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  • Shari Simpson

Halley & Hugo (and their Person, Isabelle)


The Pug Sisters were already thrilled to be interviewing these two sweet babies and their Person, but when we discovered that Isabelle's related to pug breeding royalty-- well, our pugcitement just went off the charts. Not to mention that Isabelle's True Pug Confession has immediately soared to our Top Ten List, OMP. Enjoy!




PP: Isabelle, we loved the video of Halley with her 9th birthday hat.


Isabelle: Full disclosure, I was being crafty. It was her 6th birthday hat and I just ripped the 6 off and turned it upside down.


PP: We like you already. Can you tell us how you became a Pug Person?


Isabelle: We had terriers for all of my childhood, but I picked pugs pretty early on as my breed. My boyfriend at the time was open to it, but then he disappeared and I got my first pug, Eloise. It was a great swap.


PP: Oh, definitely. All bad boyfriends should be exchanged for pugs.


Isabelle: Yes. And I have to tell you, I think pugs were deeply imbedded in my psyche because my great- great-aunt raised pugs. I remember meeting them once when I was three.


PP: Wow!


Isabelle: Not to be braggy or anything, but she sold some of her pugs to the Windsors.


PP: Please, that’s definitely something to braggy about! What was her name?


Isabelle: Dorothy Wagstaff.


PP: Wait… she had “wag” in her name?!


Isabelle: (laughs) Yes. I guess it was meant to be.

PP: How long after Eloise went to the rainbow bridge did you get Halley?


Isabelle: Three or four days after Eloise died. I was on the train, crying my eyes out, and researching breeders. Four months later to the day, I had Halley. Who is named for Halley’s Comet, by the way.


PP: Love that. And she’s adorable.

Isabelle: Adorable and… a paper eater. Books, magazines, money, toilet paper. Literally homework. There’s a restaurant on the corner and there’s straw wrappers there on the sidewalk all the time. Someone will say “Hey, your pug has something in her mouth”, and I’m like, yeah, straw wrapper, she’s fine.


PP: What made you decide to get Hugo then?


Isabelle: I was absolutely devastated when I lost Eloise. She was my heart dog and I poured every ounce of love into her and coming home to a quiet apartment, no dog tags jangling or snoring noises, was the worst. I knew that I wanted two, honestly, in case something happened to Halley, because I could never go through that again.


PP: Spare pug. Always a good idea.


Isabelle: Yes, and to keep Halley company obviously. You’ve probably heard this expression, pugs are like potato chips, you can’t have just one.


PP: One of our favorites.


Isabelle: The breeder decided to name Hugo’s entire litter after hurricanes. Which was pretty self-fulfilling. He’s a real little shit, even though he’s actually cuddlier than she is.

PP: Do Halley and Hugo get along?


Isabelle: Yes, I think because I let her pick him out. We went to meet the litter and she had a choice between two boys. The other boy she completely blew off. Wouldn’t even acknowledge his presence. With Hugo, she trotted around and played with.


PP: So it’s love!


Isabelle: Well… it was until he got bigger and started shoving her off chairs. I have some great videos of him shoving her off a chair with this facial expression, “I am so pleased with myself for beating up my big sister.” But they still do cuddle with each other and he’s pretty protective of her now. I like to think that’s why he goes after big dogs when we’re walking. But it could just be that he’s a shit, too.


PP: Well, pugs are big dogs in small bodies, after all.


Isabelle: And he’s got a whole naughty boy thing going. Halley’s a mischief-maker, but Hugo’s James Dean.


PP: You got ahead of us. We were going to ask what celebrities they would be.


Isabelle: Definitely James Dean for Hugo and I’d say Sandra Dee for Halley. She’s half prissy, with this little edgy side that’s hiding.

PP: Do they both sleep with you?


Isabelle: Of course. When we first got Hugo, he used to sleep in a crate at the foot of the bed until he was housebroken and he would get so annoyed. That only lasted three weeks, though. They move around a lot during the night and usually Halley ends up with her chin on the pillow next to me. And Hugo’s on my head.


PP: That’s my situation (Shari). I even woke up once with Mila lying across my face.


Isabelle: Yeah, you don’t want that with a boy. Just sayin’.


PP: You make a good point. Isabelle, are you a pug paraphernalia type of person?


Isabelle: I remember having a dinner party one year while my Christmas tree was still up. This was several bottles of wine into the night. And we had a pug guessing contest, how many objects with pugs I had in my apartment.


PP: We’re living in anticipation of this number.


Isabelle: I recall the person who guessed seventy-five won the contest.


PP: Nice.


Isabelle: Yep, the only room that didn’t have pug stuff in it was the bathroom, because they don’t make little bars of pug-shaped soap. But they really should.


PP: New business idea, perhaps.


Isabelle: I’m embracing being the crazy pug lady. But I learned through Instagram that there are actually a lot of us.


PP: Hence our account. Actually, we thought we were crazy until we started doing this project. But after talking to a bunch of pug people this past year, we’re feeling pretty sane.


Isabelle: Sane is good.


PP: So, when did you know you were crossing over from “I like pugs” to “I’m a crazy pug lady”? Do you remember a specific moment?


Isabelle: I think it was around pug item number 15.


PP: We like being able to measure this. Quantifiable insanity. You know what our last question is, Isabelle: do you have a True Pug Confession?


Isabelle: Okay, so… (starts laughing) A guy was spending the night for the first time and we’re getting in bed and I picked Eloise up to put her on the bed. And he said, “No, no. I’m not sleeping with a dog” and I said “Well, I know she’s going to be here for the next ten years, I’m not sure about you.”


PP: OMP. We give you the Pug Sisters’ Stamp of Approval.


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