Pug Therapy… It’s a Thing!
(Warning: adorably cute pics inside).
I’ve clinically suffered with major depression since I was a preteen and there’s been one constant in my life, pets!
I mostly had dobermans growing up and loved them. They are amazing dogs in that they’re loyal, intelligent and will protect you with their last breath. You’ll never feel safer than with a doberman at your side. I’ve also had a golden Retriever & Irish Setter.
Having never owned a small dog, it wasn’t until I adopted a pug “Sir Puddlesworth” that broke a lot of stereotypes.
Many people believe pugs to be “dumb” dogs, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only did my pugs learn their basic commands: “Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Heel” etc… but many others as well. When I say “Gentle” they don’t gobble food from my hand, but gently stick their tongues out and open their mouths slowly, I never feel a tooth. When I say “Up” they go on their hind legs, if I say “Turn” they spin around on their hind legs. If I ask for a kiss, I get one.
There’s no doubt about it, pugs are smart. It’s just up to the owner to work with them. The best is that they can count to 3. I’ll put a treat down, and say… you can get the treat on 3. I count forward, backwards, skip a number, but only when I say “three” do they go for the treat.
As mentioned, there is a 2nd pug involved; “Inspector Noodles”.
He was adopted as well and although Sir Puddlesworth was jealous of the new pup, it wasn’t long before they were brothers and best friends.
Now, when I had doberman’s, they were the family dog. As a kid I could play with them, but from a therapeutic standpoint; this is where the pug separates themselves.
Pugs are lovers where doberman’s can be loners. A doberman will just go lay down somewhere, a pug will lay down on top of you, next to you, ok, yes… they’re a bit needy.
But unlike in people, that’s not such a negative trait.
How many of you stress, anxiety and depression sufferers out there have been told to use stress balls or the like? Pugs to the rescue! You can pet a golden retriever, a poodle and a cat of course, but a pug with all their extra skin and wrinkles… you can really get in there. I take handfuls of seemingly amorphous fur by the fistful and twist it and run it through my fingers repeatedly. The pugs just lay there and fall asleep because who doesn’t love a good deep tissue massage?
You can’t help but feel better when they look at you with unconditional love and happiness even when it’s not how you were feeling at the time and by george it relaxes the crap out of them…
Additionally, pugs are very common as “Therapy dogs” because they’re such wonderful companions. In fact, I’ve been hospitalized a few times recently and had the option to have a pug come visit me.
They’re the sort of dog that you can dress up and take with you to places because they’re such sociable creatures. My pugs and I have gone to parties, to coffee shops, watch horror movies together and being so photogenic, that in itself is cathartic, not only in the picture taking, but in the forever memories created.
As with all breeds, pugs do have a tendency to get ill. Unfortunately Sir Puddlesworth passed away last year at 13 years old. He actually had a relatively pain free life with no major health issues with the exception of a curved spine that only really affected him in the last year or so of his life in an arthritic sort of way.
Inspector Noodles on the other hand has had a recurring problem with “bladder sand / crystals” in his urine. Like any pet, they’re family and he is a good patient letting the vet do whatever needed to be done without resistance.
I mention this because some pets are a terror at the vet and although I can’t pin this good behavior on an entire breed, my pugs have always been really pleasant when being treated. Thankfully, we have a wonderful homeopathic vet that was able save his life (where previous vets were determined to perform surgery; one of which recommended putting him down several years ago).
One of the lifestyle changes I made was putting Inspector Noodles on a raw food diet (it’s what cats and dogs should be on anyhow). They’ve lived on this planet for many thousand’s of years catching and killing food and they used to live longer lives (until the invention of cat and dog food in the 1950's) which is largely stuffed with fillers and garbage they shouldn’t be putting into their systems.
Raw food has helped put Inspector noodles back on a path to wellness (as well as a few supplements like cranberry relief and saw palmetto).
Another great thing about pugs is that I’ve never had an issue with either of them not getting along with other dogs or animals, they want to be everybody’s best friend, including my sister’s newborn daughter.
Inspector Noodles had never been around an infant before, but took on a Daddy type role immediately.
Currently (a few months later) he’ll let her do whatever she wants to him.
He’s older now and still playful, always waiting and wanting you to get those deep rubs in (and as someone with a bad back, I can certainly appreciate that). Of course it’s not an aggressive rub down, more like going from deep tissue to Swedish massage.
And as I close my little pitch on pug paradise, I’d just like to say that all pets are awesome, they all offer catharsis in a way, but I’ve never felt more love than from my pugs and never felt as emotionally balanced with them in my life.
Lastly, because no pug feature story would be complete without mentioning my pugs big brother, my brother’s pug: “Pugsley”.
(All pics taken by me except those of me).
Look for pug rescues and adoption centers near you because you deserve to be rescued too! :)