Marcus (and Stanley!) & Chuck
The Pug Sisters love a Pug Dad, so we were truly delighted to interview Charles W. Newhall III, Pug Father Extraordinaire. Chuck is the author of “The Chronicles of Stanley”, a charming and witty biography of a warrior-turned-philosopher pug who lived to the wise old age of 17 and now rests, like all true heroes, in Elysium. Meet the marvelously quirky Chuck and his current warrior-staying-a-warrior pug, Marcus.
PP: Chuck, we are so excited to meet you and Marcus!
Chuck: Thank you! And his full name is Marcus Aurelius Puggimus Maximus.
PP: The name suits him. He has an emperor vibe.
Chuck: Marcus won’t be able to stay for the full interview because he has a very busy day today. The President has asked him to negotiate with Chinese President Xi about the Taiwan issue. Very important matters of state.
PP: Oh, we were wondering if Marcus would have anything to say about Taiwan, considering his ancestry as a pug.
Chuck: Yes. He’s going to tell Xi, “stay away from Taiwan and you won’t get hurt.”
PP: And pugs don’t make idle threats. Is Marcus related to the late, great Stanley?
Chuck: No, Marcus is from the great Shriver line. Margery Shriver was a famous pug breeder from Maryland who won Westminster many times. Stanley and Marcus are from different lines, but we did first meet Stanley at Margery’s home. He came up and pawed my leg, so I put him in my lap. And he never left it.
PP: Your book is so wonderful, so witty. We particularly loved reading about Stanley’s ‘grave goods.’ (objects buried with the body to smooth the deceased’s journey into the afterlife.)
Chuck: We had this Egyptian cat named Ramses II, a great wise man. He and Stanley would have philosophical discussions and he’s the one who told Stanley about the importance of grave goods.
PP: And we’re pretty pumped about your pug paraphernalia.
Chuck: Ah, yes. The pug shrine.
PP: Can you tell us about all the pieces?
Chuck: Well, that would take about an hour and a half.
Chuck: We have a bronze statue of Bosco, Queen Victoria’s pug. I have a Fabergé pug that sits on a crystal pillow with diamond tassels. We have Connie Payne’s paintings of Stanley. In one, he sits in front of a money tree; a money tree in China is something you need to grow money because pugs are so expensive to maintain.
PP: Preach it, brother.
Chuck: We have some Staffordshire pugs, too. We’ve been trying to find a Roman bust of a pug for Marcus Aurelius here, but so far haven’t been able to locate one. All told, we probably have about fifty pug sculptures.
PP: Okay, let’s go back to the beginning. How did you become a pug person?
Chuck: We went to the home of our friend, Hugh, in Bermuda. The house was called ‘The Jungle’ and it had a massive great hall with a double staircase, and there, sitting on a pillow in the middle of all of this, was a pug named Two. My wife Amy looked at Two and Two looked at her, and from then on, we had to have pugs.
PP: The wife knows best.
Chuck: Always. Michael Bloomberg was also friends with Hugh and best of friends with Two. He would go over to the house and discuss things with Two about how to solve problems in New York City.
PP: Well, we all know pugs are very wise and probably should run the world.
Chuck: I’ve had deep conversations with all of our pugs. Stanley, in particular, I had to pay like a psychiatrist because he would give me counseling sessions. I went through a difficult time in my life where I’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and prostate cancer, plus PTSD from Vietnam. And we also had Gracie the pug at that time and she was blind, deaf, crippled—but she was the most courageous little animal… (chokes up) I’d watch her hop off the bed every day, cheery as can be, and wait for us at the door. Always smiling, never complaining. She told me I didn’t need a cane, I could walk on my own two feet.
PP: They teach us so much.
Chuck: Yes, but you have to be willing to listen and learn.
Chuck: Stanley was a really good judge of character. You could always tell if someone was not a nice person because Stanley would immediately jump off their lap. I was a venture capitalist, I financed entrepreneurs, and the way to tell a good CEO was if Stanley would stay in their lap. He made me a lot of money, that pug.
PP: And probably took most of it, too.
Chuck: Yeah, from buying his grave goods and pug treasures. Stanley lived to 17 years old. We have gardens at our place called Bright Side Gardens, which means ‘look on the bright side’ and one of the gardens is the animal graveyard, Elysium. As you know, Elysium was the place where only the most noble Greek warriors could go. It’s where most of our pugs are and where my ashes are going to go.
PP: That’s definitely where we’d want to be, with our pugs. Chuck, we have one last question for you and this is important: what’s your True Pug Confession?
Chuck: Well, as you may have guessed, I’m a sincerely weird person, and a bald one. And it gets really cold at night, so the main function of my pugs has always been to sleep on my head. I say the Lord’s Prayer every night with a pug on my scalp.