As members of Pugslife, we know what joy our pets bring us. The pure and unconditional love they offer is unmatched, and someone who has never had a pet will, sadly, never know what he is missing.

My father is a huge animal lover, and his colleagues in the Indian Army, where he served quite many years, would often regale me with stories of dad’s love for animals - and not just the domestic variety. One story I was often told as a kid was that when dad was a bachelor, he had once rescued an injured fawn, brought him home, nursed him back to health and eventually returned him to his roots. Another story was of how he had rescued an abandoned and injured calf of an elephant, and after nursing him back to health, had returned him to the jungle. Besides, I have seen some old black and white photographs of dad performing tricks with a hairy mountain dog he’d had for pet as a bachelor. And from all these, I can, without a doubt, feel the bond he must have shared with all these animals he so obviously loved.

As for me, my earliest – and rather faint – recollection of a pet is that of a white Lhasa Apso named Whiskey. He was the apple of dad’s eye, and mom often said that even she could not compete with him in so far as dad’s affection went. Seems, when I was a baby, whenever dad went out of town on work, mom got a neighbour's daughter to sleep with her, as she was afraid to spend the night alone. On such nights, Whiskey would tug at the girl's dress and try his best to pull her out of dad's side of the bed, for he could not stand anyone else occupying dad's place on the bed!!  Unfortunately, Whiskey died a rather sad and premature death when I was slightly more than a toddler, and after that, dad could not bring himself to keep a pet for a long time. Moreover, my mom was not exactly enthusiastic about pets. Her grouse was that in the beginning, dad and I would take complete charge of the pet’s feeding, grooming, medicines etc., but before you knew it, the charge would be totally relinquished to mom, and our role would be restricted to playing with the pet. Having said that, dad always had the last word, so we weren’t devoid of a pet for too long.

My next pet was a beautiful cat named Rocky, who was gifted to me by a neighbour, and came to me as a barely three-week old kitten. He looked like a spotless white ball of fur and grew up to be as handsome as a cat can ever get. I do not know how intelligent cats are supposed to be, but this one was supremely intelligent, and I recollect at least a couple of instances that stand out in testimony. Our house had a toilet at the back for the domestic help, and its door had a crevice at the bottom, which for some reason dad had not bothered getting repaired. One day we noticed Rocky peeping through the crevice, when our domestic help was using the toilet, and after that, he never did his business anywhere except inside that toilet. The other instance is equally endearing. In the mornings, a fish monger would come on his bicycle, and Rocky would recognise his cycle bell. So he would promptly run to mom, who was usually in the kitchen at that time. He would tug at the hem of her dress and get her to come out and buy some fish for him. Like Whisky, Rocky also did not live to grow old, but got run over by a vehicle and died a rather horrible death.

Despite Rocky’s tragic death, I did have a few pets after him – a cat, a rabbit, a Mynah bird, and lastly, a dog who was a cross between a German Shepherd and a local breed. The cat, who was free to roam around, left us one day and that was the last we saw of her. The rabbit and mynah were both babies and unwell when my dad had found them and brought them home. They never recovered completely and eventually their health got the better of them. The worst death, however, was suffered by the dog, whom I had named Raisa. She was a guard dog who was kept at my dad’s farmhouse, and was looked after mainly by the caretaker. We visited the farmhouse twice a week and I spent oodles of time playing with her. One day when we reached the farmhouse, Raisa did not come sprinting as usual to greet us and we were immediately worried – more so as she had recently littered. Her litter was also missing from their bed. When we asked the caretaker, he claimed they must be around somewhere, but dad felt that something was fishy. So we started looking around, only to discover, to our horror, her dead body, and those of her entire brood, in a ditch outside the farmhouse. On interrogating the caretaker, we learnt that after she had littered, the caretaker was reluctant to look after them and had therefore decided to poison them to death. Needless to say, dad kicked the caretaker out forthwith and determined that we were jinxed and should never keep a pet again.

Luckily for me, when I met my husband, I was happy that his father had two dogs and that they had had a number of dogs, during my husband’s growing up years – a Pomeranian, a Doberman Pinscher, a Labrador Retriever etc. So, after getting married, I mustered the courage to get a pet, and now I have not one, but two adorable babies – Tin Tin, the pug, and Rusty, the Labrador Retriever. They are the love of my life and each day I thank God for having brought them into my life. They complete me, give me the courage to fight the bad days and celebrate the good ones with me. Love you, Rusty and Tin Tin.

With this, I invite all of you to write about the pets you have had thus far and the many small little things about them that you will remember or cherish forever and may want to recount.

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Comment by Pugnacious on August 16, 2013 at 9:50am

We lived on a ranch.My mom had a doxie.My dad had a hunting dog named Duke,although my dad did not hunt,lol.That poor dog was really dumb and no one liked him,i think back now it was probably because he was bread to hunt and never got to!The doxie had a litter of pups once and when she got old had a slipped disk.She would slide around causing sores on her back legs poor girl.Then my sister had a black poodle named Sophie.Every winter when she went out in the snow she would come in with snowballs stuck all over her hair!That was a sight to see,lol.We had a cat,cant remember its name but it would curl up and sleep next to the fridge.My brother dropped me on it when it was sleeping and it bit me on the face,had to get stitches and still have the scar.My first dog was when I was 9 she was a mix of german shepherd,collie,huskey and whatever else .I named her Stasha.Loved her very much but we moved out of state and couldn't take her so my dad kept her.She ended up getting heart worms a few years later and died.My stepdad had german shorthairs,strickly for hunting he hunted everything..quail,chucker,deer,elk,bear,boar,pheasant,you name it we ate it!So those dogs were not pets and I don't really remember there names.Once I grew up and moved away I had no animals for quite a few years.My daughter when she was 9 brought home a puppy from down the street,ugg!It only lasted a couple years as it growled at my son Logan when he was born.Hubby had cats.When we were building our house I got a doxie saint Bernard mix puppy.Yes can you imagine that?I named him links as he was long and round like a sausage link.He got hit by a car and broke his back at 6 months.I still miss him.Then we got an Ori Pei,half shar pei and half pug.THEN..finally Ms.B. my first pug..and Moosh and Jade.Geez so many pets through the years.

Comment by Pug Chick on August 15, 2013 at 11:34am

Oh these are both great stories.  Rashmi that is beyond tragic about Raisa and her pups.. What a horrible man! 

Diane I had a dog named Smokey too.  She was a Keeshond.

The first pet I ever had was a dog named Pawna.  I think my grandfather named her and I have no idea why he chose that name.  Pawna was a med size white longish haired mix.  I think she was a stray that showed up one day.  I remember she had puppies and we gave them all away.  One of the puppies was with us longer than the others and I remember it running up to greet me when I got off the school bus.  I didn't like this because he would scratch my legs up so I would yell No No and run to the house.  I think we called him Muffy.  Well after we found him a home I got off the bus that day and no Muffy came to greet me.  I was actually kinda sad.   Pawna eventually took up with a neighbor down the street.  They would bring her back to us time and time again but she was determined that was where she wanted to live.  So my grandfather relented and let the people have her as they loved her very much.  She lived a long lovely life with them and I would see her from time to time.  My next dog was a white toy poodle.  We were driving down our street and out by the road was this little white poodle.  We picked it up figuring it had gotten lost from it's home.  My grandparents called everyone trying to find the owner but no one knew who's poodle it was so we kept her and named her Lady.  She was a sweet little girl.  One of the main memories of Lady was that my grandfather would groom her himself since it was cheaper than taking her to a professional.  I know we did a few times and she looked so cute and they put pink bows in her hair.  Well granddaddy was NO groomer!  He would scalp that poor dog to the skin.  She looked awful.  She would see her reflection in the window and run and hide.  LOL  She lived to a ripe old age and passed on.  The next dog we got my boyfriend gave to me for my 18th birthday.  She was the Keeshond I mentioned named Smokey.  She was the cutest puppy so fluffy and soft.  We soon realized something was wrong with her hind legs and took her to the vet that said she had hip dysplasia.  She had to have both her hind leg or hips or what ever they do broken and reset.  She was in a lower body cast for a good while.  But she could scoot herself across the floor with no problem.  The next door neighbors had 2 dogs and when they would go out of town granddaddy would go over and feed and water them.  When I got old enough I started doing this.  They would take care of Smokey when we were gone.  To make things easier the adults decided to put up a dog pen between our two houses for the dogs to be in whenever who ever was out of town.  We went somewhere and when we returned the neighbor told us that Smokey was missing.  We looked and looked for her but eventually decided someone had stolen her.  I was sad but my grandfather was heartbroken as Smokey had pretty much become his dog and companion.  I always wanted a kitty growing up.  I just loved cats and kitties but my grandmother did not like them for some reason.  She would say she couldn't stand the feeling of one rubbing around her legs.  Who  Well a friend of mine up the street cat had kittens.  I'm pretty sure this was when we still had Smokey.  Anyway I was in high school and old enough to drive and had a part time job.  So I brought a kitten home and declared I would totally care for it and pay for all it's expenses.  It was a male kitten and I don't even remember it's name.  I took him and paid hard earned money for shots and all.  Well Mr Kitty became Mr. Cat sometime before he even turned one and disappeared.  Never was sure if he ran off cattin around or if he had help if you know what I mean?????  Those were all the animals from my childhood.  After marriage we had countless CATS!!!!!  Also had a parakeet.  Messy creatures never again!  Then our first dog after the boys were born was a boxer named Buster and then a lab mix named Buddy.  Still had cats coming and  After Buster past was when I got my first pug the fabulous Miss Puga!!!!  Poor Buddy got heartworms and had to be put down the first week we had Puga.  But the love affair of the Pug began and the rest as they say is history.

Comment by Di's spoiled kids on August 8, 2013 at 1:36pm

Hi Rashmi, well let me say I loved you stories of you dad and his animals growing up.  I too like you was raised with several pets, some of which I know we had, but cannot really remember all that well.  The one I have seen of me in pictures with but do not remember is a little Beagle named Pixie.  There is a photo of me with Pixie in my doll stroller.  I think my first real pet was a duck named Lucky.  I had my tonsils out and when I came home from the hospital my parents had got me a duck.  Lucky got to live with us until he was an adult duck, then he had to be sent to live in the wild.  We had a place not far away that many people left their ducks go at.  I would bring Lucky bread after that and he remembered me for about a month, then after that I saw him, but he never came to the fenced in area after that.  Kind of sad for me now that I think about it, Henry makes jokes as the place where we left him still has wild ducks and geese, and he says hey maybe Lucky is looking for you.  I have to tell him he is not funny  LOL.  The next pet I remember was Smokey, he was a Scottie, and him and I had our moments of love.  I use to try and dress him, and he did not like it, so I have a couple teeth marks on my face to remember him by.  While we had Smokey, I got a special present of Molly Bea, she was our first Pug, and she was mine.  I taught her to walk off leash from the time she was tiny, and she went just about everywhere with me.  Her favorite place to go was to Lizzie's house, that was my grandmother's house and I would say you want to go see Lizzie, and she would wiggle and cry until we went.  After Smokey died, he had a stroke, we got Mack, another Pug, but he was a little nasty at times, so he never really went to Lizzie's house.  My grandmother had one of Mack's pups, and her name was Midge.  She stayed with my grandmother until my grandmother had to go to a nursing home, and Midge went to live with a truck driver.  Last we heard on her, and she is long gone now, was that he loved it in her truck.  Molly died after I got married, and Mack later a few years after her.  Henry and I started with a couple of birds, then a hamster, then Muffin, and of course you all know Lily, Lulu, and now Linus and Lizzy.  So that is my love of pets.

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