The beginning was hard. This is my first dog and my first pug. I knew they were alot of work, I'd researched them intensively but even still, those first few weeks getting up every 4 hours to let Walter pee was even harder than the books said it would be! The amount of paraphanalia I bought for him took up an entire kitchen cupboard and several large baskets kept on top of his top-of-the-line wicker kennel. And the vaccines! I don't know which was worse, how expensive they were or watching Walter get them. He was always so confused afterwards, how was he to know I'd paid for this mean lady to hurt him!
But we got through it and I started to learn alot about Walter "Biggie Smalls" McPuggins. I could write a book on his odd habits, love of chicken fingers and social farting skills. (As in, not-so-social. He'll just let it rip whenever he pleases.) He soon worked his way deep into my heart and right into my bed, where he sleeps every night, with his head on the pillow.
Things I loved about him I had no idea I would love:
1. His little Pug butt.
2. His "bark" which is more of a "quack."
3. His ability to fart while looking lovingly into my eyes.
4. His amazingly intricate "preparing to sleep" routine, which involves collecting favorite toys from around the house and beating the hell out of them on the bed.
5. His amazingly intricate "I'm home from vacation" routine, which involves collecting all his toys from around the house and beating the hell out of them on the bed.
6. His fishstick breath.
7. His yawning sound. Much like a teakettle.
8. His anger towards anyone feeble walking past the house. Big dogs and muggers are fine, but God help any little old ladies or teacup yorkies that dare pass. Walter will not have it.
9. His disdain for store-bought dog food. He can't even believe you'd try to give him that crap.
10. His snoring. I'll never feel like a single girl again.
This little Wally-woo has become family. I confess, when one gentleman caller informed me he would never sleep in the same bed as a dog, I very quickly showed him the door. Not a hard decision at all! Love me, love my pug!
So today, when Walter escaped from the backyard through a gate the lawn guy left ajar...I had a panic and heart attack simultaneously. Where did he go? What did he do? Where should I look! I hadn't microchipped him yet, and his collar was off so I could clean the peanut butter he had somehow gotten on it. He was completely without ID! I tried to keep my panic down. I knew I had to find him and these first minutes were crucial.
I had only let him into the yard ten minutes ago, but ten minutes to a Pug running full tilt is a long time. I started to hyperventilate. I couldn't think straight. I jumped in my car and then jumped back out. If I drove I might miss him - he's so small!! I started running around like a chicken screaming WALTERRRRRRRRRRR!!!!
My neighbor asked what was wrong. I could hardly speak, I thought I was going to faint.
She, angel that she is said she'd start looking for him and she took off down the street. I just tried to clear my head and I had an idea. I live on the edge of a quiet neighborhood, three directions from my house lead into big lawns, friendly neighbors and relative safety. I knew if Walter had run in any of those directions he would be ok. The big worry was the main road one block away from us. One of those big straight 6-lane roads that people speed down like a highway. If Walter was there, he was definitely not ok.
So I ran, barefoot and crying to the busy corner. I didn't want to cry, but I really couldn't control it. I must have looked insane. I was pacing back and forth calling Walters name frantically. After a few minutes of wringing my hands and avoiding eye contact with all the perplexed motorists speeding by, I hear this woman calling to me from across the street. She was yelling:
"DID YOU LOSE A..."
Her voice was drowned out by traffic noise, but that was enough for me. I knew she meant Walter. I charged headlong across the street, not even looking. Cars honked at me, the crazy lady crossing against traffic, but I didn't care. I didn't even know if I was about to be hit, I just ran. If I didn't find Biggie Smalls, I didn't want to live anyway.
"Where!" I shouted at the nice lady, "WHERE?!?!" She pointed to the big grocery store parking lot. The grocery store???? He's never even been here before, we never cross this street! Why would he go there?? (He probably smelled the frozen chicken fingers.)
I didn't stop to chat with nice lady, I sailed past and cruised around the corner, out of breath, tears-stained face, only to see WALTER!!!!!!! There he was, sitting in a red shopping cart pretty-as-you-please, nonplussed and surrounded by TWO police officers and a half dozen grocery store employees and concerned citizens. They were all fawning over him and petting him and someone had gotten him a dish of water. Why were so many people around him? Why was someone taking a picture of him with their camera phone? How did the police get involved?
"WALTER!" I yelped and charged over...but upon reaching him, all the panic and fear I'd pushed back came rushing back. I just started to sob. The group was surprisingly understanding. Even though I had no ID, (or shoes,) they didn't question the fact this weeping drooling lunatic was obviously Walter's mom. Walter, who looked like he was having the time of his life at first, saw me crying and actually started to whimper and tried to scramble out of the cart and into my arms. "I guess that's mom!" someone said, "he already knows he's in trouble."
I had to wait a second before I could pick him up. I was shaking so badly I thought I'd drop him. The nice grocery store lady went and got me a coffee. The woman who first found him in the parking lot "weaving in and out between cars" gave me a big hug. The cop gave me a mini-speech about getting my dog microchipped. I just wanted to kiss each and every one of them. I was so grateful. When I told them Walter had somehow crossed the 6-lane street next to us - they took a collective gasp.
"We figured he belonged to someone on this side of the street!" someone said, "how would he have gotten across without getting hit? It isn't possible!"
That made me cry harder. I have no idea how my directionless, woggle-eyed pug made it across 6 lanes of traffic and into the frozen chicken-finger place (What I imagine he calls it) But he did. And thank you dear Lord, he made it alive and into the arms of some very kind and concerned people. I thanked them all profusely and picked wiggle baby up.
Walter and I walked back home, me carrying him with my face buried in his coat. He smelled so good. I had just given him a bath the previous night, and used new French doggie shampoo. He probably thought I was getting him ready for his big day out. I let my neighbor know he was safe and took him inside, where I made myself a cocktail the size of my head and collapsed. I thought about all the things that could of happened and how lucky we were and how I'm going to fire the lawn guy and cite "incompetent gate latching" as the reason.
I'm recovering, but in those horrible moments when I thought he might be gone forever, I realized just how much I loved him and how much he's a part of my life. This squiggle-tailed butter monkey has become my true love. I made him chicken fingers for dinner and called in an appointment at the vets.
He's getting microchipped tomorrow.