Love on a stick
By Rose Simpson
Even at ten, my daughter Marissa was a formidable force with an iron will. Once she put her mind to something, there was no stopping her.
One day, she announced we needed a new dog, a pug.
“What’s a pug?”
“You know mummy, the Men in Black dog.”
“Ewe, those ugly little things? Look, honey, if we’re going to get a dog, we’ll get a real one, okay?”
Days later, she had worn me down, and we went to visit a pug farm. No, I’m kidding. They don’t farm pugs like pigs. The place we visited was a cute little Cape Cod in the Alta Vista area of Ottawa and the person we met was Lorna, a travel agent who bred pugs on the side.
Her kitchen had been taken over by a squirming mass of black and fawn, little Winston Churchill-style animals with bulging eyes, tan faces and black muzzles, or alternatively, bulging eyes shining in a sea of blackness.
I was really reluctant to get another dog, seeing as our last one, a large two year old Lab, died at the kitchen table after scarfing down oatmeal chocolate chip muffins a sitter had made. The sitter, a large Labrador herself – technically she was a Newfie from St. John’s – had inadvertently left my poor Mandy alone in the house with a countertop full of muffins whilst she went visiting somewhere.
The next day, I heard a shriek. It was Mona.
“Oh Lord, Rose, come down ‘ere. Oh, Lord Jesus, I tink de dog is deed.”
And she was.
Finding your beloved Lab on the floor, eyes open, tongue splayed out the side of her head, well, that’s enough to put a person off animals forever. But not Marissa.
And in the back of my mind, I thought – please Marissa don’t kill me if you read this – that maybe if she got a dog, she wouldn’t get pregnant. She was ten!
And so it was that little Ming entered our lives some eleven years ago, and changed mine.
If there is love missing in your life, get a pug. A more loving dog you cannot find. They are like heat seeking love machines, and not in a disgusting Tiger Woods manner. Sit down, they are on your lap, lay down they are spooning your back or your front, snoring happily.
And you can always tell where they are because of the way they breathe. A pug on the move sounds like a sucking chest wound.
When the kids left for dad’s, Ming was there, and a year later, there was also Gordie, the black pug. Marissa found him in a pet store. Gordie was the opposite of Ming. He was a fierce fighting machine, whose bark was just as loud as his bite.
Gordie, who has been with me now for ten years, has crazy eyes and the kids refer to him as the Little Black Bastard. But together, Ming and Gordie managed to tag team my heart, and fill a void.
If I hadn’t met Scott, I might have ended up as “that crazy pug lady”, because together, the pugs rocked my world. They were, and are, like love on a stick.