After winning three bags of Sherman’s Barkery cookies in a raffle, we (the "royal" we, which means our pugs too, of course) became obsessed with this delightful little business, just as it was rebranding itself as “Pug and Poppy Studio” www.pugandpoppystudio.com and adding gifts, artwork, and candles. It was a delight to chat with Susan, the hooman behind the pugs, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we did (and enter our Giveaway)!
PP: Okay, Susan, introduce us to the gang.
Susan: This is Isabel or Izzy, Darryl, Ebby, who’s actually a Bugg, and Katie. I have four right now, but I’ve had as many as seven at one time. Over the last twenty years, I’ve had… I think, twelve pugs total?
PP: Mad respect, Susan. How did your Pug Personhood begin?
Susan: In 2002 my kids were very young and we had a Maltese but we wanted another dog. We tried greyhounds first and it was a disaster, so we decided to go back to small dogs.
PP: Were the greyhounds a disaster because they tried to race your toddlers? Actually, never mind, we don’t want to know.
Susan: Good choice. My daughter had a stuffed pug on wheels that she used to drag around on a little leash and that’s what inspired us to start looking at pugs. So, yeah, I’ve been doing nothing but pugs since 2002.
PP: Well done! That’s the year I (Shari) got my first pug also. And I never went back.
Susan: Once you have pugs, it’s hard to consider anything else.
PP: You’re the real deal. And congratulations on the new shop!
Susan: Thanks! We were on Etsy for eight years, so the change to my own platform was a little nerve-racking. I originally opened the shop right after my pug Sherman died; it was named for him. Poor guy had all kinds of allergies, so I would make him wheat-free cookies. After he passed, one of my friends said I should open a cookie shop in honor of him and that’s how the whole thing was born.
PP: So sweet! My pugs adore the cookies. We started giving them one after a meal, so they started blazing through their dinners and then run over to the spot where they’d get the cookie. And their eyes just bug out.
Susan: We love hearing that.
PP: Tell us about the differences in your babies’ personalities.
Susan: Well, Isabel is a crackhead. I mean, there’s no other way to describe her.
Susan: I got her when she was 14 months old and I was already her third person. I have a feeling her first owner crated her and didn’t feed her enough because I’ve never had a dog that was more food obsessed. And a perpetual puppy; either going a hundred miles an hour or dead asleep.
PP: That definitely sounds like puppyhood, which we’re in the middle of ourselves. Marcin is nine months old and he has those exact same levels. It's exhausting.
Susan: Darryl’s a few levels lower than her on the crackhead scale. I guess we shouldn’t laugh about this, but I truly believe he’s on the spectrum. Some people believe there’s autism in dogs and some don’t, but Darryl definitely has sensory issues. I love him so much, but he’s a little… well… off.
PP: He’s our first chocolate pug. Ever.
Susan: The only one I’ve ever met! And then there’s Katie. I’ve never had a sweeter pug. Poor baby was picked up off the street in hundred-degree weather and had every disease in the book. And when we did X-rays, we found out that she has two bullets in her head.
PP: Oh no!
Susan: We think someone was trying to put her down and missed, and she ran off.
PP: The poor sweetheart. It just breaks our hearts that someone could do that.
Susan: When I got her, the vet said she probably had a six-month lifespan left. But that was three and half years ago.
PP: It’s amazing what love will do. And a good vet.
Susan: And Ebby is also very sweet. And very food preoccupied.
PP: We love those perky Bugg ears.
PP: Susan, what do you love most about pugs?
Susan: Oh, gosh. I would never have another breed. We used to have all fawns and people would ask “How can you tell them apart?” and I’d say, “How can you not?” They all have different personalities and I love all of them. They’re like little people.
PP: Besides your own stuff in the shop, are you a pug paraphernalia person?
Susan: I’ve got pugs on every wall. They’re everywhere. Oh, I also have some skeletons because I’m weird, just ignore that, ha ha.
PP: We’re all about the weird. Who is that with the gorgeous protuberance?
Susan: That’s Phillip. I always said when he was up in Heaven being put together, he accidentally got in the line where they were giving out Great Dane tongues.
PP: Susan, do you have a favorite memory about one of your babies?
Susan: Lillian was my only female back when I had all boy pugs and she used to love lying on her back and letting my daughter paint her nails.
PP: That’s aggressively girly. It's like 'screw you, boys, gettin' my nails did".
Susan: I know!
PP: We know you have a lot of pugs to think about, but if any of them were celebrities, who would they be?
Susan: Hmm. Well, I don’t know about the rest of them, but Darryl would be Pete Davidson.