Elliot & Toothless (and their Person, Cleo)
The Pug Sisters adore all pugs, obviously, but we do have a special place in our hearts for pug duos, not gonna lie; we believe in the old adage, “Pugs are like potato chips, you can’t have just one.” Enter Elliot and Toothless, a white/fawn pug combo, and their Person, Cleo (who is Filipina, so we had a nice long convo about Filipino spaghetti before we moved on to pugs). E & T, as we like to call them, are painfully adorable, meaning you want to reach through the ‘Gram to squeeze them, and Cleo’s pretty darn cute herself. Enjoy!
PP: Now that we’ve discussed all the merits of Filipino spaghetti as compared to Italian, tell us your pug history, Cleo.
Cleo: I worked with a lady who brought in her pug puppy one day and let me hold her. I just fell in love and knew I had to have one. I did my research—
PP: Smart! We’ve talked to a number of Pug People who didn’t know about the shedding, snoring, snorting, etc., ahead of time. Of course, they’re still Pug People, duh, but it helps to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Cleo: Oh, definitely. I got my first pug in 2004, Buttercup, and had her for twelve and a half years. When we had to put her to sleep, it took a while for me to recover.
PP: So hard. We just had Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day and we shed some tears.
Cleo: And when I was ready again, I did briefly consider a French bulldog. I obviously love squishy faces. But then… I saw a white pug. And I had to have a white pug.
PP: Did you get Elliot as a puppy?
Cleo: Originally I was looking for a rescue, but my son had never had a puppy and we wanted to do the whole puppy thing with him. We found a reputable breeder—I don’t know how you feel about that—
PP: It’s okay, we’ve had rescues and puppies. You’re not going to lose your Pug People membership.
Cleo: Good. Anyway, we got there and saw Elliot. And then… we saw Toothless.
PP: Wait. You got them both at the same time?!
Cleo: Yes. Same dad, different mom. My husband was like, “Oh… okay. Fine.”
PP: So you went for one puppy and came home with two?
Cleo: Two puppies. And we already had a black lab. Have to say, it makes it harder to train them when one of the pugs is so good—Elliot—and the other is so stubborn.
PP: Ah, Toothless. Those lady pugs can be tough.
Cleo: I love them both so much, but I also thought, we’re nuts. We’re crazy for taking this on.
PP: What was the toughest thing about the puppy duo?
Cleo: One was potty training well, the other one wasn’t. So in the middle of the night, you have to go clean the crate and you wake up the other one.
PP: Toothless is named for “How to Train Your Dragon”, right?
Cleo: Yes, because she’s my son’s pug. We think it’s an appropriate name because she takes forever to eat. She has this whole process, she has to sniff the food, then lick it. Then sniff it some more, lick it again, and finally starts to eat. Slowly.
PP: That’s pretty unusual for a pug.
Cleo: Yeah, and I noticed with Toothless, when she gets a treat, she holds onto it. Then the other dogs want it and she’ll flaunt it. She walks around like “I still have mine, ha ha”.
PP: What’s one of your favorite memories?
Cleo: When Toothless was a puppy, my son was eating his dinner on the coffee table and she jumped up and perched on him like a bird. Literally, hovering over his food while balanced on his shoulders.
PP: Did she make the vulture plunge or did you grab her in time?
Cleo: We got her in time. It was funny because she’s not like a huge eater—
PP: But she wanted to lick that salad.
Cleo: Sniff and lick it.
PP: And lick it again. Cleo, do you do a ‘voice’ for the pugs?
Cleo: I only have a voice for Elliot, not Toothless. He always says stuff like (deep, ‘dumb guy’ voice) “Hey Ma, ya wanna give me some of that chicken?”
PP: So, he’s basically Stallone.
Cleo: Yeah. Or maybe that buzzard in the old cartoons, (sings) “My mama done tole me…”
PP: That’s it! And you know what our last question is: do you have a True Pug Confession?
Cleo: (looks around, then in a low voice) My husband doesn’t know this. Whenever I go through the drive-through I get the pugs something. Chicken nuggets, usually.