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  • Writer's pictureShari Simpson

Frankie (and her Person, Shelia)

Any true Pug Person knows who Miss Frankie is, with her resplendent parade of hair bows that put Jojo Siwa to shame. So we were beyond pugged when Frankie and her Person, Shelia, agreed to sit down with us for an interview and we could ask the questions that ran through our minds every time Frankie appeared in our feed—How do you keep the hair bows on her little round pug head? How do you get her to have such a soulful expression? Does Frankie have her own photo studio with rotating backdrops? And so many more. Join the Tales of Pug People for our exposé on this sweet little gal with the name of a beefy Italian dude.

PP: Shelia, you know we’re obsessed with Frankie and her outfits but before we get to that topic, let’s hear your pug backstory.

Shelia: Well, we used to have big dogs, but then we moved close to a highway. We weren’t sure what kind of dog we wanted to get, but we knew it had to be an indoor dog that I wouldn’t be worried about running into the road, one that would stay really close to me—

PP: We’re hearing a lot of preparatory pre-pug thinking.

Shelia: Yeah, but we didn’t know that at the time. So, one day we went to a local festival and I’m keeping an eye on the kids and my husband, Vince, wandered off. We couldn’t find him, so we just decided to go on the rides and all of a sudden, he appears with something hiding under his t-shirt—

PP: No way. An unplanned pugnancy!

Shelia: Yep, he pulls Frankie out from under his shirt and she was the size of his hand. He had walked past a lady selling a pug puppy. Just one single pug puppy.

PP: OMP. First, don’t we all want a pug puppy to mysteriously pop out of our spouse’s t-shirt, and second, this is a really odd and disturbing occurrence. A woman came to a festival with one pug to sell. Definitely not a pug person.

Shelia: Yeah, obviously she didn’t want her. But we certainly did.

PP: Amen. So how quickly after that did you become a Pug Person?

Shelia: Oh, it was instant, like the minute Vince pulled her out. I’d never even been near a pug before that, but I was just so tickled when I saw her.

PP: Is there any significance to her being named Frankie?

Shelia: My husband wanted to name her Frank because he originally thought she was a boy. I’m like, “Honey, did you look at the undercarriage?” He’s the only male in the house and he thought he was getting a boy dog. Nope, us girls win.

PP: Girl and Pug Power! But he’s just as pug-addicted as you are, right?

Shelia: Oh, my goodness, yes. The whole family. My daughter Trinity comes down fifteen minutes early every day before school just so she can cuddle with Frankie. My daughter Ashley comes home from college and it’s never “Oh, hi, Mom!”, it’s always, “Frankie!”

PP: That seems fair, since we’re assuming Frankie is the one paying for her college education.

Shelia: Actually, my daughters are how I started the Instagram account. They said I would go insane stuck in the house during Covid and I should make an account for Frankie so I could meet other crazy pug people like me.

PP: Aaaand we’re guessing you've met quite a few.

Shelia: Oh, yes. Funny, none in person, but I talk to them on Facetime, I send out Christmas cards and birthday wishes, when other people’s pugs get sick, I cry. It’s like one big happy family. And Pug People are the best, they’re so honest. You meet them and they’re like, “oops, my pug just crapped on the floor”.

PP: It's like you're eavesdropping on us, Shelia. But how did you get Frankie to start posing for all those pictures?

Shelia: The first time I put a bow on her head I almost died it was so cute, but she immediately shook it off. So, we trained her with treats and now she knows if she sits still with the dress and the bow, she gets a green bean.

PP: The pictures are so fancy. Do you have rotating backdrops for her?

Shelia: No, we just put her on the sofa and use fluffy blankets for the background.

PP: Oh, seriously, it looks like a little photo studio. You’re probably building one of those for her now though, right?

Shelia: Um--

PP: And she has quite the wardrobe.

Shelia: She has tons of outfits that she loves, like the little tutus she wears around the house. She has a closet for her clothes and a mini-dresser for her bows and necklaces. And the shoes that she will not wear.

PP: Is having an entire closet for Frankie your True Pug Confession or do you have an even deeper and darker secret?

Shelia: Oh, it's no secret: Frankie and I share a fork. My whole family thinks I’m crazy with this one, they’re like “ew, dog slobber”. Yeah, we have dog slobber and snot all over the place, it’s not gonna hurt me none. Oh, and we share ice cream cones. I have a lick, then she has a lick…

PP: What do you love most about the breed?

Shelia: Their facial expressions. I’m doing something in the house and Frankie just looks at me like “really, Mom?” and I’m like, “Don’t judge me!” And I love the clinginess. Every other dog I’ve ever had wanted to go outside and play, but Frankie is just “Let me get on your pants and spread my pug glitter.”

PP: Shelia, we've loved hearing about your Pug Peoplehood genesis and growth. Tell us, what was the moment when you said 'I’m Pug People for life'?

Shelia: When Frankie chose me. Even though Vince was the one who found her and brought her to us, I’m her person.

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