Maitri Libellule
It's always the innocent looking ones that are the sly ones...

Harvey, 9 years old. Meek, mild, innocent,
timid... and sly!

Everyone knows that I live with a bevy of munchkins. Well, 4 munchkins plus Big Moe. We'll get to Moe shortly. And this, of course, doesn't count the six parrots. As an interfaith minister with an outreach ministry based on loving-kindness and compassion, animal welfare is one of my most important and passionate missions. Hence, I live in a cottage full of little hooligans, and I wouldn't be without one of them.

Harvey was the last of the pugs to come. He came a year ago this month and the other three came the year before in August (Babs, who is now 14, blind and deaf...), September (Sampson, now 10, my velcro pug.) and November (Coco, now 13, and deaf when she wants to be.). Big Moe came from the Humane Society when he was a wee tiny puppy, 15 years ago, and is a Lab/Doby/Perhaps a little bit of Shepherd/And likely a sprinkling of this or that, for good measure sweetheart of a boy. He was always so laid back, submissive, and sweet, a big lump of love, at least he was until the third pug came, and after that he started trying to eat them and I had to go all Dog Whisperer on him. Sigh. Gentle, but to the point. Finally he settled down and stopped trying to eat puglings for snacks, but before he could catch his breath, in came Harvey.

Harvey is so timid, shy, and sweet that I wanted to wring Moe's neck when he attacked him, but I was always there to go into Dog Whisperer mode and stop the fracas. Harvey was never hurt but it scared the poop out of him, almost, and sometimes, ahem, literally. Finally, about 3 months ago Moe gave up. There were pugs everywhere and the best he could hope for was that there would be no more. He can rest easy because this Senior Citizen Home For Puglings is full at the present, and I can't walk into my shoebox sized kitchen without tripping and plunging headlong into the sink and almost out of the little kitchen windows for all the food and water bowls.

So Moe finally calmed down, and Harvey noticed. For awhile he would go upstairs and sleep on a bed I made for him on the little landing because he got tired of almost being eaten alive and was afraid of Moe. After Moe settled down for the most part (Praise the Lord! I thought the day would never come... Phew!) Harvey started getting bolder. He tiptoed down and would sleep almost on the bottom step. For some reason the carpeted stairs are one of Harvey and Coco's favorite places to sleep. They like to watch out the front window at the bottom of the stairs and bark like mad and pretend that they are the size of Great Danes and could take any neighbor or UPS man that came near the door. Of course the fracas of five dogs hurling themselves at the door and barking as loud as they can turns anyone's hair white as they run for their lives. The UPS man practically hurls a package at the front door and sprints back to his truck posthaste.

From the bottom step Harvey moved to the spot in the hall just outside of the kitchen where there are three cushy fluffy beds and he started sleeping in one of them with the girls next to him. Moe sleeps next to me on the floor and Sampson sleeps ON me wherever we are, so Harvey wasn't about to get that close. At least not yet.

Came the day that Harvey moved straight down the hall and lay down on the other side of the chair opposite Moe's side and I got him a bed for that spot (No one, man nor beast, has had as many beds at the same time as Harvey.) and he sleeps there rather smugly. At first Moe would inch around and sleep in front of the ottoman and stare at Harvey and a few times tried to eat him (Man I was getting tired of putting on my Dog Whisperer suit...). Harvey would run off and then Moe would look smug. Then came the day Harvey stayed on his bed on the left side of my chair and kind of stared Moe down. Moe shrugged and gave up the ghost and went back to his bed on the other side. We have had only one or two incidents since when Moe tried to eat all the pugs at once because they came too near him when he was NOT in a good mood. The last time, as I was separating them, I was almost laughing because as Moe tried to eat them, Sampson, Coco and Harvey all went after Moe and ganged up on him. Between my heroic attempts to stop Moe while trying to shove the pugs out of the way, hollering (just a little bit) "You idiots, get off of Moe or take the consequences." They backed off, Moe laid down on his bed in kind of a stupor, and I collapsed in the chair and watched Coco and Harvey retreat and go to their own beds. Sampson, of course, jumped up on me. I am his bed.

Lately -- and I can't help but snicker a little -- Harvey wants to be the first one out the door to potty, and he almost rushes in when Moe goes out and heads straight for Moe's bed so full of attitude it's positively hysterical. And he will keep sitting there -- quite a bold move if you ask me, given that Moe has almost taken parts of his body for souvenirs on a number of occasions -- even as Moe comes in. By now Moe is simply worn out by the whole thing. He sits there looking kind of dumbfounded as this little pug, about the size of Moe's head, sits smack in the middle of his bed and won't move. Moe stares. Harvey stares. Moe gives up and lies down where he is, and when Harvey has made his point, he trundles off, pug-like, to his bed on the other side of the chair. Talk about bold. We've come a long way in a year!

Big Moe who hardly tries to eat a pug
anymore. Hardly...

Coco, who is always half asleep somewhere,
and can't be bothered by everybody else's
shenanigans. She just wants her treats, her
meals on time, and some comfy place to
sleep. Stairs by day, bed by night...

Then there is precious little Babs...

Babs, who is actually wearing that hat,
which I made for a funky little handmade
doll. Babsie is the tiniest pug here, and
is grouchy a lot, and for all that - she is
completely blind and deaf - you could
skip your alarm clock if you have to get
up for work. She awakens us with loud
barking every morning at 6:15 a.m.

Then there is Sam. Sammy. Sam the Man. My velcro pug, my love pug (Note the heart on his forehead...) and who, in this picture, as he often does, sneaks down off the big arm of the chair just where I was sitting, re-arranges the pillows, slobbers on one until he gets comfortable, and then starts to doze off. This is a bit irritating when I have only gotten up for 3 1/2 seconds to get a glass of water. I have to hoist him back up on the big, soft, wide arm of the chair, fix up all the pillows (We are pillow people here.), and settle myself back in, at which point he snuggles over, puts his head and front paws on my shoulder, and goes to sleep. This makes us both feel like everything is in it's place and all is right with the world.

I talked to the dogs one day and told them that some people actually have no dogs. They were shocked. And when I told them that some people actually had cats, they shrieked, all of them, with horror. I said, "Count your blessings, I love cats, I'm just highly allergic to them, or you'd have furballs batting at you and, all superior like, wondering how in the world the household ended up with a bunch of low-life idiotic dogs. They might even smack you around a little and then take your favorite places to sleep." I stopped there because the poor pugs were nearly having strokes or heart attacks, and it's hard enough to give all the old folks their pills and medicines and whatnots without calling Pug-911 and having the little white pug ambulance pull up at the door.

Finally, with Sam snoring so loudly on my shoulder that a friend could barely hear me over the din, above said friend said, "Why do you have all those old dogs. The mess in the house, they snort, snuffle, snore and need all manner of medications, and well, they are just a lot of work. If I had dogs that pooped and peed on my carpet, I'd get rid of them."

(I had to take a deep breath and calm down so that I might be able to be civil as I answered. Even ministers get riled you know.)

Once calm, I said, loudly, over Sam's snoring, "You know, some day you're going to be old, and maybe in a nursing home. You will undoubtedly, and, full of shame, wet your bed or worse. You will hope and pray, at that time, that your caretaker or nurse will be kind and gentle with you, treat you with respect, and love you all the same." My friend did not say another word on the subject and I'm not sure if it's what I said or how I said it, but if you knew me you'd know that I barely ever get angry. And when I do, I speak softly, with a firm tone in my voice. That will surely stop the offender in their tracks far more quickly than if I were shouting, and shocks them to see me in this state.

I will not bear someone harming or being cruel to a child or an animal. It should go without saying that no one should be unkind or abusive to anyone, human or animal, but the little ones, the innocent ones, need protection, and I'm telling you I have no compunctions about stepping in to stop that kind of thing instantly. I might not shout, but I make my point just the same. I won't abide it, and people get that pretty quickly.

It is now after 1 a.m. Everyone, dog and parrot, are asleep. All the pugs are snoring in various different tones and remind me of the frogs or crickets you hear outside at night. Sitting here this late it is comforting and soothing. I love these wee little creatures so much I don't know what I'd do without them. The have given far more to me than I ever could for them. I think dogs are the only unconditional love we will ever know.

Today was pug-squishing day. That's when you grab a whole pug and squeeze them, squishing (ever so gently) their soft wrinkly faces, and kissing the wee little almost-noses all to pieces. When a new pug comes in they have to get used to this right away. At first they are horrified, and then they kind of take it, but with a stiff upper lip and a sigh of relief when it's over, but now they just kind of let themselves be squished and kissed and I think they're grateful that there are so many of them since that shortens the length of their squish time.

Moe is too big for serious squishing, except for his nose. He's the only dog in the house with a real nose. I squish it (very gently) and give him lots of kisses on his face, head and snout, not to mention his little black rubber ball of a nose, and he tries to look dignified, but truth be told, I think he's embarrassed in front of the pugs. We all have our trials, I tell him, but he is not quite convinced. Being the only big dog surrounded by a herd of puggywumpers is no easy task, and aggravating at the very least for a dog who was once an only dog. I see him smiling in his sleep sometimes, and I know what he is dreaming about. He is lost in the past when there were no midgets without noses all over the house. But I think he's gotten used to them, even when Harvey sits smack in the middle of his bed and won't move. I think maybe he even respects Harvey a little bit more, or he's just too tired to care. Me, I'm just glad that they are all here.

People often ask me if I get lonely (meaning my children are all grown and off into their own lives, and I am divorced...) I look and them, look around the room, and kind of shrug and laugh and say, "I might, if I had the time." Lonely, I'm not. Satisfied, happy, fulfilled and well loved, not to mention fortunate, that's how I feel.

Now, it's time for me to nuzzle the muzzle of a snoring pug, cuddle up to him, and go to sleep. I hope you all have a good night's sleep as well, and I hope to heavens you have a warm, furry little someone to cuddle with. You would be so lonely without them.

... with a pug on her person, reaching over to turn out the light...

2 Responses
  1. PinkLady Says:

    Mother Maitri, those pugs are so adorable! Big Moe must really be jealous. Hehehe. They are all so blessed to have found a real home.

    I have a post for Mysterious Mondays (my first actually) at:

    I have long wanted to write about this Mother Maitri. Thank you for giving me the opportunity for this by creating the Mysterious Mondays meme. I posted your button and linked to this blog. =)

    Blessings to you!

  2. Lin Says:

    Animals are the one true joy in this lifetime. I cannot imagine not sharing my home and life with a little fuzzy (or not so fuzzy) friend. My life has been so enhanced by my animals, that I do not understand those who cannot or do not have pets of their own. They don't get it and make silly comments--like your friend who wonders why you have the old dogs. It's her loss--she is missing out on an incredible relationship.

    Sweet post--I enjoyed hearing about your friends!

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