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  • Writer's pictureShari Simpson

Suji (and her People, Joe & Akemi)

You know her, you like her, you love her-- it's Suji! This 18-year old pug has devoted followers and adoring pawrents who cater to her ever whim; sure, because she's differently-abled, but truth is, she's always been a bit of (darling) diva. Read on to meet Joe and Akemi and find out about daily life with this beautiful girl!

PP: Okay, guys, what are the origins of your Pug Personhood?

Joe: I didn’t really plan on getting a dog, but then I got my first pug, Jelly, and then Jelly needed a friend, so I got Maximus. And then my ex got a pug for her brother for his birthday, but he lived three hours away and we weren’t going to see him for a while, so we kept the pug for two weeks and I got attached. So, we kept Bubba and gave her brother a toaster oven instead.

PP: This is what is known as wise gift-giving.

Joe: I also had a French bulldog named Lulu, so three pugs and a Frenchie. And then I met Akemi, who had never had a dog—

Akemi: But then I met Bubba—

Joe: And she fell in love with Bubba and they were inseparable.

PP: And she liked you okay, too, Joe. We presume.

Joe: Hopefully. And Akemi found a pug at Pacific Pug Rescue, whose name was Susie, and Akemi said we should change her name because it was the start of her new life, but I said you can’t really change a dog’s name. So we compromised and named her Suji, which is short for Sujiko.

Akemi: Which is “salmon roe”.

PP: How old was she when you rescued her?

Akemi: Twelve.

PP: Oh, so you’ve had her for six years already!

Joe: And when we got her, she couldn’t walk. She came with a wheelchair. But we brought her to therapy and got her walking, we’d put a towel under her back legs and pretty soon she could walk a half a block, then a full block, without support.

PP: Wow, that’s pretty amazing. Great Pug Parents.

Joe: Yes, it’s only been about the last year and a half that she’s been immobile.

PP: Did you ever expect her to be with you until she was eighteen?

Joe: Uh, no, but we were hopeful. Jelly lived until she was sixteen and four months. I like to say she was my longest relationship.

PP: We're going with that.

Joe: Of course, Suji is pretty high maintenance because of all her issues. But then, she always was. Always had a bit of an attitude. Does not play well with others.

PP: She definitely looks like she’s the queen of the castle. Joe, you said you weren’t originally keen on the idea of getting a dog—

Joe: Just because of the responsibility. I didn’t want to start because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop. It’s like snacking on a chip, you start on one, and… that’s how you end up with three pugs.

PP: Oh, yes, we get that. What was it about pugs that won you over?

Joe: They’re very affectionate. And kinda lazy, which I like.

Joe: And--dare I say it?-- kinda dumb, too.

PP: Surely not!

Joe: Not really, you know, but at least compared to our French bulldog, Lulu. We would do the blanket test, you know, where you throw the blanket over your dog and see how long it takes for them to disentangle themselves. We’d throw it over our black pug Maximus and you could leave for an hour and when you came back, he’d still be under the blanket. I kinda like that. Adorably dumb.

PP: Yeah, we have to agree with that.

Akemi: We like that you leave the room and when you come back, they are so excited to see you. Like you were gone for a week.

PP: One of our favorite characteristics. Does Suji sleep with you guys?

Joe: She sleeps on her bed in between us on our bed. And poor baby can’t really move around, so she usually wakes up around 3am because she’s tired of sleeping in one position. So, I’ll wake up and kinda flip her like a pancake.

PP: Aw, what a dad! Tell us a little bit more about her personality.

Akemi: In the rescue website, they said she was “saucy and spunky”. I didn’t know what “spunky” meant.

Joe: And she’s a little more than spunky. She doesn’t really like other dogs in her space. The first time we went to a meetup, a dog accidentally knocked her over. When we righted her wheelchair, she took off, running around trying to find that dog. She’s kind of like Mel Gibson in “Payback”.

Joe: And like all celebrities, there’s a kind of disconnect— Okay, we were walking by a Lululemon and one of the workers came running out, “Is that Suji?!” And she took a picture and it was okay, but It’s like when you see celebrities onscreen and they seem so warm and friendly and when you meet them in person… not so much.

PP: Suji was not the warm and friendly celebrity.

Joe: Little bit of attitude.

PP: She completely rejects the paparazzi.

Joe: Exactly.

PP: Do you have a favorite story or memory of Suji?

Joe: A few years ago, we had to travel so Suji and our Frenchie, Lulu, went to stay with a friend. We were gone for a few weeks and when we went to pick them, Lulu was like “Oh, right, you two again” or whatever, but Suji… the whole way home in the car, I’ve never heard her so vocal. She basically chewed us out for the entire ride.

PP: She just sassed you mercilessly. Are you people that have pug paraphernalia?

Joe: Oh, sure. And we have some art, some Suji art. Akemi put sponges on her booties and let her do her thing.

PP: Oh, that’s actually really nice! It looks intentional.

Joe: We think so.

PP: If Suji was a celebrity, who would she be? We’re thinking Angela Lansbury.

Joe: Angela Lansbury, maybe, but with a lot more edge. Maybe Bea Arthur?

PP: We can totally see Suji on "Golden Girls". Last question and I think we know the answer: does Suji have a "voice"?

Joe: (high-pitched, high-falutin' voice) “Am I getting my own show? It’s about time!”

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