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  • Shari Simpson

Cleo (and her Person, Mary)


The Tales of Pug People got to interview royalty this week: Cleopatra the Pug and her Person/Lowly-Attendant-by-choice, Mary. Known for her fabulous outfits, Cleo is one of the CEOs of “Pug Fashionistas” @pugfashionistasofig along with the equally stunning Rosie @ourpugrosie and Lucy Liu @lucyliupug and OMP, do these ladies put on a show. Sadly, you will not be able to hear the sound of Cleo’s quintessential snort in this interview, but try to imagine it as background music. Enjoy!


PP: Mary and Cleo, we are so excited to meet you! Cleo’s looking beautiful, as usual.


Mary: I took her for a spa day so she would be gorgeous for her interview.


PP: Now that’s some next-level pug parenting. Is Cleo your first pug or did you have pugs all your life?


Mary: I had pugs all my life—in my dreams. I’ve always wanted one, but we waited until my husband retired because we wanted to make sure someone was at home with her.


PP: Was she everything you had dreamed of or was there an adjustment period?


Mary: To be honest, I was not prepared for a puppy, this was literally my first dog ever. The first two years when they’re maniacs… I was expecting a little lap dog. Do you know that meme, ‘how I thought it would be and how it really is’? That was my experience.


PP: We get it. Good choice on the first dog being a pug, though. You went straight for the best. What attracted you to the breed?


Mary: I just loved their bossy personalities.

PP: Was there a moment when you officially became a Pug Person or was it gradual?


Mary: Despite the puppy craziness, as soon as I got her I went full-on pug.


PP: Nice. For some people it takes a bit of time, others jump in with both feet.


Mary: I went to a pug meet-up and the person who was running it, she had a lot on her plate, so I offered to help her run it. I think that’s when I really went overboard. I always wear pug shirts and pug jewelry—I have earrings, necklaces, bracelets. I’m sure they all think I’m the crazy Pug Lady. Well, no, they all have pugs, so they get it.


PP: We’re all crazy, Mary. Once you get a pug, you’ve officially checked yourself in.


Mary: We have about 35 pugs and we have the meet-ups at a beer garden with a fenced in yard. So, there’s food, beverages, and unleashed pugs. Total madness.


PP: Pugdemonium!


Mary: We’re about to do Pug Yoga. It’s a regular yoga class, except with pugs running all over you.


PP: OMP, seriously?!


Mary: Yes, we did it once before at a pet store, but the space was small and we were at capacity. Now we’re going to do it at another brewery where they did Frenchie Yoga and it was a big hit.


PP: Pugs, yoga, and alcohol. Sheer heaven.


Mary: Have you heard of the Lucky Dog Bark’n’Brew? It’s half bar and half doggie daycare. You can drop your dog off there in the morning and have a beer before you start your day.


PP: Stop. STOP. Okay, don’t stop. Mary, we have to ask, does your husband tolerate your Pug Peopleness or does he love pugs, too?


Mary: Mike loves pugs… but not quite like me. Let’s just call him an active participant.


PP: He’s a good man, that Mike.


Mary: (calling off to her hubby) They said you’re a good man!


Mike: (off-stage) I am!


PP: A good man, a patient man, a pug man. We know you have a mini-studio for taking Cleo’s pictures, did you kick Mike out of his den to create it?


Mary: (laughs) No!


*Note: The interviewers are not sure they’re buying Mary’s story but they're letting it go for the sake of her active participant's mental health.


PP: So, how did you get started with the fabulousness of Cleo’s outfits and the photography?


Mary: I started with her first Halloween costume. She was the Pope.

PP: Is she compliant when you put these elaborate outfits on her or is she annoyed?


Mary: Amazingly compliant. She puts the crown on her head, the dresses, the hats. Did you see her "Bridgerton" outfit?


PP: We flipped over the "Bridgerton" outfit. And she looked so awesome with her boyfriend.

PP: How did you come up with the Pug Fashionistas idea?


Mary: Actually, it was Lucy Liu and Rosie’s idea and they asked me to join. Well, their People did, I mean.


PP: And you’ve never met these People in real life, right?


Mary: No. Of course not.


*Interview interrupted by laughter of all, including the active participant. This is life as an Insta-Pug Person.


Mary: We did get to meet Truman Pug, though! (@trumanpug) We mentioned that we were going to be in the Maryland area and they had us over to their house.


PP: Ooh, real life crossover! What do you like about Pug People?


Mary: Oh, they’re fun. If you’re the type that wants an athletic dog or an active dog, fine, but if you want the little clown? They’re my kind of people.


PP: You have to want to do yoga in a bar with pugs.


Mary: Exactly. And you have to be okay with pugs’ quirky personalities. Like most pugs, Cleo barks at every dog and horse on the TV, but her biggest pet peeve is the Jeopardy Daily Double sound. It makes her crazy.


PP: Hilarious! We’ve never heard that one before. Okay, Mary, hidden secrets time. Do you have a True Pug Confession?


Mary: I’ve bought baby food for Cleo. I was up and down the aisles in the grocery store and I never had to buy baby food because I never had babies, and it’s so cute the way it’s marketed and I thought ‘maybe Cleo would like this.”


PP: Did she like it?


Mary: Of course. It’s food and she’s a pug.

Mary: Actually, the only thing Cleo will not eat are Milk-Bone biscuits. We’ll go to a coffee shop and they’ll want to give her a treat and she just turns up her nose.


PP: They’re too common for Cleopatra. She is an Egyptian Queen, after all.


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