The Desperate Housepugs of Atlanta (and their People, Jen & Scotty)
The Tales of Pug People definitely hit the puggerlode today: The Desperate Housepugs of Atlanta are our guests! And trust us, the Housewives of any city got nothin’ on this family/grumble: four pugs, two People, 5,692 toys, a huge puggy newsflash, and a statue of a pissing pug on the kitchen counter add up to just the kind of mayhem any true Pug Person would crave. Enjoy!
PP: Jen and Scotty, we are dying to hear your Pug People history.
Jen: Oh, there’s so much. I was in school starting a PhD program and my blood pressure was so high, I was trying to find some ways to destress and I’d heard that animals helped with that. Scott’s aunt and uncle had a pug and before that, I’d never seen a pug before and this pug was so sweet and just wanted me to pet her—
Scotty: Actually, this story goes back even further. The reason this aunt and uncle had a pug was because they were inspired by another aunt and uncle that had had pugs for twenty years. I was living with them for a while and fell in love with their pugs and I’ve loved pugs ever since.
PP: You weren’t kidding, this pug backstory goes waaayyy back.
Jen: So, we decided to get our own pug, Gunderson. A year later, we got Serna so Gunderson could have a companion. Then, Ellie. Thennnn, I wanted this other pug, but the rescue chose someone else to adopt the pug and I was crushed, which made Scott’s heart softer for the possibility of a fourth pug that I found on Craigslist for $650 and Willard was sooooo cute—
PP: Our heads are spinning. In the best possible way.
Jen: So, we ended up doing this rather shady transaction, seriously, it was borderline creepy, we met this woman in a gas station—
Scotty: A Sunoco gas station—
Jen: --Handed her a wad of cash, she hands us a pug with nothing, no collar, no leash, but at least she did have his paperwork.
Scotty: We always knew we had to have an even number. We knew we had to have two boys and two girls, so when we got Willard, we were complete. I mean, Jen wants another ten, but I’m good at four.
Jen: I truly would have as many as my husband would let me have. If my husband won’t let me have more, maybe I need a new husband.
PP: Gotta do what you gotta do, Jen.
PP: We love that Scotty was the Pug Person first and you infected Jen and she got the disease way worse than you. Scotty, do you remember becoming a Pug Person?
Scotty: After graduate school, I moved out to Denver to stay with my aunt and uncle for a while and they had this pug, Dixie. And she was the sweetest, orneriest little thing and I just was—it’s so hard to describe. But the definitive moment I remember was that my aunt and uncle bought this huge container of muffin tops from Costco and had them in the back of their truck. And somehow while they were driving, Dixie got into the container and when they found her she had eaten every muffin top except one. And she was laying on her side, so stuffed she couldn’t move… but she was still trying to eat that last remaining muffin top. And it just cracked me up so hard. It stuck with me how comical she was. I fell in love with her.
PP: Your aunt and uncle must be so delighted that they’ve caused this pug explosion in your home.
Jen: Funny you should say that. Okay, so no one in our family knows this yet, but… (turns to Scotty) Should I say it?
Scotty: Yeah, yeah!
Jen: Okay, nobody knows this yet, but I’m in the process of incorporating Georgia Peach Pug Rescue.
PP: No way! We’re the first to hear this?!
Jen: Yes! There used to be a Georgia pug rescue, but the founder passed away and the board was not interested in continuing. So, since we’ve lived here there’s been no pug rescue in Georgia.
Scotty: Which is crazy.
Jen: There are rescues in other states that do some work in Georgia, like Florida Pug Rescue, but I felt like, ‘come on Georgia, you can do better than that! Florida has to take in our dogs because no one is willing to step up?’ And of course, I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m learning as I go. So, I’m just waiting to hear back from the state on their approval of the corporation.
PP: This is soooo exciting. Are we allowed to talk about this in the article?
Jen: Well, yeah, I guess it’s breaking news.
PP: You heard it here first, Pug People! Georgia Peach Pug Rescue!
*Pause while Jen, Scotty, pugs, and Tales of Pug People savor the moment.
PP: While we savor the moment, let’s talk about the pugs’ individual personalities. We hear that Serna is all about eating poop. That’s her MO.
Jen: Yeah, it’s bad, but even worse, she eats poop, then in the darkness of night, burrowed under our covers…
PP: She pukes it up.
Jen: Yes. It’s so traumatizing.
PP: Wow. You two really are the most genuine of Pug People. So, do they all sleep with you?
Jen: Um… not the cat.
PP: That’s a lot of snoring.
Jen: I guess, but Scotty says my snoring is worse than the pugs’.
Scotty: That’s another interview for another day.
PP: With your marriage therapist. Jen, we asked Scotty already, but did you have a moment when you crossed over into true Pug Peopledom?
Jen: I think I realized I was a little crazy when I would see anything on social media about a pug sick or dying and I would just be sitting on my couch, crying uncontrollably. And I thought, this is not normal that I’m this attached to an animal on the other side of the country that I’ve never even met, will never meet. And I realized it was the breed; I just love the breed. When I was in graduate school we literally had no money, but I would still donate whatever little I could scrape together to our pug friends in the hospital. But honestly, if one of my human friends said, “hey, I need some money to go to the doctor”, I’d have been like, “ooooh, sorry, I’m a little tight right now.”
PP: Yep. We don’t even tell our husbands how much we contribute to various pug GoFundMe campaigns. Scotty, was your crossover moment the muffin top incident?
Scotty: Yeah, but I also remember exactly when I went from “pugs are pets” to “pugs are family”. I had been going through a tough time with deaths in my extended family, and then Gunderson got sick. He has a tricky digestive system and he started shaking and I could tell he was in terrible pain. Jen was housesitting and I was by myself with Gunderson and I just started bawling. It scared me so badly because I felt that fatherly thing, like I wanted him to tell me what was wrong. I hadn’t bawled that much before that time, or since. At that moment he went from being a pet to being family. I’m Daddy, not their owner.
PP: Now we’re gonna start bawling!
Jen: Well… not to detract from that sweet, sweet story, but just so you know, we ended up with a thousand-dollar ER bill for a constipated pug.
Jen: Yep. They did an enema. (starts laughing)
PP: A thousand-dollar enema.
Scotty: (sheepish mumble) Yeah, it was funny.
Jen: Anyway! We were talking about their personalities. Gunderson is super naughty. When we lived in a rental house, it had a deck that you could go under and he would come out carrying the most random stuff. What is that, Gunderson? Oh, just a water spout he tore off the house. Somebody came over one time to treat our house for termites and he left a pickaxe in the backyard. And there’s Gunderson trying to carry the pickaxe, but he's just walking in circle because it was so heavy.
PP: So, Gunderson is the little devil and we think you said Serna is the affectionate one, even though she's also the poop eater. What about Ellie and Willard?
Jen: We call Ellie the warden. She does not like people to have fun. When the other pugs start to play she goes after them, like trying to simmer down the kids. She gets annoyed if one of them reverse sneezes. ‘You're not allowed to make any noise. Just sit there’.
Scotty: And Willard is the sweetest baby you'll ever meet. Filled with joy, just everything makes him happy.
PP: Do they all get along with each other?
Scotty: Except for Ellie the dictator. She likes to boss everybody, but she particularly picks on Serna.
Jen: Serna and Scotty have a bond and I think Ellie is a little jealous of that. All the ladies love Daddy. So, we've had to pull them apart from fighting over him in the name of Pug Love. No one fights over Mommy.
PP: We’re assuming you have lots of pug paraphernalia in the house.
Jen: We have a zillion toys for them, and the standard mugs and shirts and stuff, but our best piece is the pissing pug. My uncle got us this statue and the pug has his leg up. So, yeah, there’s a pissing pug on our kitchen counter.
PP: That’s a beautiful mental image. And we’re sure you guys are very popular at the Pug meetups with your family/grumble unit.
Jen: To be honest, we're usually too busy untangling ourselves from the leashes to really socialize with anyone.
PP: Okay, last question. We swear it’s the last question, because we could keep you forever, you’re so wildly entertaining.
Jen: Oh, please. We have literally nothing else to do.
PP: So, do you have a True Pug Confession? Actually, you know what, never mind. We think this whole thing has been a True Pug Confession.
Scotty: Pretty much.
Jen: No holds barred. It was like a Rolling Stone interview.