All About Oscar

A blossoming love affair with a new dog.

On a sunny Sunday in March, my husband and I became proud parents to a scrappy little 18-month-old pug whom we call Oscar. And ever since, we’ve been fully immersed the wonderful getting-to-know you stage that accompanies any blossoming new relationship.

Here are some things we’ve learned about our little guy so far.

  • Despite the fact that pugs are completely unathletic and goofy looking, our Oscar plays a mean game of catch and turns it into a contact sport. Instead of running and picking up the rope that we throw, he takes a flying leap into the air and lands on top of it — an act that usually sends him skidding across the entire tiled floor and into a wall. After frantically chasing his prey around in a circle, he manages to bring it back to us for another go-round. Unless, of course, he gets tired and decides instead to hide his rope in his bed and sit on top of it so we can’t take it from him anymore.
  • When we first brought him home, we were afraid that he would be shy and wouldn’t know what to think of us. Right away, though, Oscar happily let us fasten his collar and introduce him to his new family and home. Hubby and I can’t be anywhere in the house without our dog — he won’t let us out of his sight for a minute, especially if one of us has an available lap for him to claim as his own.
  • His mouth is far too small to pick up the ball that my parents gave him (a hand-me-down from sheepdog Maxie), but he has become a champion soccer player, using his paws to dribble it and his mighty headbutt to send it rolling across a room.
  • Sock monkeys make endlessly entertaining dog toys. They can be carried around by the tail, chewed on, thrown around, and used as pillows. Sock bunnies and sock froggies are also pretty great.
  • Unlike most dogs I know, Oscar does not bark. Instead, pugs communicate in an elaborate series of grunts, wheezes, snorts, and moans, all of which are endlessly entertaining. He also snores to beat the band when he’s napping and sounds like a crazed wild animal when he eats his food in the morning, a task that seems to require slamming his food bowl into the wall with each and every bite.
  • While wild animals, vacuum cleaners, and loud noises are not especially alarming to Oscar, one small piece of paper on the floor was cause for major alarm. Major alarm for a pug, by the way, just consists of staring at said paper in terror and revving up just enough energy for one tiny rare bark before supervising me while I threw the paper away for him.
  • Plastic bags are also terrifying.
  • Did you know that stairs are among life’s more daunting challenges? Certainly they are when you’re only 13 pounds and have stubs for legs. Luckily, Oscar also has humans around who are nice enough to scoop him up and carry him from time to time. He helps us out by paddling his feet through the air while he’s being chauffeured around.
  • Few things in the world feel better than greeting a dog after a long day’s work. Oscar is always, always ecstatic to see me, waggling his curly tail as hard as he can and hopping joyfully into my lap for some heavy duty cuddling and kissing.
  • In fact, the very first thing he learned to do was give kisses. I know it’s gross, but I don’t mind the dog spit one bit. You can’t beat puppy kisses.
  • Our poor little boy doesn’t produce enough tears to keep his eyes healthy, so we now get the pleasant experience of twice daily restraining the pipsqueak and rubbing prescription goo into each bug eye. It is a whole lot of not fun for all parties involved.
  • Applying goo for an ear infection is not much easier.
  • Baths, however, are no problem. Being so little, Oscar fits right into a sink and has short hair that dries off in no time. He even helps get himself dry — if we lay a towel down for him, he will gladly roll around in it and rub his smooshy face. He also really enjoys being brushed, and it’s been a soothing way for us to spend time together. Plus, I’d rather have the hair in his brush than all over my house.
  • Regardless, I still have a ton of hair all over the house. For such little dogs, pugs are furry monsters. It’s a losing battle, and I’m seriously considering adding a Roomba to our family to help keep up with the shedding.
  • Oscar is apparently unable to walk a straight line and ends up weaving an elaborate zigzag in front of us on our daily walks. As a result, I have stepped on him twice.
  • Don’t assume that pugs know that glass doors are solid.
  • Just because a dog arrives with the disclaimer that he is housetrained, it doesn’t mean he’s trained for our particular house. For the first few days, our trips outside mostly consisted of him sitting in the grass staring at us while we cooed like idiots telling him to go potty. We’re getting better at that one and practically throw him a party every time he goes out successfully.
  • It’s really hard to stay mad at a pug while looking into his big worried eyes. And Oscar knows it, too, and uses it against us liberally.
  • Above all else, Oscar’s favorite thing in the whole world is an open lap. He’s a serious cuddler, and it’s hard to go very long without getting snuggles and kisses. We have a little guy here with us all the time who unabashedly loves us — and for me, that’s what dog ownership is all about.
Article © 2009 by Molly E. Weeks