Toby the Pug


Exactly one year ago we lost our first baby pug, Toby.  He was only 6 years old.  It was a really short life as far as pugs go, and ultimately we don’t know why he got so sick and passed so suddenly.  He’d been sick briefly in September, but rebounded, then got much sicker in October and had extensive tests and a hospitalization.  He rebounded once again and came home and while he had lost way too much weight, he was his normal snuggly self and we just hoped whatever the mystery illness was, it would disappear as quickly as it appeared.  Ultimately Toby died of a stroke, but we strongly suspect that he had cancer as he continued to inexplicably lose weight.

I never thought I’d be a pug mom when I grew up.  I had planned, since childhood, to get an english bulldog as soon as I could.  Tyler knew this when we started dating and was in agreement.  However shortly after we got married we met a pug named Pumpkin that slept in a big papasan chair and was adorable and playful and snuggly and we knew we were meant to be pug owners.  When we moved to Kansas we started the search on petfinder.  Hoping to adopt a puppy but committed to rescuing, not purchasing, a dog of our own.  In April of 2008 we applied for and were approved to adopt a pug puppy from a rescue in St. Louis.  I rushed around town buying a crate, toys, food, collar, etc. etc. To the point my credit card was frozen because they were not used to such shopping sprees and thought it had been stolen!   I had to work that Saturday so Tyler drove the 4 hours to St. Louis to pick him up.  There were 3 puppies to choose from and he made his pick and brought “Cinnamon” home to live with us.  Terrible name for a pug, just terrible, lol.  Toby snoozed in a box on the way home Tyler kept his hand on him to keep him calm when he got fidgety.  He was only 3.3lbs.  A teeny tiny baby pug all for us.  Here’s the picture I took of my first look at him.


He was so tiny and snuggly and all puppy.  Loved to play with toys and nip and your fingers and toes and then he’d just pass out in the middle of the floor and then wake up and pee on everything.  He was so tiny he couldn’t hop up on the furniture so he’d just sit by the couch and cry and cry until you lifted him up. Then he’d want down and cry and cry to get down.  He was too tiny to navigate the staircase to our 3rd floor apartment so we’d carry him out to potty every 20 minutes and he was like a fat potato you could hold in one hand.  Just the cutest thing ever.

The first night was horrrrrrrible. He cried all.night.long.  I cried thinking we’d made some huge mistake and just sure we could never have an actual baby if a pug baby was this hard. Tyler slept on the floor next to his crate with his hand in there to help calm him down.  We tried all the tricks, including a warm water bottle (all that wallgreens sold was a hot pink “douchebag”) but he promptly popped it with his sharp puppy claws and then he was mad because he was soaking wet.  Eventually he chilled out and came to love his crate and before he was even a year old you could say “crate” and he would run up to it and hop in and wait for you to close the door.  Our world pretty much revolved around him.



He had (and destroyed) many many toys but his favorite was this random stuffed platypus.  He loved her more than any toy ever.

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To get exercise he would run up and down the hall of our apartment, doing his “pugtonas” and wearing himself out. Eventually he’d slide under the couch to cool down. 10400489_506800901341_402_n

About a year after we rescued him we moved into our house, and he loved the extra space and the window to observe the neighborhood.

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notice he also got kinda Chubby.  That’s when we started calling him Chubbs.

So a few months after we moved in we got the itch to get a second pug. We figured Chubbs could use a playmate and hopefully they’d play and snuggle and be best buddies.  Enter Betty Boop, or Boopers.  We drove 4 hours down to Arkansas to get her from a pug rescue, I think you can tell from this picture how he felt about it.


they were not instant buddies


Eventually they came to tolerate each other and occasionally would play or snuggle but most of the time Boopers was not very nice to him.  She didn’t like sharing the spotlight and Chubbs wasn’t fond of sharing either. Our nightly routine was to separate them so they got lots of one on one attention.  Tyler took Boopers, I took Chubbs.  Sometimes I’d rock him like a little baby and tell him he would always be my little baby pug.


Toby took MUCH more kindly to Gretchen when she entered the scene.  He took on the role of protector and was a very sweet big brother to her.  I have countless photos of him sitting right next to her during that first year of her life, especially before she got mobile.  He loved to steal her warm spot in the boppy pillow if I picked her up, and if she cried he would bring her one of his eggballs, the toy he always sucked on when he was upset.

Gretchen still talks about Toby often. She will say things like “Toby is gone.”  or “Toby was sick.” She will sometimes say “Toby is gone but he will come back.”  I think as more time passes she’s understanding that he won’t come back but it’s hard to be sure.  She loves to look at old pictures and videos of him and she will draw pictures of him too.


Toby’s favorite things: food, snuggling, sunshine belly rubs, sleeping in the big bed behind mama’s knees, cleaning up after Gretchen ate, his platypus, his eggballs, playing fetch and occassionally tug.

Toby’s least favorite things: the period of time between 2-4 pm when it was too early for dinner and he suffered from what we called “ETS” (empty tum syndrome), other dogs in the cul de sac, esp. Sally the Weimeraner, bags of all kinds, getting his nails or ears cleaned, change.  Baby pug preferred that every day be exactly the same.


Happy Birthday Toby!

Hard to believe Toby is turning 2 years old this week!  We don’t know his exact birthday, but we do know it is the last week of February, so I guess we will just celebrate all week!  In honor of my baby pug, I updated the little video slideshow I made of him last year to include pictures from his second year.  I cannot believe my baby pug that was 3.3 lbs when we brought him home is a whopping 30 lbs now!  Thus why we call him Chubbs.  We also call him: poog, poog face, poogers, chubbers, little baby pug, nommer, nommerface, chubby bun (or bunny), chubbiest of buns, fatty face, tobes, and tobers.  He pretty much responds to all of those, but “dinner” is always the magic word!

He has mellowed quite a bit over the last few months since we brought home a sister for him.  He still likes to steal tissues out of the trash and beg for treats.  After he eats breakfast and goes out in the morning he runs upstairs and hops into bed with me, digging himself under the covers and snuggling up next to me to stay warm and catch some extra snoozes.  Tyler and I trade off who gets to snuggle Toby at bedtime each night.  He sleeps in the bed until about the middle of the night when Tyler puts him in his crate until breakfast (otherwise Toby would be up at first light).

He is definitely an Amish pug, hater of all things electronic that steal his parent’s attention.  He will literally push my laptop out of my lap if I don’t watch out.  His favorite treats are bananas and peanut butter, and cheese is always a hit too.  Really he will eat anything.  He loves shih tzus but not as much as he loves people.  At the dog park he will find a friendly person and beg for a belly rub, but he is never interested in the other dogs.  He is a creature of habit and never happier than when he’s snuggled up with his mama or daddy and one of his favorite toys.  He will always be our baby pug!

You can watch the video here:

Happy Birthday Chubbs.

Puggy Christmas

So my favorite Etsy seller is probably maustudio, she makes the cutest little designs and I cannot resist the little pug, Ball-Z.  As you know I framed a set of the Christmas cards last year to put on display, and I have the magnets on my fridge.  Last year I bought a bunch of the Christmas cards on clearance for this year, perfect to send out in light of the second pug we are bringing home soon!  Black pug lovers do not be sad, T-Tea the black pug also adorns many of her products!  Her stuff is also not pug exclusive, she features several other dog breeds, including chihuahuas, chows, min pins, and bostons.  I swear she keeps making more and more Ball-Z products because she KNOWS I can’t resist at this point!  I am however showing some restraint, I do not own the mint tins or the necklace
Here is what may be coming to a mailbox near you…if we are Christmas card buddies 😉 
Ball-Z in the Snow Greeting Cards
Ball-Z Greeting Cards
Ball-Z stickers
and I couldn’t resist the address labels…
50 Personalize Holiday Address Labels - Pug Santa
I know…I have a problem!
I also snagged a pack of the ball-z gift tags for some of my gifts. 
Ball-Z Puggy Gift Tag

A Year Of Pug Life

Dear Poogface,

A year ago today we brought you home and our lives changed immediately.


my very first peek at my baby pug

We awww’d and “so cuuuuute’d” over your teensy tiny poogness and took 100 pictures of you in less than an hour.  Later that night as you cried pitifully in your crate for hours on end while Tyler slept on the floor next to it in hopes of soothing you we thought we’d made the biggest mistake of our lives.  Somehow we made it through those first few weeks until you no longer cried for hours on end and no longer required trips outside to potty every 30 minutes.  Not to say that you were anywhere near housebroken, but we no longer made 4-5 trips outside with you every hour.


you quickly fell in love with a stuffed green platypus and have been inseparable ever since, despite the fact that you have ripped her head open and spilled her little stuffy brains all over the place.  I no longer patch her up for you, I just remove the stuffing.

You charmed everyone you met but soon discovered the scary things in this world such as vacuums, brooms, make-up bags, plastic bags, purses, sleeping bags, reuseable grocery bags, lawn bags, etc.  Apparantly you are phobic of all types of bags.  Although you didn’t get off to the best start, you eventually aced your puppy class, although you still choose to obey us only when you feel like it, which is rarely.


You were not a fan of the graduation cap but you looked soooooooo cute.

Despite his initial firm rule of no pugs in the bed, by late summer your daddy had softened up and was now refusing to make you sleep in your crate at night, despite how much of the bed you managed to hog with your little body.  You are now a thoroughly spoiled poog, sleeping in the bed with us every night until the wee hours of the morning when we always move you to your crate so you don’t wake up with the sun and demand your breakfast.


Giraffe was your first toy and one of your favorites, but after destroying 4 (maybe 5…) of them they have been banned from the house.  Poor poog, you can no longer gaze lovingly into her eyes.

We learned that you are much smarter than we bargained for.  The list of words you know grows almost daily, and you can learn the name of a new toy within minutes (you can also destroy new toys within minutes, RIP snake).  You are a creature of habit, and live for our routines.  You know when I close my laptop that I am leaving the house, and you always get angry because you know it means it is time for the crate.  One time I closed my laptop at the same time that your daddy went to wash his glasses.  You immediately ran to the door expecting a trip to the dog park, as we had done the same things the last time we left the house with you.  You are too smart for your own good.


And thus I had to humble you, while meeting my own crazy need to dress you up in a ridiculous costume.  You were stripped of your dignity and forced to parade around Petsmart, only to lose the costume contest to another pug dressed as a flying monkey.  We will have to up our game this Halloween.

You have put on a few pounds over the winter, but are quickly adjusting to your new diet and lots of exercise doing your pugtona run around the backyard every evening.  If I am ever feeling down all I have to do is make you pugtona and I am immediately cheered up.  Someday I will try to capture it on camera, it is truly a sight to behold.


Adjusting to the new house has taken you about a month, but with your platypus by your side you are slowly accepting this as home.  I cherish my snuggle time with you in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening.  You are the snuggliest pug in the world, as well as the cutest, at least in our opinion.


One of the best decisions we have ever made was to rescue you Toby, and you reward us each and every day with pug kisses, snuggles, and pugtonas.  I’m so glad we stuck it out after that first horrible night.  Happy Gotcha Day Toby!  You will always be our baby poog.



Toby settles in

Toby is not so sure about this whole house thing.  He misses his old couch (little does he know it is in the garage!), he misses his favorite sunny spots, and he misses some of his favorite toys that I threw out when we moved (such as plastic bottles he’s chewed on and off for months now).  He appears to have lost his appetite, as his food just sits in the bowl all day and he only picks at it.  He does seem to like our new chairs, although they make it difficult to snuggle, as I can only have either the laptop or the pug in my lap at one time.


My turn mama!  Tell Mr. Laptop it’s my turn to snuggle!


Fine, if you don’t want to give up your lap than I shall just snuggle Daddyface and show you what you’re missing.


but there isn’t much time for snuggling, the crazy kids in the cul de sac need to be watched, I don’t trust them!


and I need to break in this new carpet and find the best spots for snoozin.