Tag Archives: treat

Master of the Moment and Still Leader of the Pack

I must share a small story with you, dear reader, because it illustrates so well the folly of youth and the wisdom of age, which is not to say that I wouldn’t trade any young whipper-snapper his foolish youth for my venerable old age.

As you loyal readers must remember, Lizzie and I have a long-standing relationship with Aaron, Grandma and Grandpa’s UPS driver: he delivers packages to them and biscuits to us. But now there are two new “young-uns” interfering with what has been a perfectly fine arrangement for these past few years. Aaron said that we have to share two biscuits four ways because the number of dogs on his route has increased wildly and he cannot afford to stock so many treats. While that is perfectly understandable since he covers this expense himself, it does cut into the amount I actually get for myself. I am not a mean-spirited pug, as you know,  but I’ve learned that I must look out for yours truly because no one else has such a vested interest!

My tale is pithy but deep. One recent afternoon, Grandpa took all four of us for a walk (we do present quite a sight) and on our return I needed to relieve myself once more. This occurred on our street, right before we turned into our driveway. Knowing I have the homing instincts of a trained pigeon, Grandpa let me off leash and I promptly trotted up to the front door. As he approached with the three females, he told me the door was locked and to come in back with him. I, however, had already spied the UPS packages on the front stoop and was not going to budge, since I knew there would be two cookies resting on top of them. The silly little girls went obligingly off with Grandpa while I sorted out Aaron’s offering. By the time Grandpa and the girls came into the house and unlocked the front door, I had consumed both cookies and was wagging my tail enthusiastically. The three were none the wiser, not being the seasoned veteran that I am, and just welcomed me in as the long-lost final member of the pack.

I swear to you, biscuits have never tasted quite this good. Lesson: don’t assume that old age equals loss of mental acuity.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

At the helm again, in control, master of my domain!

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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, or Just Give Me a Treat

What a splendid farewell to summer we enjoyed the past week. Boating, clamming, feasting, walking, sleeping, and cuddling with Mom and Dad topped off our summer on Cape Cod. While Lizzie and I will remain here for another month since Mom and Dad are busy with market and travel, we are very aware that fall is in the air. Grandma and Grandpa will return us to Manhattan the first part of October, and then our winter lives will begin.

I am mindful of all the attention and care we’ve received throughout the course of our lives and it started me wondering why praise is such an integral part of the dog experience. I noticed that cats rarely, if ever, receive praise for going to their litter box or eating their dinner, while dogs are showered abundantly with praise for every little task they perform. Are we slower, more susceptible to such basic a reward? Or, are we more intelligent and therefore recognize and require verbal signals?

The thing is, I am almost nine years old and I really don’t need someone hovering over me when I’m relieving myself, saying “Mason, what a good boy,” or “Fine job, Mason!” I’m sorry but truthfully all I require is a nice carrot or biscuit after completion of my outdoor business. And honestly, dear reader, if I didn’t receive a treat afterwards it wouldn’t cause me to stop performing these functions. I would be angry, whiny, and obnoxious, but I would still need to do what I’m put outdoors to do.

People praise their children when they are toilet training them just as they do their dogs, but at least they stop the praise once they are trained. Why not with their dogs? Maybe I am dwelling too much on something of no consequence but it has struck me lately that we dogs receive praise long after our training is complete. I, for one, believe that a food treat is ample reward, requiring no verbal assistance. Cats are just so weird that I think people figured out, early on, that anything said to a cat is wasted. They pretty much do as they please and when they please.

And there you have it…more deep thoughts from a pug named Mason.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

The essence of summer...Mom, Dad, Lizzie, and I all napping in Grandma's tv room. Pure bliss for this pug!

The essence of summer...Mom, Dad, Lizzie, and I all napping in Grandma's tv room. Pure bliss for this pug!

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Agility Training For Pugs…An Oxymoron, or Just Give Me The Treat, Grandma

My version of weave is avoid

My version of weave is avoid

My life, so far, has been fairly undemanding and probably unproductive, which suits me fine, thank you very much. For some bizarre and unexplained reason, Grandma has taken up the notion that I would enjoy learning and performing the physical feats of a trained circus dog. As a result of acquiring these skills, goes her theory, I will become a much happier and more fulfilled pug. Au contraire, Grandma! I like my life just the way it is.

This week, however, brought stress into my stress free existence. Out came the newly purchased stakes…ten of them…planted strategically in a long row, 1 to 2 feet apart, in the back yard. Grandma proceeded to put me in my harness and leash, show me a fist full of tasty treats, and then lead me outside to the row of said stakes. Her voice was filled with a whole lot of encouragement and, what I later discovered to be false, bonhomie. After viewing the treats again, I was forced to “weave” through each of these stakes with the proffered treats always in view. Grandma kept repeating the dreaded “weave” and I, realizing what was being asked of me, stubbornly dug in all four feet while my harness was being pulled to the point of serious separation. Upon completion of this torture trail, Grandma forced a hearty, “Good job, Mason” and rewarded me with a tiny morsel. At this point, I felt I was okay because at least it was over; but no, again she started with the weave command. I couldn’t believe it! My grandma, who usually is tuned in to my every nuance, expression, and reaction, just forged ahead in her resolute determination of making me fulfill her dream — producing a superb agility pug.

Fortunately, and I cannot believe I am saying this, goofy old Lizzie waddled out, looked at my misery, and decided she would enjoy this game. She started walking in and out of the stakes, just to be near me, and Grandma suddenly said, “Why Lizzie, you may be a better candidate. Let’s get your harness on and try it.” Thank you Lizzie! I was free…never again would I be subjected to such folly!

You must weep for me, dear reader, because my once beloved granny was not done with me. She has made me revisit this medieval torture, this cruel practice every day. I am not doing any better and yet she persists. Somebody please put an end to this for me. Maybe an intervention is needed? Didn’t she get the memo that pugs are lap dogs?

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Here is view from the upstairs landing of my torture course.

Here is view from the upstairs landing of my torture course. Lizzie is stupidly staring at the stakes and wondering what they are.

As you can see I have removed myself from the danger, while Lizzie "weaves."

As you can see I have removed myself from the danger, while Lizzie "weaves."

Yours truly beating a hasty retreat before being driven back to the stakes.

Yours truly beating a hasty retreat before being driven back to the stakes.

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name, or I Feel Your Pain

Here’s the thing, dear reader, a trip to the vet shouldn’t be the highlight of a pug’s day and yet surprisingly for me it is. After all that I’ve suffered at the Cape Cod Animal Hospital, you would think that is the last place I’d ever want to revisit, and yet I love going. First of all, I get respect, love, and lots of attention from the staff and doctors, as well as extraordinary treats. There are containers of freeze dried liver bites in each of the examining rooms, and I swear to you that I could endure any form of canine torture any tech or doctor could inflict just to consume one of these sublime nuggets. They are as close to receiving holy communion wafers as a pug can get.

I love walking in the front door and hearing, “Hey Mason, how’s it going buddy?” I love trotting over to the other patients and greeting them as if I were welcoming them into my drawing room. I like to think of myself as the gracious host at a social gathering of eclectic friends when I’m in the waiting room.

My excitement builds as I am ushered into one of the examining rooms. Knowing that I will be the focus of all attention for the next five to fifteen minutes is heady stuff. I become hyper-alert, pose as a show pug with my tail twitching bewitchingly, and lock eyes onto my target. Today was a simple blood draw to check my T-4 level. The tech is an old fan of mine from last summer…the only male tech in the hospital. He and I bonded and shared our maleness during “the bad time,”  and we always reconnect in a very masculine way whenever I come in. In order for the rest of this exposition to have meaning, I must refer you back to my entry of Dec. 27th, “All I’m Asking For Is A Little Respect,” so that you understand to what he refers when he asks Grandma how I’m doing. When she honestly answers that I am fine, he then says, sotto voce, “I mean, you know, about the other business of last summer…I felt so bad for the little fellow. Does he, ummmm, seem, ummm, okay with it, you know…I mean it’s gotta be kinda uncomfortable for him, you know?”  He clearly felt I would be horribly embarrassed by his reference to the unpleasantness of last summer, hence the whispered conversation.  I, however, was nearly beside myself, waiting for him to take the blood so I could get my d— liver treat.

The blood was drawn smoothly and painlessly and I hit the floor poised and primed for my reward. I think in remembering last summer’s surgery, the tech felt such empathy for me that he started just throwing the treats at me. I didn’t even have to pose or beg because he was so moved by my courage and spirit. Little did he know that there are no limits to what I will suffer for a little treat.

Ah, another successful foray into the world of animal medicine for a clever pug!

Respectfully submitted,

 

Mason

 

Who's the man? A glorious head shot of yours truly proving clearly my masculinity

Who's the man? A glorious head shot of yours truly, proving clearly my masculinity

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If You’re Fond of Sand Dunes and Salty Air

Ah, Paradise found! Here I am back in the bosom of culinary abundance. Grandma greeted us with incredible peanut butter cookies and liver treats from a wonderful dog bakery, mydogcatering.com, and the best bully sticks (see Jan.19th, “For Pug’s Sake, Grandma, Hurry Back” blog) ever from bestbullysticks.com. These companies heard my plea for more treats and then followed through in the most generous of ways. I wish I could thank these people personally but they know the depth of my gratitude. And so, dear reader, don’t hesitate if you feel so moved in this same direction.

The trip itself was uneventful. Mom, despite her growing anxiety about the drive, was magnificent. She found her driving legs again and I feel confident there will be more road trips with her at the wheel in our future.

Redolent with all of the scents I last described, the Cape instantly transported me to that magical place of memory as I trotted about the back yard. There were long forgotten marrowbones and reminders of recent dog visitors. Intoxicating for a pug!

I found it hard to relax and let down my vigilance, but Lizzie, of course, immediately reverted to form and curled up on the couch with Mom for a nap. I, however, knew that Grandma keeps a never-ending supply of goodies, and a clever pug knows how to play the “I’ve just arrived, I’m confused, and a little unsettled” card in order to parlay a tiny treat.

Two Scottie dogs came for a visit in the afternoon and the male promptly “went” for me in a vicious domineering way. I  am a very peaceful, tolerant pug until a dog (of any breed) tries to mount me (I wish I could be more subtle, dear reader). This act is unacceptable and I will defend myself to the death,if necessary. I had no idea those little dogs had teeth like a barracuda! I think I deported myself well and retained my dignity in the face of such rude behavior.

 All in all, it was a splendid beginning to our summer.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

Look at Lizzie working on her delicious bully stick. I don't know why she chews with her butt in the air.

Look at Lizzie working on her delicious bully stick. I don't know why she chews with her butt in the air.

 

Grandma is doling out the iced cookies. I'm the one sitting nicely.

Grandma is doling out the iced cookies. I'm the one sitting nicely.

 

You can see the pug/Scottie interaction here. This is before it became ugly.

You can see the pug/Scottie interaction here. This is before it became ugly.

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Mistakes Were Made, or I’ll Take A Pug Latte, Please

Alas and alack, I fear yesterday did not begin auspiciously for yours truly and his consort, Lightweight Lizzie. There was nothing unusual about the morning, except that Dad decided to chill the coffee after it brewed. As most of you probably know, a glass pitcher may not be the wisest choice of container for scalding hot coffee. To add to this unwise decision, he then placed it in the refrigerator. Now you must understand that mornings at our house are pretty hectic; what with walking Lizzard and me, then feeding and medicating us, showering, dressing, making coffee and lunch, and racing to the subway, it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that mistakes will be made.

 After the feeding, we like to hang about in the kitchen, waiting for the possible crumb, accident, or  treat. Lizzie was standing quite close to Dad’s leg when tragedy struck. I, however, in my infinite wisdom, had the good sense to stand back from the immediate scene, affording me a better vantage point for assessing everyone’s activity.  Knowing I have the reflexes of a wild cat and can move in swiftly when speed is necessary, allowed me a degree of comfort and confidence. You have to wonder about the random nature of the universe when something unexpected, like what happened next, occurs. Mom opened the refrigerator door, noticed coffee leaking, I observed that Lizzie had moved too close to Mom for my liking and I assumed she was being offered a treat. Mom picked up the pitcher, whose bottom immediately fell away onto the floor, spilling copious amounts of lukewarm coffee  all over Lizzie, as I lunged for her throat in an attempt to wrest from her the treat I imagined she had scored. Only Brueghel could have painted a more disturbing scene!

 It was late, my parents had to dash, and I saw poor miserable Lizzie receive a hasty toweling. I am afraid she was forced to spend the rest of the day drenched in caffeine. What a pity it hadn’t been hot fudge sauce, gravy, or raw eggs. I have no interest in coffee so I couldn’t even lick her. Oh, and there is also the piece about my going for her. No, there was no treat; she was just an unsuspecting victim of a morning disaster. I did feel sorry for her but truly she does go into this bizarre zone where she loses all sense of time or place.

 Well, dear reader, you can see the paucity of excitement in our pug lives since I must resort to reporting such a morning.

 Respectfully submitted,

 Mason

 

I had to show you this even though it has nothing to do with the incident. Lizzie sleeping on the Sunday New York Times...what an inspiring pug!

I had to show you this even though it has nothing to do with the incident. Lizzie sleeping on the Sunday New York Times...what an inspiring pug!

 

I think the contrast is fairly obvious. You will never catch me sleeping on the NY Times!

I think the contrast is fairly obvious. You will never catch me sleeping on the NY Times!

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You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello or A Pug’s Request For Honesty

How many of you are guilty of the following: you’re getting ready to leave the house for an appointment, errands, work, or holiday, and out of guilt, you go through a much too lengthy process of saying goodbye to your precious pug(s)? Whether to expiate or soothe your troubled conscience, you promise, in a voice tinged with concern, to bring Snookums a cookie, treat, or take him on an extra long walk. At this point, even the slowest pug gets that you are running some jive by him, and he reacts in a way designed to prolong your leave taking even more.

Let me make a suggestion, dear reader, think less of yourself and more of the about to be deserted pug. Make the adieu brief, firm, but with the promise (and actual delivery) of a treat upon your return. Your guilt makes us nervous and unsettled. We can only imagine the worst…Am I going to be neutered again? Are my parents leaving me for a better pug? Are they never going to return? Is there no more food? You can see how an elaborate leave taking might torture our little minds while you’re away, particularly when your words are peppered with concern and your face with anxiety.

Another thing you need to understand is that we have no concept of time. Your saying how long you will be gone is unnecessary. Five minutes, an hour, or a day…they are all the same to us. Just return with a treat and all is forgiven. So, sometimes the kindest goodbye is the briefest.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

 

This is the face of a pug(a beautiful one) waiting. Kind of gets to you, doesn't it?

This is the face of a pug (a beautiful one) waiting. Kind of gets to you, doesn't it?

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For a Pug, Enough is Never Enough, or Take it to The Limit One More Time

How many of you pug owners/managers/companions have made a startling discovery about your pug, regarding his/her seemingly infinite capacity for the consumption of food? We are, by our very nature, voracious and compulsive eaters of anything that resembles food or food byproducts. I know that many of you, and you know to whom I speak, would like to believe that your  adorable little puggly wuggly will know when to apply the proverbial food brakes to an eating frenzy. I am here to dispel that notion forever! FACT: We will eat until we explode. This is true, dear reader.

 Which brings me to the difficult piece of this warning, difficult because it goes against all that I hold near and dear to myself. I feel as if I am betraying my breed by issuing this warning, but “Cutums Sweetums” needs Mom or Dad (or both) to be the voice of reason when it comes to meting out food and treats. And be prepared because your little bugged-eyed angel will fix you with the most intense, pleading, laser-like stare, after devouring an entire bag of baby carrots.  You will be tempted to say to yourself “just one more won’t hurt.” That one more can be the straw that breaks the pug’s back!

 We are so endearing, so convincing, and so relentless in our pursuit of even a crumb of food, that you parents must remain strong in the face of our puggy wiles. I  personally have witnessed a trained medical professional fold like a two-dollar suitcase, just from feeding me a liver treat after a particularly invasive medical procedure. This veterinarian then got down on the floor and tossed one treat after another down my gaping maw, saying how much fun it was watching me catch treats midair.(I have to give Grandma credit for teaching me this highly effective trick.)

 So yes, we are adorable and we know how much you love us…just don’t love us to death. You must offer us tough love, but understand we will not thank you.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

 

Not a particularly interesting shot, but you can see I am eating from the proper feeding station.

Not a particularly interesting shot, but you can see I am eating from a proper feeding station.

Here is Lizzard tucking into her chow. Note too her feeding station is correctly elevated.

Here is Lizzard tucking into her chow. Note too her feeding station is correctly elevated.

 


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A Little Privacy for A Pug, If You Please

 

I’ve given this particular entry a good deal of thought because I am a pug of considerable sensitivity, and one who is mindful of his readers’ sensitivities. Let me be perfectly clear at the onset that my only intention is to heighten your awareness of something you probably have never considered, and not to chastise you in any way, dear reader.

Because I am a pug, it has come to my attention over the years that one of the most basic of bodily functions is universally treated by dog owners in a fairly cavalier and disrespectful manner. I realize that having to relieve oneself on the street, gutter, lawn, beach, or any other such public venue precludes privacy or modesty. I am, however, eager to point out that, even with these constraints, a pug still appreciates its owner or walker averting his gaze during the process.

I am not a particularly fastidious or private creature, but I do have standards. I cannot help but recoil in horror when I see a poor, tricked-out, little poodle straining at the curb, with its owner barking  “COME ON, MUFFIN, MAKE FOR MOMMY!” or “BITSY, MAKE A CA-CA LIKE A BIG GIRL!” I’m sorry, dear reader, but this kind of spirited encouragement is degrading and humiliating for all dogs, both large and small.

Perhaps the next time you see your beleaguered little dog, pleading with sad and embarrassed eyes as he relieves himself,  you’ll have the sensitivity to look away. Having said this, you should know that “good job” whispered sotto voce to your pet is acceptable. This always must be followed with a tasty treat.

For those of you whom I may have offended, please forgive me. It was not my intention. On this matter I speak for all pugs, I am sure.

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

 

Here you see me in my most compromising position, vulnerable and exposed

Here you see me in my most compromising position, vulnerable and exposed to the naked eye.

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Pugs and Kisses For Grandma

 

 

There isn’t much written about the unique relationship between a pug and his grandma. Grandmas come in all shapes, sizes, and ages but the ideal grandma for a pug comes bearing gifts.

 My grandma from Cape Cod arrives tomorrow for a visit and I’ve been talking it up steadily to Lizzie, who isn’t terribly responsive since all she wants to do is sleep when it is this cold. I, however, am pumped because I know that one thing my grandma understands is that I will be waiting for a special treat from her. She knows that my hard wiring demands a treat! Sometimes she goes to this wonderful dog store on the Cape called Hot Diggity, where all of the bakery items for dogs are homemade and delicious, and other times she goes to Trader Joes or Pet Smart.  No matter where she shops, the treat is unusual and pleasing to my palate.

The down side of Grandma is that she knows all of my tricks and ploys and will not tolerate bad behavior. She is not the soft touch, easily moved by big eyes kind of grandma…She is a firm believer in tough love, which I kind of respect but don’t really like. One thing I do like about her is that she thinks I’m funny, and as everyone knows, if you can make someone laugh you’re king of the world.

 So, there you have it dear reader. Grandma is coming and I can hardly wait. I will give you an update after her visit.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Mason

P.S. I’ve included a link to Hot Diggity for all grandmas

http://www.hotdiggityonline.com/index.php

This has nothing to do with Grandma but I think I look really good and Grandma will like looking at it.

This has nothing to do with Grandma but I think I look really good and Grandma will like looking at it.

 

 

 

 

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