In 1984 while driving along a busy thoroughfare in Staten Island, I noticed some boys tossing what I thought was a black and white Nerf ball, which were popular at the time. Continuing to look on I saw that it was a puppy being tossed. I immediately jumped out of my car, ran over to the boys and asked these “darling children” what the hell was going on? They started swearing at me and telling me to mind my own (blank) business. That didn’t exactly sit right with me. I walked over to the boy who was now holding the puppy and grabbed the baby out of his arms. Needless to say, he and the rest of his crew were a bit upset continuing to swear and threaten me.
One boy said that his mother will come after me. I looked at him and told him my name, my telephone number and suggested that,yes, tell his mom to call me at any time. I immediately walked back to my car, shaking puppy in my arms and went directly to a local vet. After careful examination, the vet said the baby wasn’t hurt, just very scared and nervous, and was probably nine weeks old. That was July of 1984. The day PeeWee entered my life, and thus began an almost eighteen year love affair. Needless to say I never heard from the mother of that boy.
PeeWee was a silly looking mutt, to say the least. He was white with black polka dots, short and low to the ground like a doxie, with one black ear and one white ear that matched his one black eye and one white eye. My other rescue dog Trampo accepted him graciously. My cats couldn’t have cared less, and so began a wonderfully fulfilling relationship between a crazy lady who confronted a group of teenage punks, and a dog that appreciated her kindness.
One day in 2001, I came home from work and my daughter told me that something was wrong with PeeWee. He wobbled when he walked. We rushed him to an emergency vet and by the time we had gotten there PeeWee was paralyzed in his hind legs. They tried to help him medically, and he remained at the vets’ office for 3 days and nights. I would go there every morning before work and and every evening after work to spend time with him and to make sure he ate, hand feeding him his meals, as my PeeWee couldn’t move to feed himself. Each time I saw him my heart ached. Here was this little boy that I have loved for almost eighteen years, my little boy with the personality of a dude – who strutted his stuff as though he was a giant of a dog – unable to move. The vet suggested that I take him to a canine neurosurgeon for exploratory surgery, but I could not, nor would not, put my little four legged partner through such a procedure at his age. Instead, I chose to take him home so he could spend some time with the other dogs in my home. Over the years I had adopted a Cairn Terrier that was languishing in a local pet shop for months, and a Pekingnese, who some lowlife had thrown out of a car window directly in front of me. I was able to stop my car in time, scoop her up and bring her home. Nugget, the Cairn and Maxii, the Peke were PeeWee’s girls. Over the years they were inseparable.
The next day I took my precious boy to my regular vet for one last miracle. There was no miracle to be had. My vet looked at me and said, “Gayle, it’s time.” Evidently PeeWee had had a stroke, and by this time he was losing all motion in his front legs. My family and I gathered around PeeWee to say our last goodbyes. it was the most painful moment of my life, bar none.
I remained in mourning for three months. I was not able to be consoled. I had loved and cherished that little guy for almost eighteen years and now he was gone. I adored Nugget and Maxii, who were twelve and eleven respectively, but I knew deep in my heart I needed to experience the joy of puppy breath once again. At that time I knew nothing about pure breed rescue groups, and because I always loved the unique look of Pugs, I contacted a reputable pug breeder on Staten Island. This was a brand new venture for me, as I had never purchased a dog before. All of my pets were rescues. The breeder said she had a litter of three puppies available and I could come to see them that very night. There was a black puggie, a silver puggie and a fawn puggie. I fell in love with all of them. How could I not? How to choose? After about one hour of playtime with the puppies – I was sitting on her kitchen floor with them – the fawn puppy came into my lap and started to lick my hand. That was it. He was mine. At that moment I felt my heart being restored. Pugsley became my newest furry heartbeat.
My world literally changed the day Pugsley entered my life. I joined the Pug board on AOL. I met the most wonderful people on that board, becoming friends with pugaholics throughout the country who shared a love for Pugs. Trying to explain the love and support of my Pug board friends is a bit difficult. Monies are collected for those Pug owners who have exhorbitant vet bills. Monies are collected for memorial candles when one of our members loses a beloved Pug. Some of us, from all over the counry, have never met, but the friendships are long, supportive and enduring. Every year a few of the Pug board members get together in an area close to someone’s home for a Spring Fling – no pugs, just Pug people who spend time eating, drinking, laughing and just enjoying ourselves and each other.
The day I brought my Pugsley home, March 23, 200l, is probably one of the best days of my life. How a little puppy can help a heart heal, is a true miracle. Pugsley is now nine and a half years old. He is the most patient and lovable boy, with a gentle soul and a truly caring heart. He shows that caring heart every day of his life having to share his home with seven feline brothers and sisters, and his hyper, needy, yet loving Jackahuahua sister Sophie. All of Pugsley’s siblings are rescues. I had to say goodbye to Nugget in 2005. She was almost 16. I said goodbye to Maxii in 2006. She too was almost 16. With the pain of each passing, I was able to rely on my Pugsley for understanding, sympathy and love.
No new pet every replaces the ones we have lost. PeeWee will forever live in my heart. I’m able to look at his silly little face every day of my life as I have tattoos of him, Nugget, Maxii, Pugsley and Sophie on my upper right arm. Some people may thing that is a bit strange, but true pet lovers understand. Over the years I’ve been blessed with unconditional love, devotion and joy because of four legged beings. Each one holds a place within the confines of my heart, within the confines of my soul. Each one has given me the gift of precious memories that I will treasure until we are together once more at The Bridge.