The Tails of a True Dog Lover
Ever since I can remember, I’ve known that my life would not be complete without dogs.
My favorite memories as a child almost always involve my dog Zipper or some other dog experience. Zipper, a miniature schnauzer, was our family dog. He was the perfect pet for a little girl to grow up with and always the best attendee at our tea parties, letting us dress him up and play house with him all day long.
When Zipper was around 13, my family decided to add Cruizer to the family mix. Cruizer is a Jack Russel Terror (which is his nickname) who added spunk and energy to the Kamish clan. We were a two dog family until sadly, at the age of 16, my beloved Zipper passed away. It was hard to let him go, especially since he had been there for me as long as I could remember.
How Not to Buy a New Dog
The following spring, being the smart 18 year old I thought I was, I decided to "surprise" my mom with a puppy that would help ease her pain from losing Zipper (for the record: I would NEVER EVER advise anyone to buy a puppy as a surprise gift for anyone, and I would NEVER EVER advise anyone to buy a puppy from where I purchased this puppy from. Adopt!).
On my mom’s birthday, we surprised her with Ebi, a schnoodle (a schnauzer/poodle mix). This was probably one of the worst teenage decisions I had ever made, but at least now I know better.
The summer after I graduated from high school, I landed the perfect job at PetSmart. In the fall, I was registered to begin schooling for my massage therapy degree. The funny thing about this degree is that when I was around six or seven, I would always tell my Grandpa, whom I was VERY close to, that when I grew up, I was going to move to California and become a pet masseuse.
While going through school, I, of course, toyed with the idea of actually becoming a pet massage therapist (notice the change from masseuse to massage therapist—that’s called growing up). Although it sounded like a fun way to live my life, the state of Nebraska deemed it illegal to give therapeutic massages to animals unless you had a veterinary degree. So much for that idea!
I continued to love my work at PetSmart while going through school. It was a great job because I was constantly surrounded by pet loving people like myself. There was only one group of distinctive pet owners that I just could not understand: pug owners. There were more pug books and pug memorabilia than for any other breed. I couldn’t grasp the idea that someone could have such a strong obsession for such an ugly, gremli-looking dog. To me they were plain and simply an eyesore.
Why would someone love something so ugly that snorted constantly? How could someone look at those silly faces with bulging eyes all the time?
Not long after I discovered this unusual group of pet owners, my boyfriend (now fiancé), Matt, had somehow developed a love for this breed! At the time, we were playing with the idea of moving out of our parents’ house and into an apartment together. And of course, we knew we needed a dog. I had my mind set on a wheaten terrier.
He had his mind set on a pug.
Puppy Love at First Sight
After unsuccessfully convincing me that we should get a pug puppy, Matt decided that I just needed to see what a pug puppy looked like in person. So, we headed to Auburn, Nebraska where a family had just had a litter of pugs.
Before leaving the car, I remember thinking to myself:
Just don’t give in, remember how ugly these dogs are when they are adults.
That thought sure didn’t last long! As soon as the family brought out this little pug puppy, my heart melted. I knew instantly that I was in love. Just one look with those big eyes had me sold. I gave in with only one exception—that we had to find a place of our own to raise this little puppy within two months. I didn’t want to raise a puppy in two households, and thankfully Matt agreed.
After failing to rationally think this decision through (seems to be a problem with teenagers), we wrote out the check and were on our way back with our new baby. On the drive back, we were going through name ideas, and Matt settled on the famous film boxer, Rocky Balboa. As I cuddled this little adorable creature, our Rocky, I knew I was in love.
It didn’t take me long to figure out why those crazy pug people are the way they are. Pugs have more personality than most dog owners can imagine. All they want in life is a warm lap to cuddle up in and take a nap. Rocky began to change my whole view of pugs. They became precious and oh so adorable!
I would seek out people who had a pug just to talk to them about pug things. About three weeks after we got Rocky, we moved into our first apartment together. It was just what I wanted: independence from my parents and a place to be together with Matt so we could raise our baby together.
I still think back on those days when Rocky was just a puppy and wonder what made me decide to go along with Matt to see the little pugs. I can’t imagine how different my life would be today if I hadn’t made the decision to go along with him to see them.
For starters, my house wouldn’t be filled with every pug decoration you could possibly find. My walls wouldn’t be plastered with pug pictures and posters. I wouldn’t have a wonderful pug club, and I definitely wouldn’t have the pug rescue, Pug Partners. I wouldn’t have all the wonderful friends I have today because of the love of this great breed.
It is truly amazing to me to think that one of those crazy teenage actions actually shaped my life as much as it has. I am so thankful that I found this breed and that I know the rest of my life will be filled with joy from these adorable little creatures.