Merkel (and her Person, Rachel)
The Tales of Pug People got to talk to one of our favorite Insta-pugs, the famous ankle-licker, Merkel, and her ankle-lickee Person, Rachel, and it was every bit as moistly delightful as we anticipated. Get to know this profoundly puggy Pug Person and her beautiful senior with the unusual name and ready-for-action tongue.
PP: Rachel, we have to start with the obvious—what’s with the ankle licking?
Rachel: Yeah, I know. And yes, it’s just as weird as it looks. I’ll walk into the room with one sock on and she’ll look at it with an expression of “yep, we all know what’s happening here.”
PP: So, does she get upset if you have both socks on?
Rachel: She gets confused. But the most traumatizing is when I’m wearing tights. She looks just... lost.
PP: How dare you make such a selfish fashion choice?
Rachel: I know. I usually end up apologizing to her.
PP: As you should.
PP: Rachel, give us your Pug Person history.
Rachel: I’d grown up with the family dog, a basset hound named Daisy who was, let’s just say, a big girl. After she passed, my mom said “I want a lap dog now.” But we knew it couldn’t be anything particularly small because my dad’s a professor and we didn’t want a dog that could get squished by a big book falling off a desk.
PP: You went straight to worst case scenario. We respect that.
Rachel: Then I think I googled “affectionate small dogs” or something like that and I can’t remember how it all went down from there but somehow they ended up adopting two pugs, Mamie and Dolly, and we slowly began realizing that pugs aren’t dogs, they’re pugs.
PP: Exactly! UnPug People never get this.
Rachel: We’d never known what made pugs unique until they started living with us and within a short time, we realized we were Pug People. It was a little disturbing, to be honest.
PP: ‘Disturbing’ as in ‘freaking awesome’, right?
Rachel: Yes. It’s like falling in love, one day you wake up and you’re like “Oh! I’m a Pug Person.” And then you enter into these strange and wonderful relationships with other Pug People.
PP: We’ll take that as a compliment. How did Merkel come into your life?
Rachel: Well, I’m not saying I bought a house and took on a huge mortgage in order to have a pug, but I won’t say it wasn’t a large contributing factor, either. I bought my place in January 2020 and by the end of the month, Merkel was a resident.
PP: A pandemic pug!
Rachel: Yeah, I rescued her just before and it was great timing because then I had somebody to hang out with. I always knew I wanted a senior pug and on the rescue website, her best features were listed as “peekaboo tongue” and “velvety ears”. True advertising.
PP: Did she come with the name ‘Merkel’ or did you rename her? And we’re assuming it’s for Angela?
Rachel: ‘Merkel’ is all me. I love Angela Merkel as a woman world leader, she’s an icon. So, I combined my two favorite interests, Angela Merkel and pugs. It’s great for nicknames, too. Merkaderk. Merkel Monkey.
PP: We wonder if ‘Merkel Monkey’ is what Angela’s husband calls her.
PP: Rachel, what’s the strangest piece of Pug Paraphernalia that you own?
Rachel: I’m from Winter Park, Florida, which is the home of this cool paper design company, Rifle Paper Company. They use a lot of pugs in their designs, soooo… I may or may not have ordered personalized Merkel Pug stationery.
PP: Fully expecting Merkel to be our pen pal now. Annnnd, it's time for our favorite question: do you have a True Pug Confession?
Rachel: I stalk pugs in foreign countries. Follow them down the streets. Not like multiple blocks, but you know, one block, to take surreptitious pictures. I’ve stalked Italian pugs, French pugs, British pugs.
PP: Only in foreign countries?
Rachel: Oh no, in America, too. I do that Pug Person thing of seeing a pug and running across the street to meet it. I don’t think I’ve ever pulled over to the side of the road to say hello to a pug, but maybe that’s because I’ve never seen a pug while driving.
PP: So… you probably would pull your car over in the event of a pug-sighting.
Rachel: Yeah, I would. I just haven’t had the opportunity yet.