Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Pug Called Petunia

Turner passed away on April 9, 2010.  Petunia came home with us exactly ten days later.  

It was a very long ten days.  My husband, Meatball, and I were a pathetic bunch.  There was a lot of crying and moping around the house.  Our feeling of loss was substantial.  There was now a giant hole in our family.  We took the week off of work.  It was our time to mourn, our dark period.  We got a tremendous amount of support from our family and friends and ate a lot of takeout. 

Then one day I woke up, determined to find a rescue pug.  This time, I could scour the internet.  I attended a pug rescue event and loved the idea of being able to give a home to a shelter pup.

Soon, I found her.  She was being looked after up in the Lake Tahoe area, and had recently been saved by the non-profit Angels Rescuing Kritters.  I filled out an application, hoping that we would be considered  Then my phone rang. By some miracle, I had been the first applicant, like it was meant to be.

  The next day, my husband and I and drove the few hours north to meet her.  It was absolutely love at first sight.  Her name was Petunia, and she was coming home with me.  She sat on my lap on the ride home (husband was driving) and took everything in.  Then she curled up in a ball and went to sleep.  She seemed pretty comfortable with her new family already.

Petunia, a few hours after we brought her home
 I turned my back on a basket full of laundry for one minute
Can you feel the personality?
The first thing I noticed about her was her spunk.  She was a happy and peppy little dog, who at less than a year old, had already had a litter of puppies.  This dog also had a lot of confidence.  We introduced her to Meatball slowly.  We took them for a walk around the block together, and let them feel each other out.  I took the picture below shortly after.  She quickly made herself at home.

That night, my husband dragged her crate into our bedroom.  I was going to bed, and so was she.  However, Petunia had other plans.  She jumped onto our bed, crawled under the covers, curled up into a ball at my side, and passed out.  She remained there all night.  We put her crate back into the living room and she slept with us from that night on.  

Soon it soon became clear that Petunia was actually Meatball's dog.  He played so gently with her, and she loved to chew on his armpits.  They were best friends from day one, completely inseparable. She followed him everywhere.  I tried to capture every moment of it on film.

 In a way, Petunia healed all of us.  Dogs have a way of bringing out the best in people.  We were happy again.  We smiled.  We stopped ordering all of that takeout.  The sun started shining on all of us.  

Now, I don't have a favorite dog.  They are all special to me, and have different quirks which are completely endearing.  However, Petunia happens to be especially photogenic.  Maybe it is the tongue that is ALWAYS hanging out of her mouth?  I probably have the most pictures of her, but she is kind of a superstar.

Since I am usually the one taking the pictures, I am not in them much.  Husband took this one night, as we were getting ready for bed.  Our pack was a happy pack.

Then came Harriet.  We didn't know we needed a third dog, but we really did.  She had always been a missing piece, and we didn't even know it yet.   

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

There Once Was A Pug Named Turner

I have gotten a few questions about my dogs, and how I fell in love with pugs.  I thought I would write this as a bit of a love letter to my pups, past and present.  If you have ever been owned by a four-legged creature, you know that there is a bond that never quite goes away.  

My love of pugs began the summer before I went away to college.  I got a job in a puppy store, and it was pure heaven.  The puppies were kept in kiddie pools filled with bank shred, and when the store wasn't busy I would jump inside and play.  If you have never had a pool full of puppies crawling all over you while licking you cheeks and biting your shoe laces, you haven't lived!

The pug pool quickly became my favorite spot.  They are like little clowns with their flat faces, playful snorting, and comical head tilts.  I couldn't have any pets while living in the dorms, but I looked forward to holiday breaks and summers, when I returned to the job where I got paid to play with the pug puppies.  I was more than a little obsessed.  

Flash-forward to my first real job out of college.  I was living in Atlanta, and finally in a good place to have my beloved pug.  I started frantically scouring newspaper ads (it was 2000, a bit before you could find anything and everything on the internet).  I found what I was looking for one state over in Anniston, Alabama.  It was love at first sight.  I picked the most playful and robust looking pug out of the litter, and he came home with me.  I named him Turner, and we quickly became best friends. 

Turner was my sidekick through many cities,  apartments, boyfriends, and he even took a cross-country drive with me when I moved to the west coast.  I trusted his judgement,  If he didn't like someone, I wasn't too keen on them either.  Plus, it was outstanding to always have someone so happy to see me when I got home from work.  He was the kind of dog I could take everywhere with me, and I did.  I spent most of my 20's with him, and we grew into real adulthood together.  

Time passes quickly.  Before I knew it, Turner's muzzle was beginning to gray.  He was a bit set in his ways, being an only dog for his first seven years, and preferring the company of people to other dogs.  

One weekend in January 2008, we brought Meatball home.  He was a rambunctious puppy of nine months old, and Turner was not impressed. For a while, this was as close as they would get.

However, Meatball was persistent.  He was an impressionable young puppy, and he wanted to be pals.  Turner eventually grew to love Meatball, but wasn't really the kind of dog that knew how to play.  They found their own relationship, and it worked.  

When I took one to the vet for a routine visit, it was hard on the dog that was left at home.  I was happy that we had settled into our own little pack, no matter how odd.  Of course, all good things must eventually come to an end.

The day came that we had to make a decision about Turner.  He was not quite ten years old when I found him lying underneath a table, not acting like himself.  He had whimpered in the night a few times recently, like he was in pain, but it seemed to pass.  This day he wasn't really interacting with any of us.  He ate his dinner, but he wasn't right.  We went to bed.  Maybe it would pass, and he would be his old self in the morning.  But early in the morning, he seemed to be in distress.  I waited in agony to call my vet as soon as they opened. 

 Minutes seemed like hours.  Our vet did some exploratory surgery on him and then referred us to a specialist.  She met us there.  I will never forget her pulling up in her Mini, and carefully carrying my dog who was under anesthesia and full of tubes, inside.  We consulted with this new vet, and then they told us too leave while they tried to operate.  

We knew there were a few scenarios of what could be wrong. When the phone rang, it was the worst one.  His trachea has collapsed.  We had two options, to either do a tracheotomy on him, or let him go.  It was a painful decision, but we understood what the humane thing would be to do.  We held him until the very end.  My husband and I both took off the rest of the week, too distraught to leave each others side.   

But it was Meatball who seemed to know what had happened as soon as we walked through the door.  He was sad, despondent, and very clingy.  I felt like he could smell the death on us.  I took his picture a few days in, when we were all deep into our period of mourning.  It completely broke my heart.  I had to do something.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Feeling Inspired

Did you ever have a hobby that you really loved, and then one day you realize you haven't done it in at least six years?  That happened to me this weekend.  I was cleaning out a closet, on the never-ending search for extra storage in our house.  It was my scrapbooking closet, the space I was so excited to have when we bought this place.  Everything was covered in dust.

I started looking through the items I had stored. I am a saver, completely sentimental about the silliest little things.  I found the post-it that my husband had originally written his email and phone number on so many years ago.  I had asked him for some computer advice that I "needed" that day.  I must have known then that he was going to be really important in my life.  How could I ever throw this piece of paper away?

So I pulled everything out of the closet, and started looking through each drawer in my storage cart.  I  noticed that I stopped printing pictures around 2009.  In this digital age, it is so easy to create everything online.  However, I have this space between 2005- 2009 where I hadn't scrapbooked anything, but had all of these pictures neatly organized into envelopes.

 I had to make a decision about all of this stuff I had taking up valuable space in my shrinking house.  I thought that I could quickly scan all of the pictures and make a digital album, but I have so much cardstock, and so many stickers.  I used to have so much fun creating.  I should try to go back and scrap all of this.  Why is it that the scrapbook stores that I used to frequent have gone out of business.  Wait, does anyone still scrapbook anymore?  Am I pursuing a dying hobby?  Maybe I don't really care.

So I have the summer.  It is only May now.  Can I scrap the rest of the pictures I have printed out so all of this paper doesn't end up in a yard sale?  To be honest, I still haven't finished creating my album from our trip to Europe last summer, and that is totally digital.  I expect this to be quite an undertaking, but I feel like I have so much money invested in materials, I at least have to give it a try.  And so many memories of the life my husband and I have built together.  I want to make sure it is all documented.  Every magical second counts.

I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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