Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Since we had some really good questions this week that lent themselves to lengthy answers, we are opting to make separate, unique blog entries on a couple of them. Today's post was inspired by Becky. She asked about how our brood came to be. This used to be a common question we would be asked by people "on the street" especially when we had 4 pugs in tow. Knowing that I can get a little wordy, I will do my best to tell the story but also keep it relatively brief.
In June 2002 we brought the boys, Benjamin & Henry, home from a pet store. Benny came home on a Friday night and we got Henry the next day. Enter gasp here. Yes. They are pet store/puppy mill pugs. Way back then we had no clue what a puppy mill was, had no understanding of what that term even meant. In short, we were young, naive and dare I say dumb? Since then we have obviously grown up, learned more and realize the importance of rescue and if not rescue then a reputable breeder would be next best.
We were living in Maryland then. We lived in a narrow three level town home that backed to another home just like ours. It was our adorable starter home. And that is where the boys lived for the next couple of years with us. Their puppydome there was well spent and they had many wonderful experiences in Maryland. The best advice we had as new pug parents was to introduce them to anything and everything while they are young and thus they will be used to new experiences and be less fearful of new experiences later in life. That is just what we did. We took them everywhere. Introduced them to people, put them in swimming pools, had them climb stairs, walked them on multiple terrains and over bridges, rowed them in a boat, had children pull their ears a little bit (and by that I mean let children handle them without the kids being too rough). We played with them in the rain and the snow, brought them to puppy classes to learn techniques to teach them some basic commands and did our homework diligently so that they would grow up to be good citizens.
We lived in Maryland with the boys until March of 2005. We purchased a piece of land in Port Orange, Florida, sold our house in Olney, Maryland and lived for a long 8 months (on a 6 month lease) in a one bedroom apartment in Germantown, Maryland as we waited for the house to be finished being built. 2005 was the year that Florida was tagged with back to back to back hurricanes that caused a great amount of damage to homes in what would be our new neck of the woods. Because of those hurricanes, our home took longer to complete than was expected. The problem was the shingles. Shingles for our home were bumped to a lower priority when there were so many people who had lost their roofs during the storms. So there was a shingle shortage and we had to wait patiently for the roof to go on to the home that was waiting for us in another state.
So, in 2005 we packed up our goodies and headed south. At this point we had our bunny, Lou, our calico cat, Cupid and the boys, Benjamin & Henry. I am not sure if Becky's question necessarily included how Lou and Cupid came to in our lives, too. But here is a link to the story of Cupid. As for Lou, there is not much of a story here. Lou was the office pet of the place where OBP peep 2 had been working for several years and then after transferring to another location within the same organization no one at the old place could really take care of the bunny, so Lou came to the OBP home. Sadly, Lou died shortly after we got to Florida.
We lived in our new home with the 4 (Benjamin, Henry, Cupid & Lou) in 2005. Lou Lou Buns did not make it long (but he was 10 when he passed away and that is pretty good in bunny years!). Then, forward to 2006 in Florida. By now we are more versed in how to handle pugs. We have since learned about rescue and we are ready to add a 3rd to our group. We were not sure if we wanted a girl or a boy, but we had heard that boys were more "lovey" than girls. We knew the boys (especially Benny) were love pugs, but we were not sure if that theory was true. We contacted Compassionate Pug Rescue and talked to one of the main volunteers about our what we were looking for in a pug. She had one in mind that she thought would fit our home great. She told us about him. His name was Bear. He was about the same age as the boys. He was healthy except for 2 doses of eye drops a day which seemed minimal. She then also mentioned a little girl named Luna. Luna had been with them for a few months. She was a pseudo owner surrender. A relative of Luna's owner saw what bad shape she was in. She was kept outside day and night (in MIAMI!) and had been used to breed. She had spots of missing fur (cause unknown but none of the speculated causes is pretty), horrible dry eye (so bad that the one eye could not even close) and her teeth were not in good shape, either. Well, being the softies we are, we said we wanted her! I think they were very surprised. And I am sure they were thinking that there was no way they would ever unload Luna. She was a hot mess. At 2 she already looked twice as old as the boys who by this time were 4 years old.
Luna came home to us in January of 2006. Life was nice. We were getting Luna healthy and she was uncovering her inner diva. She was a spitfire. Fast forward to December of 2008. The story of Solsey. I had just come home from visiting my parents at Christmas. Fresh off my flight, starving for dinner, but excited to see the trio and the cat. We were out for a walk right before dinner and a mini van pulled up next to us, commented about how cute our dogs were and asked if we wanted another one while gesturing to the one the lap of the passenger. We questioned about the dog they were trying to give us. They said they found the dog wandering several miles away, but could not keep her. Said they put up signs and no one replied. Blah blah blah. We were not sure what we thought of them at that time but we now know that were not great people and likely were liars. We told them that if they could just wait one day we would at least get the dog into foster care. We took their number and told them that as soon as we got home we would give them the phone number to the pug rescue. We knew it was not a good practice to take a dog without getting owner surrender documents. In this case, we should have just taken her then.
We called the people and left a message on their voice mail with all the information. We called them probably 5 times in 12 hours just to be sure they got the info and to see what the rescue said. The people had thick Italian accents and the voice mail ended with a "ciao" instead of your standard "goodbye". We did nothing but kick ourselves for not doing more to get the dog into our possession. We talked about nothing other than that dog. Where was she? What were those people doing with her? We could not sleep. We were a mess. It was not even one full day since those people tried to dump her with us than our doorbell rang. It was an animal control officer. Coincidentally, there was a police officer who lived behind us who knew we had pugs. He rang the door and when we opened the door he asked us, "you guys down a pug?" We were not missing any of our 3 but we knew who he was talking about. He said that he got a call about a pug wandering the neighborhood and went and picked her up. He just assumed it was one of ours. We told him the story and the importance of the owner surrender document. So, he had the man that found the little black pug sign the paper indicating that he was not the owner and not going to keep the dog. We told the AC officer that we would keep the dog and work on getting her in rescue. And that was our intention. We knew a 4th dog was likely more than we could handle. Our plan was to foster her until a forever home could be found. (In reality we were foster failures after 10 minutes. We loved her instantly and knew she was not leaving our home.) In the mean time, I wanted to be sure that she was well enough to interact with our other pugs. I took her to the vet and had her checked out. She had a cyst growing from the edge of her eye and her toenails were in such bad shape that it was clear that they had not been tended to in a VERY long time (actually this was the reason she could barely walk). But she was cleared for socializing, though. I will speed through Sol's super mini version while she was with us, though. Each time we took her to the vet, they gauged her age. First they thought 8-10, then next time they thought, no probably more like 10-12 and then the eye vet, said, no, the eyes tell all and those are eyes of a 12-14 year old dog. In any case, Sol had low vision, was for sure mostly deaf but different than Luna in how she came to us. She was LOVED. You could tell that she had been very loved. We think that the people that tried to give her us and eventually did just leave her on the street were family members of an old man that recently died. Solsey would forever cozy up to men who appeared to be WWII vets. Old men in thick soled shoes who wore navy blue ball caps with the yellow braided embellishments were her ideal man to sit near! She would spot them a mile away, rush to them, sit at their feet and gaze longingly at them seeming to ask, "are you my father?" She never really shook that but she did come to love us. In the 15 months that Solsey lived with us she had both oral and breast cancer. When we had her teeth cleaned they discovered her oral cancer and we ended up having half of her lower jaw bone removed. She handled it surprisingly well and did not need further treatment. For her breast cancer we had her teats removed and again, no other treatment was necessary. Sadly, Solsey had to be put down due to complications of collapsed trachea. This was true of both Ben & Luna, too. Henry, on the other hand, has a nice healthy trachea.
I think that pretty much sums up how they all came to be part of OBP. This was a great question, Becky. Thank you for allowing us to recap. Unless you have been follow us since day one (in 2003ish) then I doubt the whole picture has really been put together. I hope this summary was both detailed enough (and yeah, I did scale it back!) and broad enough to give you all an idea of the history of OBP.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
The Ask OBP questions are getting so good that I am now using multiple days to answer questions! This is great! I hope you are enjoying it as much as we are!
First, I want to share that Becky's request to hear the story of how OBP all came together is one long saga that will be posted tomorrow. Thank you for allowing us to recap that Becky. I hope your patience in waiting an extra day does not disappoint you.
Sue, Pen & Lucy's mom also asked a question about Cupid and if her behavior changed with Henry since he's gone blind. Sue, this, too, requires more detail and we will talk about that in Thursday's post.
The first question we will answer today comes from Sue W who asked if our pugs ever got into a tiff. That was followed by Alayna who inquired about food aggression and if any of ours demonstrated that they were territorial to their peeps. Since these questions are related, we will tackle them both at the same time.
Regarding pug tiffs at the OBP house, there were never any real "arguments" or "disagreements". The worst incident would be the Sol bone issue we discussed last week. And that really wasn't a fight between the pugs, but just that Sol and her intense love of the knuckle bones sent Baby Benny cowering in the dining room. Occasionally, there would be times when they would all be chewing a bone and one of the pugs wanted to switch bones before the other was ready and there may be a growl or two, but these were really rare.
As far as food aggression went, Benny would get a little snarky and he'd give you the mad face and a quick airy growl to let you know you'd better step back if another animal got near his food. If a person took his food, though,it was quite opposite. He'd look at you sad as if to ask why we would even do that. He was very respectful of his people. Extremely respectful.
As for territorial....hmmm. That is interesting. I would not say that any of the pugs were territorial. I think you are asking in the sense that if someone came close to us would they try to "protect" us or not allow the other person near us. That never really happened. But in some ways, Luna could have been called "territorial" in the sense that she claimed one OBP peep more than another. Luna loved both her peeps, don't get me wrong, but Luna did have a favorite. And it was not me. #sadface. Luna loved her peep #2. She loved peep #2 like no other! If I had Luna on my lap and peep 2 joined me on the sofa, that kid would split so fast she'd be a blur on the security camera! For Luna it was all about peep #2. I was a good back up peep. But was never peep #1 to Luna. The boys and Solsey both loved us equally. But Luna had her #1 peep and it was not me. I learned to be ok with it and it has been somewhat of a standing joke in the OBP house since peep #2 always tries to convince me that Luna loved me the same but we both know that was not really the case. It's ok. Luna love me a LOT even if I was not her favorite. Some dogs are just more one person types of dogs. Luna was that type of dog. So, Luna was maybe a little territorial to peep #2 but not in an aggressive way. We can say in a passive aggressive way, though. She was sneaky about it.
The next question came from Sue States. She asked about how we pilled the pugs. My first instinct is to say "very carefully" but for us it is mostly easy. Most pills fit in a Bil Jac or even mini Bil Jac. We put the pill in the treat and smoosh it around until the whole pill is covered. Let's say you have 3 pills that need to be given this way. We would have 6-8 Bil Jacs and just give them to them all at once. Later when Henry stopped eating anything (when going through chemo) the vet suggested cream cheese and that works pretty well, too. It does depend though. If the pills pop when/if chewed that was a time we'd have to bring in lunch meat. Luna was worst one to give a pill to. Ben never chewed anything so he was the easiest to pill and Henry was usually pretty good with it. Sol took pills pretty well, too. HOWEVER, liquid meds were tough for us. And Solsey was the WORST. The first time we had to give her liquid (cough suppressant) she not only did not swallow it, but she shook her head all over the kitchen. I am quite sure if you study our house, you will find sticky little red splotches from that magical day! It was like we were at a Gallagher concert where he busts watermelons with a sledge hammer! And we are talking like less than half a teaspoon of syrup! But good grief did that mess get all over everything! Yikes!
Chuckie asked about the special words that have come out of OBP. We can't take credit for all the items on the list, but here is a quick overview of what we think the terms mean.
- OMP - Oh My Pug!
- Pugdorable - A combo of Pug and adorable. Just another way of saying how cute a pug is.
- Pugkin Bread - Pumpkin Bread
- Pug Hugs - Hugs from pugs
- G'Ma & G'Pa - Grandma and Grandpa
- Da Magic Window - The drive thru window (Magic to a pug because yummy food just gets handed out the window)
The only pug specific word that is "ours" is G'Ma and G'Pa and that is the term used for the pugs grandparents on Peep #1's side and Grammy would be the grandmother on Peep #2's side. I am actually happy to clarify this as a recent conversation led to us realizing that we had not made that clear. G'Ma, G'Pa and Grammy are the pugs's real life grandparents. I think Pugkin Bread came from Ann of Central Florida Pug Rescue. I am not sure if this was before or after she began baking Benny loaves of pumpkin bread (Benny's most favorite treat). Readers, feel free chime in about the other terms. I can say that we recently coined "sniffortunities" though (opportunities to sniff).
Ok everyone! Really terrific questions!
#KeepTheQsComing #AnswersOnMultipleDaysNow #AskOBP
Monday, August 31, 2015
We were asked in the first Ask OBP post to share recipes of what the pugs have eaten over the years. For some reason, we have been procrastinating writing that post like never before. And, for the record, only ONE of is a procrastinator!
So, without further ado, below are some links to previous posts that are related to recipes.
- The OBP home cooked meal. The food bowl the pugs basically grew up on and ate most of their lives.
- Pug Bars. A not so popular recipe with our pugs, but The Daily Puglet seemed to enjoy them!
- Chicken Ginger Biscuits. Not a staple at our house, but something we made once as a treat for the pugs
- Bob Evans Pumpkin Bread! A favorite by ALL in the OBP house, but we don't cook it, we just buy it.
A close second to Bob Evan's pumpkin bread was Ann's pumpkin cupcakes. Here is the quick and easy recipe for how to make a whole loaf!
Once we made a meatloaf for the pugs that had garlic it in. The recipe billed itself as a great, all natural way to ward off fleas. It turned out a little gross (very greasy), but that didn't stop the pugs from eating it. The only problem is they all got sick from eating the garlic! So, here is some handy info about garlic and dogs. It may ward off the vampires, but it is not that great for a pup!
I am starting to wonder why anyone would ask us for recipes! We are reviewing our history and we certainly do not look like world class pug chefs! But in my digging around to find recipes, I did come across the funniest video EVER. It sort of reminds me of the old commercial where Mr. Owl gets asked how many licks to the center of a tootsie pop. (One, A-T~wo, AThree. Crunch Three.). Well, how long does it take Baby Benny to tell the difference between pumpkin bread and broccoli? Quicker than 3 I can tell you! If you blink you will miss it!
Hopefully, the hysterical video made up for the weak recipes. I would be lying if I said I can watch that video only once. And really every time I see it, I have to watch it at least 5x! And by that time I have pee so bad that I have to stop watching.
#BennyGivesMeAWeakBladder #RecipeBlogEpicFail #OBPPeepsDontCook #ShareRecipesInComments #ReadersWillDoBetter
Friday, August 28, 2015
Today's post may be a little to risque, so for those faint of heart, exit now.
I cannot remember the stand up comedy event we were watching many moons ago but I think it was one of Chris Rock's specials. I do remember a segment, though, talking about parents (dads specifically) had ONE JOB. And that job was "to keep their daughters off the pole." He is referring to the stripper pole.
Well, the other day, I peeked out onto the lanai and what did I see?! I saw Cupid doing a dance around the leg of a chair. To me, this screamed out that she was "on the pole" and oh, the sinking feeling that we had not done our ONE JOB of keeping her off the pole!
Now we had give Cupid an Indian name which is "Soft Bunny Fur" but we had not given Cupid a stripper name! I would ask for some in the comments section, but I think it COULD get a little raunchy (even for us!) So, let's just stick to keeping it in good humor. It was nice to see Cupid getting a big stretch using the chair leg as leverage though.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Monday we told you about Henry's stellar visit to the eye vet. Yay Henry! Well, his visit to his general vet was not quite as terrific. His xray was good. No signs of cancer (although his heart is a touch enlarged). His sonogram was ok but shows more signs of his IBD. We had blood work done and we knew that was not going to be perfect but we did not expect it to be as bad as it turned out to be.
It is funny but not funny, how a short time ago, Susan left a comment about how to clear up loose poop. We had commented back that loose poop is usually sign of some bigger problem. And while it can be a laughing matter, the cause is usually very unfunny. In Susan's case, we are happy to hear that only a tweak in medication was necessary. In Henry's case, though, his IBD is giving him a lot of grief. His protein levels have dropped dramatically. What is happening is that his body is not absorbing protein through his digestive track. Without this absorption, he is at risk for retaining fluids, lethargy, overall malaise and if not corrected it can cause his parts not to work right (and not working parts can mean a not working Henry!) So we really have to get this right.
The vet recommended that we change up his meds and move him to a an easy to digest food. We really can't stand canned and kibble food. It has never worked well over the years for any of our pugs. We have always cooked for them and have had the support of our vets until now. I feel like if we can just refine his food that we would again be able to make his diet work. Right now our vet does not hold a lot of stock in us. Mainly because we are in kind of a do or die situation and we need results fast since any more protein loss will be extremely harmful.
Again, loose poops have been the indicator to Henry's bigger issues. And now on this lovely canned and kibble diet he is not only not getting better poops, they are getting worse. I think we will "play a vet on TV" and move him back to a different home cooked diet and go from there. We will keep you posted. For now, just positive pug juju, please! Seriously, this dog beats cancer, goes blind, loses all his siblings and he cant' get his poop together?! C'mon Hank! You've got this! #HenryStrong #GetYourShitTogetherBoy! #SorryForTheExpletive #Don'tWantThisToBeWhatDoesHimIn #Don'tWantAnythingToDoHimIn
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
For all of you fellow moon gazers out there, I saw on Facebook that tonight there is to be a double moon. It is fake, though. I was so excited to have a special sky gazing night but it is not true. Here is more about it.
What I can say, is that on my calendar that shows the full and half moons, that Saturday night (the 29th) we will have a full moon.
For now, just enjoy this photo of little Luna as she shines in our heart the way the moon shines in the sky. And don't forget, you can't believe everything that is on the internet.
#DumbFBHoax #DontBeFooled #NoDoubleMoon #EnjoyLunaInstead
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Thank you all for coming up with good questions! Hopefully Ask OBP will continue for a little while longer!
The first series of questions comes from Terry. Terry asked: Do/did your pugs growl? If yes, what would make them growl? Did aging affect their tail curls both in tightness of curl and how often they kept them curled? And if they shed their whiskers.
Terry! All great questions! We are happy to answer them all. First, yes, our pugs have growled. They were not big growlers though. Mostly, as puppies, the boys (Benjamin & Henry) would growl at each other during play. They also made some other more hideous noises for the first few years when they wrestled together. Often sounding like gremlins! As they got older (4+) they no longer really growled very often. The girls, however, were later life growlers. Solsey came to us as an old gal and we only ever heard her growl on a few rare occasions. And I will say that on those couple of times Solsey was out of her mind! It was usually when each pug was given a very special chew treat (most notably a knuckle bone). Solsey not only tried but successfully bullied all of the pugs into giving up their knuckle bones. Solsey's growling during one especially memorable incident had baby Benny cowering in another room! So, yeah, she growled. And when she growled everyone knew she meant it! Luna, on the other hand, had a petite growl (and really more during her middle years), She would have a sweet little growl leading up to a bark. This was typically an indication of her impatience. And like a warning. She would give a little growl to say, "if you don't [do X] then I will be letting out a piercing bark after this." Hopefully we would do X before the bark but we never seemed to be quick enough. But other than that, Luna was not much of a growler.
Regarding their tail curls....we can safely say that indeed with age, their tails loosened in tightness a bit. This did vary by pug though. Henry's became much looser. Luna's was somewhat looser but not extremely loose. And Benny's was barely looser. (Think of the 3 bears but with levels of looseness.) I cannot really comment on Sol's tail since we had her for so short a period of time. If I am being honest, though, I am not entirely sure that it was "age" that created this phenomenon, though. I think it had more to do with their level of discomfort (which aging may have brought along). Such as the week of Henry's kidney cancer surgery, I can't say that his tail was curled for one moment that entire week. And the more exhausted he is, the less his tail is apt to curl. With that said, Henry has always had the less curly tail. I also want to make another comment not so much about the curliness but the wagginess of Luna's tail. I don't think that I am exaggerating when I say that Luna's tail wagged most of the whole first year we had her. Even in sleep early on, her tail would have some movement to it. We are confident that this was not a sign of pug happiness but of anxiety. Eventually Luna learned that she was safe, secure and could bloom into the little diva she knew had been hidden until then.
Ah, yes. Their whiskers. There would be a rare whisker shedding with the pugs. This was quite uncommon. Sadly, though, all of Henry's whiskers fell out during his chemo treatments. They did grow back eventually though. He had 2 gray whiskers that fell out but all the fresh whiskers grew back black. So, that was interesting. We see more cat whiskers shed from Cupid than pug whiskers shed. These are easy to tell apart, of course since the cat's whiskers are white whereas the pug whiskers are black (except for those 2 gray ones that Henry lost).
Outstanding questions, Terry! They really caused us to reflect. Thank you.
Another OBP reader, Jude, asked this (paraphrased): If we were not pug/cat people what would our next breed choice be? WOW! Good one, Jude! We have been discussing this among ourselves A LOT lately. We are all over the map (and a bit divided.) One of us may never stray from the pug breed and the other one of us thinks that there may be "healthier breeds" that may not give us quite as much heartache (but maybe also not as much joy). But to answer our top "other" choices we would include (and I cannot narrow down a specific order): Poodle, Golden Retriever, Chinese Crested (bald kind), Great Dane, Boston Terrier just to name the most talked about. As for cats, I think I can safely say that Cupid has ruined us for any other cat on the planet. Reflecting on that statement, it sounds like the pugs are more "replaceable" which could not be further from the truth. Hmmmm. I am not sure what exactly that means! Jude, you have given us a great conversation in house! We thank you for your question!
Christine also had a question for us. It was about nicknames for our brood. Oh boy! Do we ever have nicknames! We will begin with Sol. We regularly called her Solsey. A time or 2 we called her Solei Moon Frye (which is the name of the person who played Punky Brewster). But mostly we called her Solsey Baby! (This would be spoken in a specific tone and rhythm, too.) That was really it for her, though.
For Luna we mostly called her Looney (again in a specific pitch and song). And honestly, unless you called her that way, she did not know her real name was Luna! But some of her other names included: Looney Toons, Miss Thang and Baby Girl.
Benjamin probably has the most nicknames. He was Baby Benny. Benny Bag O'Wrinkles, Handsome, Hansey Boy, Ben Ben and Benny Boy. The most special time we remember him responding to a nickname was once post anesthesia and he was still bleary eyed and wobbly legged. They brought him into the exam room and we greeted him with a "Hi Handsey!" and he immediately gave a huge tail wag and ran right towards us, licking our faces and whining. It was super sweet.
Henry has had his fair share of nicknames too. He is Henry doodle boy. Doody boy. Hanky Doodle. Hank. The Hankster. Gangster Prankster. And yes, sadly now we sometimes even call him Blindy. But it is with much affection. Or as GMa says, she "means it in the nicest way."
While this is about the pugs, we feel like if we left out Cupid we would be doing her a disservice. She is Cupey, Cupey Cat. QP. Pretty Girl. Pretty Pretty Girl. And on days that she tries to steal Henry's food lately, she is little brat.
Thanks again, Christine! Another good question!
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