Cupcake & Otis (and their Person, Eric)
We are so jazzed to share our feature on SpeakPug's Eric and his two BPFs, Cupcake and Otis, because Eric personifies the kindhearted, generous spirit we've found in nearly every Pug Person we've met (not to mention the sense of humor required to truly appreciate the comedians of the dog world). Since we conduct these interviews with numerous pugs in the background, including a four-month old puppy that would like to sabotage every hooman interaction, pardon the many interruptions in flow. :-)
PP: Okay, Eric, we need to know how this all happened. What turned you into the Pug Person Extreme that you are?
Eric: Well, my wife grew up with pugs, so when we decided to get a dog, pugs were it. Louie was my first and he was the pug that got me into pugs. I just fell in love with him, even though he was such a B-hole.
PP: Very generous. We just go right ahead and call our puppy an A-hole.
Eric: A, B, it’s all the same. Louie would do whatever he wanted, like “I gotta pee and I’m gonna go ahead and pee inside, ‘cause I just don’t care. It’s not like you’re gonna do anything about it anyway.”
PP: Sounds like a true pug.
Eric: And then there was Lola, who was a Bug. The Humane Society was having an adoption event and we were just passing by on our way to lunch at a nearby restaurant, we definitely weren’t looking for another dog. But we saw her in the window and we were like “Look at that stripey-looking pug-looking dog!” So we stopped and asked about her and they said, “Oh, there’s three other families who want her”, so we just shrugged and went on our way. But after lunch, we passed by again and she was still there! We went in and they said that all three of the other families had fallen through, so we took her home that day.
PP: It was meant to be!
Eric: She was such a good girl. So mellow.
PP: And now we want to hear about Otis, because we know you got him from The Pug Queen, whom we worship. She doesn’t know it yet, but we’re planning on moving in with her after we retire. Don’t tell her, let it be a surprise.
Eric: Ha, okay. Yeah, Izabella’s fantastic. When we showed up at the Pug Ranch to get Otis, she said, “Now I just have to ask you one more time, you sure you want him? Because he’s a really bad boy.” And she had this gate as high as this chair, like three and half feet high, and he just jumped it; he totally cleared it, like nothing and he’s just a puppy. And we’re like, “Oh, we love bad pugs!” Yeah… he’s pretty bad. But we love him to death.
PP: We love bad pugs too, as evidenced by our “Tiny Terror.” And last, but certainly not least, how did you get Cupcake?
Eric: My daughter wanted a puppy and I wanted another senior dog because I like when they get all old and grouchy and lay around on you. But we got contacted by this woman who’d had a surprise litter and when we saw Cupcake, it was all over.
PP: Yeah, that’s what happened with our A-hole. A woman in our town had an “oops” litter and the last thing I (Shari) wanted was a puppy, but he was completely irresistible. While being a total A-hole, of course.
Eric: They can be impossible, but you have to be really cold-hearted to be like “you’re a bad dog!” It’s more like, “Hey! What are you doing?!” and they’re like, “Sorry!”
PP: Oh, they’re not sorry. They just say it to make you feel better.
Eric: Yeah, I try to play like they’re polite, but we know they’re not.
PP: The most entitled breed on the planet.
Eric: True. Otis and Cupcake live very spoiled-ly with us.
PP: What do you think you love most about pugs, Eric?
Eric: Like I said, you’d have to be a really cold-hearted person to resist their absolute adorable cuteness.
PP: Yes, they have a tendency to crack even the most anti-canine spirit.
Eric: For instance, my dad who is not a dog person, period; Louie managed to get through my dad’s cold, cold heart and win him over. He was a chef and he started making fresh food for him! We’d leave Louie with my parents and when we’d come back, my mom would say, “you might as well come in, your dad’s not done cooking for Louie.” We’d sit around while my dad was deboning chicken.
PP: That is fabulous. And pugs are very appreciative diners, after all.
Eric: True. And they know how to work us to get food. They’re herders; they may not herd cattle, but they know how to herd us to their dish.
PP: Now tell us a little bit about SpeakPug?
Eric: Well, when I started it, there were a lot of pages like mine and a lot of rescues started posting, so I would repost their adoptable dogs and it helped to solidify what I was trying to do. And then I purchased all my own printing equipment to print all my own shirts and stuff and started donating a portion of the sales each month to a different rescue group. I’ve been really grateful for how it’s all gone and it started attracting celebrities and guess what? A lot of heavy metal guys.
PP: Rob Zombie!
Eric: Yep, the heavy metal guys love pugs. It doesn’t really fit their persona, you got these big beefy old guys with their cute little pugs, like Chris Kael from Five Finger Death Punch.
PP: Um, we have not heard of him, but we absolutely love the band name. And fyi, we can hear Otis and Cupcake snoring behind you.
PP: Are they both brindle?
Eric: No, Cupcake’s some kind of swirly merle. If that’s a thing. The bringle and the merle, they’re a little boutique-y.
PP: What’s Cupcake’s full name again?
Eric: Cupcake Princess Sparkles Snowflake Rainbow.
PP: It’s very “My Little Pony”.
Eric: It’s like some kind of ice cream treat you get at Coney Island. My daughter said, “I want to call her Cupcake Princess Sparkles!” And I was like, “well, why stop there? Just keep going with it, add the Snowflake and Rainbow.”
PP: You might need a Unicorn in there somewhere.
Eric: When she sits on my lap, she wraps her arms around me like a Koala bear. So I call her my little Koala pug.
Eric: (responding to a particularly loud snore) I can’t believe Otis is still sleeping, he’s always super active. He loves to play fetch, but his own version.
PP: Oh, we saw that video! It looks like he’s bringing it back to you, but then he veers off in another direction.
Eric: It’s like a Charlie Brown and Lucy thing, you know, always taking the football away when he’s going to kick it.
PP: You said you got Louie in 2005. How long did it take you to become a true and super-official Pug Person?
Eric: It didn’t take long. You know, the pug culture and the pug network, that did a lot. I used to have a customer at a hospital who was so mean, they didn’t like vendors like us, and one day I was in their office and I saw this sign that said “Employee of the Month” and it was a picture of a pug and I said, “whose pug is this?!” And the guy at this office that was the biggest jerk there said, “That’s mine” and I said, “I have a pug, too!” and that was it. We went on to became best friends.
PP: Love it. Pug People are a very persistent subculture.
Eric: Yeah, it’s crazy the people I’ve met because of pugs. Belinda Carlisle and I text all the time, she’s such a wonderful person.
PP: We love her! Can you tell her that? We won’t move in with her because we’ll be living with TPQ, but tell her we love her.
PP: Do Cupcake and Otis sleep with you guys?
Eric: Oh, yeah, every night. And you know you have to sleep in that pattern, one in front of you, one in back, and you’re all curved like a “C” and you can’t move. They pin us to the bed.
PP: Yeah, our little A-hole drapes himself over my face and fully expects me to be able to sleep without oxygen. So, we always ask this and get the most fab responses: If Cupcake and Otis were celebrities, who would they be?
Eric: Cupcake would be The Hulk. She gets into these crazy modes where she just wants to attack and beat up Otis.
PP: So Cupcake isn’t a cupcake. She doesn’t live up to her name.
Eric: No, in fact, that’s probably why she’s so aggressive. We gave her such a foo-foo name, she just has to be as mean as possible.
PP: And what about Otis?
Eric: Oh well, you could pick any handsome celebrity. I'm going with Ryan Gosling.
PP: Eric, we've thoroughly enjoyed our time with you and Otis and Cupcake Princess Sparkles Snowflake Rainbow (it takes a lot to get through that name on one breath.) Our final question: do you have a True Pug Confession?
Eric: Please. My whole life is one big True Pug Confession.