Hugo (and his Person, Anja)
Pug People, we are beyond delighted to share our Hugo & Anja interview with you, as it’s turned out to be one of our favorites. Hugo, of course, is handsome and perfect and Anja is just a gem, responding to every DM with a giant laughing emoji and answering one sensitive question with “I trust you and I am a funny person, as you know.” Yes, we definitely know, Anja— and we sincerely hope this feature does wonderful you and your sweet baby boy justice!
PP: Anja, we’re so excited to talk to you!
Anja: I’m so excited, too! But I was so nervous.
PP: Well, you don’t have to be nervous with us, we’re weirdos. And thanks for letting us send the questions ahead of time, we know you were worried about your English.
Anja: Yes, I prepared. I’m a teacher, I make my homework.
PP: You know how we always start out; tell us your pug history.
Anja: I had cats for a very long time. Then, when I was married, I thought it would be a good time to have a dog. But my husband is a lover of big dogs and he told me the only small dog breed he likes is pug. And I read about pug and thought, “Oh my God! It would be perfect for me!” because of the character. I read that they accompany you wherever you go and I needed a friend who is always with me.
PP: That’s our ultimate ask, too.
Anja: But then there was the problem that my husband said, “Oh no, not yet. We do it when we retire.” So, I annoyed him for about two years, “can I have a pug, can I have a pug”, and then he made a very long journey and I said to him, “Oh darling, when you return, it would be the perfect time to have the pug.”
PP: Very smart. Did you fall in love with Hugo immediately?
Anja: No. Because I was, um—I don’t know the English word—but when I hear the noises at the breeder I thought “Oh my God, he can’t breathe.” He had three operations, he really had a lot of problems. But, of course, I did fall in love with him. And now he is mama’s baby. Even though he has the steady girlfriend, Hoshi.
PP: And your husband? Does he love him as much as you do?
Anja: Oh, yes. He is even more concerned about Hugo’s health than I am.
PP: Do you ever bring Hugo to school to see the kids?
Anja: He has been, but normally he has what I call his ‘morning family’. It’s a woman who has four pug and a griffon and Hugo stays there.
PP: His morning mom has four pugs?!
Anja: Yes. Yes. Four, yes.
PP: Wowww. To entertain five pugs during an entire school day… We’re swooning. What grade do you teach, Anja?
Anja: The third and fourth grades.
PP: Oh, they must just flip over Hugo.
Anja: Yes, and they love Pahoehoe, too. You know Pahoehoe? (@pahoehoesmiles2)
PP: Yes! We love his smile.
Anja: I have two calendars of him in my schoolroom. Oh, and I dressed up as pug for my students.
PP: Anja, tell us a little bit about Hugo’s personality. Does he have any quirks?
Anja: Unbelievable stubborn. But this is all pugs. At a restaurant, he is scratching my husband’s leg until he give him treats. He doesn’t do it with me, because he knows I don’t give him any. The other thing is, if we are at a park with other dogs and nobody looks at him, he starts crawling across the grass.
PP: On his belly?!
Anja: Yeah, and all the people are laughing, “look what he’s doing!”
PP: So funny! I think we’re definitely going to have to make an Instagram reel of that.
Anja: But the most weird habit—and it’s also my problem-- we have a very strange feeding ritual. First, I put a little bit of food into his mouth. Then I put him in front of the feeder. Then, I fondle him, eh, I touch him, pet him, until he starts to eat.
PP: A pug that has to be coaxed to eat?? We’ve never heard of such a thing.
Anja: Normal pugs eat everything. But I have to push Hugo.
PP: Maybe because he’s an only pug? He has no competition.
Anja: I think so. Because when he is at the home of his best friend, a Jack Russell terrier, he is eating normally.
PP: He must really want the mommy rubdown as well as the food.
Anja: As I said, it is my problem. (laughs)
PP: We get it, Anja, no judgment here.
Anja: This is what I like about Pug People. We understand each other. I can see it in your face as we are talking. We are a bit crazy and that’s what I love.
PP: We’re 100% in for the craziness.
Anja: And because of the health problems with pugs, we help each other. All the Pug People help each other with donations for health issues.
PP: It’s amazing and one of the absolute best things about our People. Anja, you seem like a Person that has pug paraphernalia.
Anja: Everything. Jewelry, pillows, shirts, signs, a clock, a mailbox.
PP: A mailbox?! It’s amazing, every time we talk to a Pug Person, they always have at least one item that we’ve never heard before. Anja, we’re not even going to bother asking you if you have a True Pug Confession because this whole interview has been one, but we will ask one last question: does Hugo sleep with you?
Anja: Of course! Don’t you know that all dog beds and baskets are haunted?
PP: Well, we do now.