The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Titus and FlyNearly 25 years ago my sister Sara decided to get a pug. She’d had a pug as a child and Tweedle was the perfect dog. Even though the mutt looked rather plain in a bonnet she was happy to be dressed in dolls clothes and be pushed around in a pram. Looking back, Tweedle was an Einstein amongst pugs. Generally they are not the brightest stars in the intellectual firmament.

Sara didn’t want a puppy so we visited various breeders to see what they had available. Nothing fitted the bill. Then she heard about a year old pug in Southend-on-Sea. The pug hadn’t settled in three homes but just needed the “right environment”. Sara grabbed her cheque book and soon we were parking beside a bungalow with gate posts that ended in plump pug filials.

This was Pugland. The door knocker was a pug’s head. The breeder that opened the door was wearing a handpainted pug brooch. I glanced through the French Windows and spotted stone pugs standing on their back legs holding up urns.

The pug in question was let into the room. The other pugs that we’d seen had been placid Oliver Twist style pugs and we had felt beastly rejecting them. This small black pug raced in circles around the room, jumping onto chairs. Totally out of control. Just as I was preparing for a polite rejection and getaway, I was astonished to see my sister was reaching for her cheque book as the small black comma made a fiftieth lap of the room.

These breeders had placid pugs. There was a group of older pugs sunning themselves on the terrace, like a line of elderly Mafia Dons in a Sunset home.

I questioned Sara.
“Are you sure that you think this dog will fit in at home?”
“Yes.” She was signing the cheque. Perhaps mesmerised by the pug memorabilia. I stared at the pug calendar hanging above a porcelain pug reclining on a chez longe as the breeders looked out his papers.

We drove home with the plump beast roaring in the back of the car. We briefly discussed the name.
“I was thinking of Bertie. He was called that once.”
“He’s larger than life. What about the name of a Roman emperor?”
So he was christened Titus as the car hurtled back from Essex.

He didn’t settle.

I love dogs but he drove me nuts. If he’d been a human he would have had ASBO stamped all over him. One evening I found myself chasing him around the kitchen table with a broom. I knew that if I caught him I would kill him. This was not a good place to be for pug or me. Although she wouldn’t admit it, I suspected that my sister felt the same.

We settled into an uneasy, unhappy truce. This was a companion animal that made me want to spend all my time totally, uncompanionably alone. One day I decided to get my own dog.

“But how will Titus react?”
I was past caring about the avuncular beast.

On the trip home with the tiny, vulnerable 11 week old puppy I began to flap that Titus might just wolf him down as an expensive pre dinner canapé.

I carried the pup into the kitchen and sat at the table with the pup on my lap. Titus ambled over and put his paws on my leg. He leant forward and licked the pup very gently and gazed at him. He stood beside the chair, curious and quiet. A reformed and different beast.

I let T examine the pup a bit more and when I was confident that all was well I put the puppy on the floor beside him. Titus immediately picked up the pup by the scruff of its neck and whipped across the kitchen to the capacious dog basket. It was hard to hold back. Titus gently laid the pup in the dog basket and noisily, gulpingly licked him clean. This took some time as every millimetre of the miniature body was washed. Finally Titus tweaked a blanket gently over him, curled up alongside. and fell deply asleep.

That night I lay awake in the bedroom over the kitchen and wondered what was going on in the dog basket downstairs. I could hear the contented ship’s engine room pug snores and detected no cries of anguish from the precious pup.

The next morning all was well. They both greeted me at the door. Titus loved the pup and the pup loved him. Titus had been lonely – that was the problem. And the pup now had his very own fat friend.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pug lover

    The Kennel Club has a puppy sales register, listing breeders with puppies in each UK area

    It might be worth contacting the pug rescue groups such as this one

  2. pug lover

    heyyyyyyyyyyyy do you know were we can buy pug puppies??????????????????? beautiful story kkkk

  3. moonroot

    Awwww! What a lovely story. It made me tearful.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Toffeapple

    I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the post!

  5. Toffeeapple

    Oh! I’m not much of an animal person, but that story brought a tear to my eye. What a happy ending.

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