So the saga of the lost puggle reached its end earlier this week with the successful location of a permanent home for the little guy. But not before further adventures. . .
Last Sunday I learned of a local group of puggle owners who met occasionally at large, open areas to let their dogs run. Organized through a "Meetup" website, they were scheduled to meet that very day. So I tucked the puggle into a red dog sweater against the cold and took him and Bermondsey out.
We went to the dog park first, to check that the posters were still up--there had been a grand total of NO responses to the notice and I wanted to be sure they were still up. We got to the park, and Puggle clearly knew where he was. He leapt out of the car, ran up to the gate, and wormed his way under the fence. The better to start running around and getting into other dogs' ways.
It was easy to see how he could have gotten lost from any owner that he did have, as I couldn't remotely keep track of him. Fortunately, the red sweater stood out so when he was even remotely in view I could pick him out against the snow. Although for the first twenty minutes I couldn't find him at all. He just took off and ran.
Not being a complete dunce, I had left his leash on him, so when he did pass by, I was able to stomp on the leash and get some control over him. By the time I even found him again, Bermondsey was ready to go, so we headed over to the Puggle Meetup.
Is there a better way to learn about the nature of a certain dog breed than watching about 30 of them in a room? Not with puggles there isn't. All at once I could how the two breeds contributed to the dogs. Mr. Yips was the smallest of the puggles in the room, except for one that was still a puppy. Many of the dogs were pug sized, but quite a few were more like beagles with pug coloring. A couple were black, and one was a brindle color, although most were tan with black faces and ears.
They all had similar personalities--excessive curiosity and energy. In fact, 30 puggles in a room is like watching a science experiment. Truly. At one point, a couple of the puggles started running in a big circle around the room. Since every puggle needs to know what every other animal in the room is doing, more puggles joined the first two. Inside of two minutes, every single puggle in the room was running in the circle. It was like watching a science experiment on the formation of a tornado. Literally every single dog in that room had joined the vortex and was running in a circle. It's a good thing the breed is so small, or we would have seen furniture and people sucked into the maelstrom.
Because puggles are curious. Nosy, even. Watching a room full of puggles is like watching a room full of National Enquirer reporters and paparazzi at work. "Hey! There's the Loch Ness Monster!" And suddenly there is a stampede of dogs running to check out what is going on. "Alien spaceship on the White House Lawn!" Even dogs who don't have any idea what is going on join the stampede to go stick their noses in whatever business is happening.
Bermondsey was there too, and he was totally gob-smacked. He had literally no way to relate to this frenzy of dog nonsense. He climbed up onto my lap and watched, and even that wasn't far enough away from the mayhem, because occasionally a puggle would notice "Hey! There's a dog who's not participating! What's the deal with that?" and would come over and try to sniff out the story.
Some of the puggle group members tried to make us feel included. "Your dog can certainly go and play. It's not just for puggles." Which was a lovely thought, but Bermondsey had no interest in getting into that scrum. It was like inviting a chess player to join a rugby game--there was no overlap. Eventually, I put Bermondsey on a mat on top of a large wire kennel, which kept him out of the way of the craziness.
Mr. Yips was in his element, though. I left the leash on him, at least in part so I could reclaim him afterwards, and in part because I wasn't certain I could recognize him without the leash and the sweater. The leash proved problematic, because a larger puggle grabbed it--twice--and began leading Mr. Yips around by it. So a kind puggle parent removed the leash and returned it to me.
I managed to speak to the organizer of the meet-up and told her the story of poor, abandoned Mr. Yips, and she was shocked, appalled, and ready to help. She promised to send out an email to the group with his story to see if anyone could help. And that was the single best way to find a home for a lost puggle. Because it turns out that people who have puggles LOVE the breed, and people who have only one puggle want another one so they can have Doggie Buddies.
Because the email went out on Sunday afternoon, and in 24 hours I had six people who were interested in adopting Mr. Yips, three more people who wanted to help with the search for a new home for him, and one person who couldn't take another puggle, but offered to help with vetenary bills and neutering, as well as dog sitting over the holidays if necessary.
It was the kind of thing that makes you think that people are not such a bad species after all. I mean, it's embarrassing to belong to homo sapiens if one of them would leave a little dog alone and naked in a dog park. But when people come out of the woodwork to offer assistance of any kind, you have to realize that people are not all bad.
On Monday night, someone had contacted me about meeting Mr. Yips and introducing him to the puggle they already had. "Frankie" was four, and they had been thinking about getting a second dog to be a companion. So I took Mr. Yips over for a "puggle play date."
And even though he was not the dog of my heart, I started to have doubts about leaving him there. Because Frankie was aggressive and nosy, and suddenly Mr. Yips was being treated the way he had treated Bermondsey. Although, to be fair, Mr. Yips could give as good as he got, and did, while poor Bermondsey just suffered.
I left Mr. Yips there so the craziness could settle down, and within a couple of hours I got a phone call that they wanted to keep him. The only caveat I had was that they had to let me know how he was doing, what they named him, and if there was any problem, I would take him back.
Mr. Yips has been there for the rest of the week, and is now named "Vinnie." (I know--Frankie and Vinnie, it sounds like an episode of The Sopranos or something!) The owners even sent me some pictures of the two dogs, and have told me that they have settled down. Vinnie's sweet personality is showing through, and they are very happy to have him.
"Vinnie" is the one facing toward the camera--you can see he is a smaller, less stocky guy than Frankie, although they are both on the small side for the breed.
"Vinnie" is the one asleep on the blanket.
So a Merry Christmas After All. Especially for Bermondsey, who is very happy to have his house back the way he likes it--quiet, with him as the only dog.