I blog about my two pugs Frank & Beans all the time. Those of you who have been reading for a while will remember that I’ve only had them since this summer but they are older dogs. Everyone who hears that they were 8 and 9 when we got them asks what their story is…
A couple of years ago Ryan was online and he showed me a photo of a human “selfie” with a cross-eyed pug photobombing in the background. We laughed and one of us jokingly said that we should get a pug to photobomb our pictures. We were completely kidding at the time but a couple of weeks later I somehow stumbled upon an article that talked about pugs and their temperament. Characteristics like being lapdogs, good with kids, and requiring little exercise (making them ideal for apartment dwellers like us) made me think they would be a good fit for us. After that, photos of pugs or stories about pugs would always catch my eye and the more I read about the breed, the more I wanted one of my own.
At the time, we were living in an apartment complex with a roommate so it wasn’t really a very ideal time to get a puppy or dog that would likely have accidents while transitioning to living with us. For a while, I would check Craigslist and Petfinder.com for pugs at least a couple of times a week even though I knew we weren’t ready, I just liked looking and day dreaming about it. We kind of decided that we’d wait until we had a place completely to ourselves, without roommates before getting a dog. At some point along the way, I had mentioned to my mom that I wanted to get a pug someday. One day, my mom saw two pugs posted on a buy/sell/trade type facebook group for our local area and tagged me to ask if I were interested. I just happened to sit down to my laptop when her notification came in, I said I was interested and within 5 minutes two other people commented below me saying that if I changed my mind, they were interested. I was SO thankful that I happened to get online at the perfect time.
We made arrangements to see the dogs. We asked why they were getting rid of the dogs and she said that she was moving and wouldn’t have as much space for the dogs. She said she used to have a big dog that she had recently gotten rid of also. I responded that perhaps we weren’t a very good fit then, because we just had a small apartment. To that she replied that they don’t take up much space. So, it was pretty clear that her lack of space wasn’t her true reason for getting rid of them, but to this day I don’t know what the real reason was.
In the online ad that she posted, she said she was looking for “homes” for the dogs so I asked if they were attached to each other or if they would be fine with being separated. She said she had them both since they were puppies and that they had always been together so she wanted them to stay together. We had never had a dog of our own before (though we both had dogs in our households when we were kids) so the idea of taking on two dogs at once seemed risky. We asked for 24 hours to think it over, but it felt like the offer had landed in our laps and we decided to run with it.
The previous owner gave us a storage container with their old dog food, two leashes, a collar and a large kennel that she said they both slept in together. As we put the stuff in our truck, the dogs were walking around at our feet breathing really heavily. She told us the brand of dog food they were on and said that they had been bathed that day. With that, she said goodbye so we each picked up one dog and drove home. Ryan & I had to shout at each other as we talked on the way home because they were breathing SO loudly. We laughed so hard that we cried because we really thought we would never sleep again because of how loud they were.
Looking back, I can’t believe that I didn’t ask a million more questions than I did. I had thought up questions to ask prior to going to pick them up, but I felt nervous and awkward while there and other than asking about their food brand and type, I couldn’t even remember what I wanted to ask. All that I knew was they liked cheese, were sensitive to changes in food, that they ate walmart brand dog food, they were 8 and 9 years old, had been together since puppies and that they slept in a kennel together. That’s all I knew about them. I’m surprised that she didn’t have more that she wanted to tell me, but perhaps she did and she just got emotional and “went blank” as well.
We went home and got them food and water set up, and sat petting and holding them for a long time. They were still breathing really heavily but they didn’t bark or whine so I assumed they weren’t too upset. It was a couple of hours later when they finally stopped the heavy breathing for a few seconds and Ryan & I both looked at each other “Oh! So they don’t ALWAYS breathe that way!”. Then, it started right back up.
Seems how we had their kennel from their old house, we set it up that night for them to sleep in. I thought it might give them some comfort and help them sleep. When I opened the door and pointed in, they both went in right away. They breathed heavily that whole night and we barely slept. Thankfully, that next morning they started to go hours at a time without the noisy breathing.
Over the next two days, they started breathing normally more and more throughout the day but would still breathe heavily at night. At that point, I thought it was their version of snoring or something. By day three, they would only breathe heavily while outside and then for a couple of minutes after returning inside. It became clear that their heavy breathing that first day was probably because of the extreme weather that we were having. The day that we got them was extremely humid – it felt like we were walking through a cloud and the temperature was in the 90s, so I think that was a huge factor. On the third night, they had both fallen asleep before I was ready for bed and I noticed they were breathing normally. “Maybe they’ve just been getting overheated at night, and won’t always breathe like that all night long!” I hoped. When I was ready to go to sleep, I opened the kennel door and pointed inside when we were getting ready for bed, and they started breathing heavily right away, but walked into the kennel.
That’s when it hit me. Their nighttime breathing wasn’t about the temperature – they were upset. They didn’t want to be alone in their kennel. I called them back out and they began breathing normally again. I looked at Ryan and we mutually agreed that we’d try letting them sleep with us that night. I was exhausted from barely sleeping the previous two nights because of the noisy breathing, so it felt great to fall asleep quickly in my silent bedroom. I woke up the next morning with Frank & Beans still cuddled against me, breathing calmly and still asleep.
While I had started falling in love with them when I first saw them, that was when I really became aware of how bonded I already was to them. These were my dogs. Just letting them be near me brought them comfort and knowing that felt amazing.
Click the link below to read the second half of the story which is hosted on my other blog, Frank Loves Beans.
This post currently has 13 responses.