Pug People, we are delighted to share with you our neighbor from Long Island (just for fun, imagine us saying that with a heavy NY accent, "nay-buh from Lawng-Giland"), Toshi and his lovely Person, Emily! It's always fun to interview someone whose Pug Love snuck up on them without warning, so enjoy Emily's story of descending with surprise into the madness of Pug Personhood.
PP: Emily, let’s hear some backstory. What led to your intense pug love?
Emily: My pug love was quite accidental. I’ve always loved dogs, but I never chose a specific breed to love, it always just happened. My son was the one who wanted a pug, so badly. We were looking for a rescue and I found a five-year old pug who was up for adoption and was a retired show dog.
PP: Ooh, fancy! And house-trained.
Emily: A big plus. We drove all the way to Georgia to get Noodles, and the second my son held him—that was it. Instant connection. Noodles followed him everywhere he went from then on and never gave me the time of day (laughs).
PP: So sweet. For your son, that is.
Emily: Unfortunately, Noodles had a rare heart condition that nobody knew about. And one terrible day, his heart went and within hours, he was gone. And he was only six and a half.
PP: No! You only had him for a year and a half?!
Emily: I tell you that I cried for weeks—I mean, pugs are such an infectious breed and Noodles infected us. And to add insult to injury, we were on a road trip and this happened in the middle of Wyoming. In the middle of the night. In the Black Mountains.
PP: Just horrifying. We are so, so sorry.
Emily: This terrible story does lead us to Toshi, though. I called the woman who had Noodles to tell her what happened and she was so shocked and sad. But then a week later, Noodles’ sister had puppies, so we got the nephew. This is how much, in a year and a half, a pug had infected our lives. The only thing I could do was have another one, immediately.
PP: We totally get it. We both have had many bouts of pug infection.
Emily: It was our first puppy and since my son didn’t really want to deal with the potty training, Toshi kind of became my baby. We became extremely bonded. Thick as thieves.
PP: So, is that when you crossed over to being an official Pug Person?
Emily: Yes, I was very attached to Noodles, but I wasn’t a true Pug Person until Toshi. I loved Noodles to pieces, but I don’t think I’d taken ownership of my Pug Personhood yet.
PP: You obviously started your Instagram account back in the Noodles days.
Emily: And because I didn’t change the name, most people have no idea that Toshi and Noodles are two different pugs.
PP: Except Noodles was a Casanova and Toshi is an overlord.
Emily: Yes, that’s his nickname, Overlord. Very difficult to bargain with him.
PP: You don’t tell royalty what to do. Especially when they have you wrapped around their little toebean from day one. What do you love most about the breed?
Emily: Oh, they’re like little bears. Squishy but firm. At night my neck is his pillow and I find that endearing. And the loyalty, the undying loyalty that drills its way into your heart.
PP: Yes, we know this as we have our appendage here (4-month old puppy Marcin glued to Shari’s lap).
Emily: Pug puppies are the best thing ever. I actually started Grumble Long Island, so Toshi could have other pugs to socialize with. Pugs definitely interact differently with other pugs.
PP: How do they know it’s another pug? That’s what we always wonder.
Emily: The same way other breeds look at pugs and say, “you’re not a dog.” When we walk, the other dogs always stop, like, “okay, what are you? Where’s your face? And what’s with those noises?”
PP: We think they’re intimidated by the beauty. Do you ever do a ‘voice’ for Toshi?
Emily: Well… I don’t, but if I did, I don’t imagine any of my pugs having a lisp or speech impediment or anything like that. I would want my pug to be able to speak in proper English and have a decent vocabulary.
PP: If Toshi were a celebrity, who would he be?
Emily: Have you not seen our Matchy Mondays?
PP: Oh, right! Is it Ryan Reynolds?
Emily: There’s a few. Ryan Reynolds recently, because he’s got that sly, good-looking thing. Then there was Toshi’s lookalike with Cindy Crawford because they both share the same facial mole. But Chris Hemsworth is his biggest celebrity lookalike with his Australian surfer thing.
PP: They definitely look like twinsies because Toshi is so wet and wild. Emily, do you have a favorite memory or story of Toshi?
Emily: When he was so small, you could put him in the pocket of your sweatshirt. You can’t do that now.
PP: And our last question: do you have a True Pug Confession, you know, something weird or adorable you do with Toshi?
Emily: Um… I don’t know, everything I do with Toshi seems normal to me. Hmmm… probably the strangest thing for other people to understand is that Toshi showers with me. He loves the water so much he just jumps right in.
PP: Now that’s a True Pug Confession!
Emily: I nailed it, huh?
PP: You nailed it.