Tales of Pug People had been semi-stalking Hope the White Pug for a while, so we’re thrilled that we finally got a chance to meet this sweet 'n' fluffy vanilla girl and her lovely Person, Deborah. Hope is our first white pug and our first therapy pug interview, so we were fascinated to hear about how she became a certified Go Team Therapy Dog and how Deborah manages Hope’s helping schedule.
PP: Deborah, fill us in on the genesis of your Pug Peopleness. Did you have pugs growing up?
Deborah: I didn’t and I don’t know what possessed me, but I started going on all these pug sites and the people were just crazy—
PP: Hey, we represent that remark--
Deborah: --And I wanted a dog because I was going through a really tough time. That’s why I named her Hope.
Deborah: Of course, pretty much as soon I got her, I officially became one of the crazy pug people I’d been seeing.
PP: It happens quickly, Deb. One day you’re a sane and functioning member of society, the next day you’re a Pug Person.
Deborah: I’m so sucked in. I’ll be on the phone with someone and they can hear her snoring and they’re like, “Oh my God, how can you sleep with that?” And I find it so relaxing. Soothing. All her little quirks, the following me into the bathroom, the way she turns her butt toward me in the bed instead of her face. All these things that I post about and other pug people say, “Oh, yeah, totally, us too.”
PP: It’s like all the pugs in the world go to a secret meeting and vote on what the whole breed is going to do.
Deborah: You must come across all kinds of crazy stuff doing these interviews.
PP: You have no idea. Have you met other Pug People in person?
Deborah: Yes, we go to a pug meetup and she just got a picture taken with three other white pugs who are her cousins. My brother’s business partner went out and got one of her cousins after they met Hope. His name is Oski.
PP: Look what you did! You’re a pug pusher!
Deborah: Ha, yes! And he does that Fluent Pet thing, have you heard about this? They train them to push buttons for what they want. So cute, Oski will push “Park” or “I love you” or “Hungry”—
PP: We kinda feel like that would be the only button a pug would push.
Deborah: The food obsession really is something. They’re like little vacuums. Hope is on this all-raw diet now and her fur was always incredibly soft, but now she feels like a bunny rabbit.
PP: Deborah, tell us about Hope’s special job.
Deborah: Hope’s personality is so loving plus she always wants pets and attention, so we figured these were the perfect qualities for a therapy dog. I decided to get her certified with Go Team Therapy Dogs and it just has been so rewarding for everyone, the people we visit and both of us.
PP: We love this so so much. We know you’ve had some health challenges, Deborah, and that you’ve turned this around to help others is so amazing. Where do Hope and the rest of the amazing Go Team Therapy dogs volunteer?
Deborah: We go to hospitals, we go to high schools during finals week because it helps kids with stress. We go to fire stations, nursing homes, libraries, airports. I take Hope every Friday to Vocational Visions, a skills center for adults with Down Syndrome, and they just love her.
Deborah: The thing about being a therapy dog is they have to be able to sit there for two hours on their little blanket with random people just coming up and petting them.
PP: Sounds like a perfect job for a pug. They were bred to be companions, so they basically have no other purpose than to be cuddled.
PP: We love that the therapy dogs go to schools for finals week!
Deborah: The kids relax immediately when they pet her. They say, “This is helping me so much” and “Can I have her card so I can see her face before I take my test?” Hope has a little trading card with all her Go Team Therapy information. One of the kids from my neighborhood sleeps with Hope’s trading card and his dad stayed with him one night and said he woke up with Hope’s card stuck to his arm.
PP: OMP, that is awesome.
PP: So, Deborah, you mentioned quirks before, so tell us about that. What are her Hope quirks or just basic pug quirks?
Deborah: Well, this isn’t a quirk, but she doesn’t have a cinnamon roll tail like other pugs. Her mom bit her tail when she was a puppy, so all she has is an adorable little stub. As far as personality quirks, she’s a notorious seat stealer. The minute I get up from a chair or from bed, my place is immediately pug-occupied. And I don’t know if this is a pug thing or a Hope thing, but she follows me into the bathroom every single time I go.
PP: Mmm, pug thing. Bathroom stalker.
Deborah: I’m like “Seriously? Mommy’s just going potty, honey.” But if I don’t let her in, she’ll scratch at the door until I have to get up off the toilet to get her. And then she’ll just sit there and stare at me while I do my business.
PP: The eyes of love. Even on the toilet.
Deborah: But you just give in because, you know, they tilt the head and give you the eyes… oh, it’s just too much.
PP: It’s what we adore most about pugs.
Deborah: Yes, the unconditional love. Hope’s helped me through the hardest times, she’s always there for me no matter what. She doesn’t care if I’ve had a bad day, she doesn’t care if I’m sick. She’s just… a part of me.
The Tales of Pug People are in awe of what organizations like Go Team Therapy Dogs do, so we’ve made a contribution in honor of Hope and the wonderful animals like her. To donate to this incredible organization, go here.