A Royall Juggle

Posts Tagged ‘family tradition

Just a few pieces of my family's pug collection

The title of my post was taken from a quote on my monthly pug calendar, just one of the many pug accessories my family has purchased over the years. We’ve had three family pugs, all of which were full of personality yet very unique. Our family pug tradition began during parent’s honeymoon, or lack thereof. Their honeymoon was cut short because they spent all their money on a pug puppy they couldn’t resist. They brought him home to start their life together. Soon after, my sister and I joined the family and grew up alongside their pug, Butchie (the strong-willed adventurer). From the day I was born, I was raised to view animals as an important part of family. Yes, my sister and I came before the pug, but Butchie was a close third. He taught us important life lessons growing up including perseverance – he spent the last few years of his life blind and deaf but always managed to sniff his way around and find his way back home. I still remember the day we got the phone call from my grandparents who were keeping him at the time to let us know Butchie had passed away – I was on my way to the pool but spent most of the afternoon in bed crying instead. It was only the second time I’ve had to deal with death as a child (the first being my grandpa when I was only two).

Millie was the best tailgating buddy even in her final years

Our second dog came as a Christmas gift when I was in middle school; ever since Butchie died, my sister and I had bugged our parents for another pug and we finally got our wish. Our second pug, Millie (the wise and loyal companion), helped me get through my awkward and rebellious teenage years. She could always sense when I was upset and stayed by my side through all the dramatic break-ups. Even though I have a wonderful family and friends, there is something about a dog’s enduring love and loyalty that is comforting. Millie also added lots of humor to my life – I remember laughing hysterically every time she welcomed someone to our house with a song (she had a funny howl and would sit on the steps and “sing” for each person that came into our home). She also loved to take road trips to our grandmother’s house, turn “gremlin” on my dad when he played just a little too rough and burrow every time she found something to crawl under. Once I headed off to college, I always looked forward to my welcome home song from Millie – I didn’t feel home until I heard it.  

Daisy Mae's first trip to the beach

After nine wonderful years with Millie, she passed away at an early age with pneumonia due to a misdiagnosis from a vet. This time I was an adult, and my poor boyfriend had to sit by my side and watch me cry for hours. My family had it even worse than me. They had to come home to an empty house, and my dad struggled to even walk through the door knowing that Millie wasn’t waiting for him on the other side. We didn’t wait as long this time to start looking for our third family pug. Just about a month after Millie died, my family brought home a little angel from Serenity Haven Kennel, Daisy Mae (the bubbly socialite). Daisy was tougher to raise than the first two; I had the luxury of just visiting her on my trips home from Northern Virginia. My sister was living at home at the time, and had to switch between “Daisy duty” with my parents because Daisy was always getting into something. Every time I called home during that first year, I was interrupted by someone screaming “DAISY NO” on the other line. Daisy has calmed down some since then, but still loves to get out and really enjoys the company of other people and dogs. She made it on the Serenity Haven website with her first fall calendar shot playing in the leaves in our backyard and took her first trip to the beach with us this year in which she loved all the attention she got from the beach bums (they all got out of their chairs to greet her). Now that my sister also has a dog, they have many play dates.

I’m definitely not alone in my love for dogs. There are many other families and pet owners out there that treat their dogs like family. In class, we took a peak at a couple of the social media sites for pet lovers, Dogster and Catster. In Dogster there is even a section dedicated to avid pug lovers like me. I should mention that we also had two cats growing up, one that was born in our closet when I was four and lived to be 20 years old (I’m a cat lover as well and animal lover in general). I usually can’t control my “dog talk” every time I see a cute dog on the street, and I speak to anyone I pass who is walking a pug because I feel an automatic connection. According to many studies, 60% of Americans own pets and those people are more likely to live longer than the other 40%. Why? Pets are good for your heart, motivate you to be more active and get outside, boost your immune system and reduce stress levels, among many other things. The love and laughter they bring into your life is irreplaceable. Unfortunately the apartment I live in now doesn’t allow pets, but I always look forward to my trips home to reunite with Daisy Mae, and I plan to convince my boyfriend that one day we should have a pug family as well :).


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