the discovery of the bag on the floor in the guest room, the small, uneaten hunk of bread, my hardened belly and inability to navigate the room. I was tossed into my carrying bag and off we rushed into the night.

Trying to hail a cab at 1 am in Manhattan is nearly impossible but my wild and crazy mom was successful. By the time we were heading uptown I began to pant, always a signal that something bad is happening in my lower intestinal area. Gas redolent of released yeast and stool filled the cab and Mom alternated between laughter and tears while Grandma tried to keep her calm until we reached the hospital.

An x-ray revealed an abdomen four times its normal size and I spent the night and next morning receiving copious amounts of fluids in order to move its contents along. It was not pleasant since the amount of diarrhea I produced required the shaving of my rear end, giving me a definite baboon butt.

The care and attention I received at the Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists Hospital, however, was phenomenal, but I was definitely jonesing for a treat by the time the acute phase was over. Sunday afternoon I spent releasing foul and noxious gas into the apartment but today I am right as rain, ready to eat my weight in kibbles.

And there you have it, dear readers, my weekend with Grandma. Mom said this little escapade of mine was more costly than a stay at a four star hotel and spa, and without any of the perks.  And no, I did not share with Lizzie.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

P.S. Dad was out of town so he missed all of the excitement.

Here we are this morning, Lizzie sleeping in Dad's golf bag and yours truly very comfortable on the floor.

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What Goes Up Must Come Down, or How Dumb Can One Pug Be?

Just when I think Lizzie has reached maximum capacity for stupidity, she trumps herself! And once again I am reminded of the earth’s incredible and powerful karmic flow; otherwise how could such a life-affirming event occur, bringing yours truly such deep satisfaction?

This weekend brought beautiful weather to Manhattan and afforded us long walks, great naps, and much needed cuddles. On Sunday, Mom decided it would be lovely to mix up some cocktails, grab a couple of succulent marrowbones and go to the roof of our apartment building, just to soak up the warmth of the spring sun. I was certainly game, with my tail twitching madly and my eyes darting about wildly, until Dad uttered the familiar question, “Where is Lizzie?” As I looked about, I quickly realized that Lizzie indeed had gone missing. What joy! What bliss! What unadulterated pleasure! My weekend went from an eight to a ten in seconds flat. The harsh reality, however, quickly reared its ugly head. My parents were frantic with worry and could not possibly ignore the situation. I communicated with passion, abandon, and fervor that they should not worry, that we should head to the roof, and enjoy ourselves as a perfect threesome…a holy trinity… without Lizzie.

But to no avail were my desperate efforts…a search ensued for the village idiot. We hunted high and low; she was not in the apartment, and not in the hall. At this point Mom was quickly losing what little composure she had, screaming, “Where is my baby girl? Where is my Lizzie?” I was sickened by such a display and could not understand her concern. Finally she pressed the elevator door, waiting for its stop on our floor. The doors slammed open and there stood the most brain-addled pug in existence. Did she hop off and throw herself into Mom’s open arms? No…she just stood there, frozen, as the doors closed, taking her on another journey. Mom and Dad both pounded the elevator button in order to bring Lame Lizzie back home, knowing they would have to snatch her quickly before the doors closed again. We couldn’t even calculate how long she had been traveling up and down since we weren’t aware of her absence.

Dear reader, as you can easily understand, this is not a gifted pug, and like the mentally challenged turkey who drowns in the rain from keeping its mouth open, Lizzie lacks all common sense. While I feel pleased to witness her sufferings for her transgression against Little Bear, it is almost a hollow victory.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Refresher: Mason + Little Bear = Love Affair

Again, another refresher...one dull and vacant looking pug and one highly alert and curious pug. The latter would not ride endlessly in an elevator.

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Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold, or What Goes Around Comes Around

As you recall, dear reader, when last I wrote, Lizzie had committed the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the most egregious of crimes against another pug — the taking of a prized possession and then defiling it. I did vow to seek revenge, even if it involved patience and planning. Never did I dream that said revenge would actually fall into my lap due to the carelessness of my dad.

On a typical workday morning, Dad assumes the role of pug caregiver, unless, of course, he is out of town. This Monday morning was no exception to our normal routine: we get up, are taken downstairs, fed our breakfast, suited up, walked, cleaned up after, and returned to our apartment. This morning, however, one of the steps was neglected, which worked to my advantage, as you will learn.

Upon gaining entrance to our apartment, Dad always goes to his bathroom, which is downstairs, and performs his morning ritual. I rest on the living room rug, which affords me a 360-degree view of our dwelling. Resting comfortably I became aware of a pleasant sensation…the absence of one offensive female pug. Yes, dear reader, Lizzie had been left behind. At that same instant, a frantic scratching sound began, coming from the direction of the apartment door. I chose to ignore it because suddenly my life was filled with hope, joy, and contentment; however, the noise became louder causing Dad to shout out, “Annie, do you hear that noise?” Mom was upstairs in her bathroom blowing out her hair and heard nothing. Dad again yelled out for her to listen. I, of course, remained mum, knowing that fate, God, or divine justice had bestowed upon me this miracle. Dad, in frustration, finally walked into the living room and listened, looked around, and shouted, “Lizzie!” He opened the door and there she stood…a pathetic little groundhog of a pug. She trotted wildly into the room, wagging and wiggling idiotically, and then sought out my company for solace and reassurance. It wasn’t as if she had been left outdoors in the rain or snow, but to see her pathos you would have believed otherwise.

There you have it, dear reader…a small piece of my greater plan, but one that will keep evolving until I am satisfied that she has been sufficiently punished for her sin. And no, I did not offer her any comfort at all.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

The Idiot and I

Little Bear and I, in happier times

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I Get No Respect, or Nobody Knows the Troubles I’ve Seen

This is a tale of two pugs…one good and one extremely bad. Surrounded by treachery, deceit, and disrespect I am forced to dredge up Rodney Dangerfield’s most famous tag line and apply it to my situation. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating…Lizzie is a sly puss, a tricky little minx, and not the innocent everyone believes her to be. She is the enemy, make no mistake about that, and even though I am physically limited (hence my undoing), I have experience, intelligence, and patience.

Let me explain. Last week, on a particularly boring afternoon, one where napping and restless pacing weren’t a viable option for either of us, Lizzie decided she would violate the holy of holies, that she would take the one sacred object of mine which even my parents are loath to touch…my little bear. If you recall, from an ancient blog, I have honed my shaping skills to such a fine art that Little Bear sports an exquisite belly Mohawk of unyielding stiffness. He is a prized source of comfort and release. Lizzie is well aware of his revered and inviolate status, and yet, on this day, she chose to transgress.

In her perversity she made a subversive foray into Little Bear’s safe zone, i.e. my bed. Snatching him up in her foul little mouth she trotted across the living room to the ottoman, where she nimbly sprung up onto its surface. Knowing full well I can no longer perform that maneuver due to the degeneration of my hindquarters, she proceeded to maul it wantonly in my presence. Horror of horrors…I thought my heart would burst with pain and anguish. How could she be so cruel? How could she defile this precious object with such casual abandon? At that moment I wished only to save Little Bear from her vile mouth and then destroy her. Unfortunately I could do neither.

At the appointed time of Mom’s return from work, that little she-devil pranced to the door, wagging and wiggling wildly. Mom, of course, greeted her effusively asking what she was so excited about and, I can scarcely believe it as I retell it, that evil strumpet led Mom to the ottoman where Little Bear lay. Mom wanted to believe, for a split second, that I had regained the use of my hind legs and had been able to make the leap. She was sure Lizzie was excited about my recovery. But, as you and I both know, Lizzie of the black heart and treacherous soul was seeking approval for the coup of her lifetime.

I am down but certainly not done. Vengeance is mine and I need only to wait for the perfect opportunity to rain down a revenge of epic proportions on this false pug. Patience and time.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Pure bliss...Little Bear and I sharing a moment

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For Whom the Bell Tolls, or Just Call Me Pavlov’s Pug

Lest you become inured to my frequent musings, I should assure you that with Grandma transcribing, there will be great periods of drought…but not at the moment. I am compelled yet again to reveal the inner workings of a highly adaptable, intuitive, and intellectually evolved pug, to wit: last night’s bedtime quandary and this morning’s quick response.

As you loyal readers are aware, I am a wearer of the “nighttime cloth” due to the weakening condition and lack of control in my hindquarters. This single clothing item has saved bed linen as well as my relationship with Mom and Dad. Last night, however, presented a serious dilemma. At bedtime, when the donning of said item takes place, Mom and Dad discovered the diaper was with the laundry, which had not yet been delivered. The realization of what this implied drove Dad to blame Mom and Mom to blame Dad. Why do humans always traverse that path? Like a spectator at a tennis match, I watched as the words flew back and forth. I hoped it might mean a costume-free sleep…but no, Mom had several solutions. One involved a hair elastic holding a piece of cloth together, another involved the wrapping of long scarf around and around my girth, and the final one solved the problem. She selected a cloth napkin, which she fashioned quite charmingly at either side of my slim flanks. I have attached a photo so you can see. Not only did it work, it also worked exceedingly well. It was, as they say in medical terms, a “clean catch” when Dad made his morning inspection. I would say the only down side to this improvised garment is that it does not leave my fetching little tail free, but that is a small point over which to quibble when so much is at stake.

Freed of this rather distasteful burden I scampered about as Dad prepared his breakfast of toast and peanut butter (a particular favorite of yours truly). And this is where you will understand the full impact of my title.

As the toaster bell chimed its cheery “Ding” I immediately went into a wild and frantic barking mode. Dad quickly queried, “What are you, Pavlov’s dog?” All I knew was that food was forthcoming and I needed to share in its ingestion. My barking became so frantic and demanding that Dad had no choice but to put me up on the counter with the toast as he prepared it. It afforded me the desired viewing and management position I obviously required, as well as quieted my straining vocal chords. A bite was offered and I accepted greedily.

Just another night and day for this pug living in the Lower East Side of New York.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Here it is, as I described. I think its colorful stripes suggest summer wear, don't you?

Look how cunningly Mom "packaged" me...I do have a slightly hang dog expression though.

Here I am, eyes agog, assisting on the counter.

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