There’s nothing the Pug Sisters love more than talking to non-American Pug People because we love hearing all the beautiful accents flavoring the answers to our ridiculous questions. Therefore, imagine the following scene with the excitement of pugs Izzy and Saskia and the melodic British accent of their Person Debbie (who bravely used Zoom for the very first time for this interview). Brilliant.
*We begin with barking. Much barking. And bouncing.
PP: Izzy, you are a nutball! Hello, Jumpy!
Debbie: She’s thinking there’s someone at the door.
PP: She's not used to Zoom.
Debbie: Ah, true.
PP: So, tell us your pug history, Debbie. Have you always been a Pug Person?
Debbie: No, my husband and I have been married 35 years and we’ve had five dogs, all different breeds. Each time we lost a dog, we couldn’t bring ourselves to get the same breed, too much of a reminder. Of course, now that we have pugs, I think we’ll always have pugs.
PP: That’s what pugs will do to a Person.
Debbie: And probably always rescue pugs.
PP: Lovely! Did you have a moment when you crossed over into Pug Personhood or was it a gradual thing?
Debbie: I think as soon as we had pugs, we knew we’d never have another breed. Pugs are just unlike any others; they’re so full of themselves, feisty, and make us laugh. Every day. They don’t understand their size at all, because their personalities are huge.
PP: We know that we all have Instagram Pug People friends, but do you have PPFs in real life?
Debbie: We’re so lucky. We have a circle of friends that come here a lot because our pugs get on and we go on holiday together. We just went away with Elsa the Puggo recently, and the rest of us, we have eight pugs total, we’re going away in December. We did it last year and the hotel loves it when we all turn up together.
PP: We find Pug People to be a distinct bunch, what do you like about them?
Debbie: Mmmm, obsessed. All we talk about is our pugs. We compare illnesses, how much eye snot they produce, forever analyzing their poop. When we get back from holiday and look at our phones, all the photos are of the pugs. We have none together as people. No nice views. Nothing. Just pugs.
PP: Are you a pug paraphernalia person, Debbie?
Debbie: Well, not exactly. I do buy a lot of harnesses and clothes. Oh... and then there’s the giant pug.
PP: Okay, this is the thing some Pug People have trouble admitting to: do Izzy and Saskia sleep with you guys?
Debbie: Yes. Absolutely. Always.
PP: Apparently, you have no problem admitting to it.
Debbie: No. And my big thing is, I love white bedding. I just have this thing about crisp white cotton and it’s like that when I wash and make the bed. Then the rest of the time it’s covered in hair and pug snot and sometimes… even anal gland juice.
Debbie: If friends are coming round, I just put a throw over it. Unless it’s the pug friends and then I don’t bother, because their beds are the same.
PP: We assume they snore.
Debbie: I find it quite soothing. I like the sound because it means they’re resting and happy.
PP: Did you have to persuade your husband for that or was he on board (on bed?) from the beginning?
Debbie: Oh no, Steve was always a massive dog person. Our first dog was a huge German shepherd and then we added two Yorkshire terriers, so it was always a race to get to the bed, because whoever was the last to get there wasn’t going to get anything. The German Shepherd got half the bed immediately.
*We are interrupted by the appearance of Saskia, whom we officially renamed Sass-kia. She was striking poses and working the runway.
PP: Wow, she is something.
Debbie: I really think black pugs are crazier than fawn pugs. Saskia is like a mountain goat, leaping from chair to chair and onto the table if possible. Anyone who eats at our house knows they have to take their chair when they leave, otherwise she’s up there.
PP: How else is her personality different than Izzy’s?
Debbie: She’s fearless. Because we adopted her we didn’t know much about her background. When we’d had her about a week, we took her to the beach in December, so it was very quiet. I’ll never forget it, the first time she saw the sea, she dragged Steve right into it. We had rough weather that season but she wanted to be in the water, so I had to buy her a life jacket because I was so scared she was going to get washed away. Izzy? Not so keen on the sea.
PP: We love Saskia's face. She looks like she’s always up for a fight.
Debbie: She’s definitely top dog. She’ll drink right out of your cup. Everyone who visits knows not to put their cup down, she’ll have her face in it. She’ll drink anything.
PP: Wine and beer?
Debbie: Anything. We haven’t found one thing that she won’t eat or drink.
PP: Debbie, we always ask this question and get various responses; do you do ‘voices’ for the pugs?
Debbie: I don’t. I hadn’t even thought of that. Hmmm.
PP: That’s what we’re here for, to put even crazier ideas into the heads of already crazy people.
Debbie: I suppose I do that silly pug mum voice myself when I talk to them, you know, (babyish voice) “Are you hungry then?” Stupidest question ever. “Want your dinner?”
PP: That would be a hard ‘yes’. Okay, the next two questions may require a bit of thought. Number one, if your pugs were celebrities, what celebrities would they be?
Debbie: Ohhh, good one. I think Saskia would be Bette Midler. You know, loud and funny and brash. And Izzy would be Goldie Hawn, subtler.
PP: Do you have a favorite memory or story?
Debbie: We’d had Saskia for about ten days and she was so anxious; she’d been at two homes before ours and they couldn’t handle her anxiety. So, it was December 23rd and Steve had gone to bed. I put on the radio and poured myself a glass of Bailey’s and Izzy and Saskia came and sat next to me, Saskia because she wanted the Bailey’s, of course. But then they just curled up together and went to sleep—(gets choked up)—sorry!
PP: We totally get it! They’re like our children, right?
Debbie: This is why I can’t watch any films with dogs in them. We bought tickets for Will Smith in “I Am Legend”, but when we found out the dog died in it, we didn’t go.
PP: Yes, we can watch people suffer and blow up in movies, but if any animal is in the least bit of peril, we completely lose it.
Debbie: Oh, when I see rescue animals on Instagram, I go to bed sobbing.
PP: Every time we see The Pug Queen’s stuff, we have to take a breath before we read it. Of course, we’ve already decided that when we’re retired, we’re going to move to California and live with The Pug Queen. She doesn’t know it yet, but we’re moving in.
Debbie: Yes, when we have our whole pug group here, it’s heaven. They laugh at me because I forget to feed my guests, but I’m in the middle of the grumble handing out treats.
PP: Debbie, last question: do you have a True Pug Confession?
Debbie: Well, my husband knows if there was a fire or flood or any danger, I’d save the pugs and he would have to fend for himself.
PP: Oh, absolutely. That goes without saying.
Debbie: Oh, and I’m going to text you something so Steve doesn’t hear.
PP: Something worse than leaving him to perish in an inferno?
*Debbie texted us later that at one point she had purchased so many harnesses, she used her neighbor’s address for delivery so Steve wouldn’t notice and went to get them when he was visiting his mother. Don’t you just love Pug People?