Zombie & Crowley (and their Person, Tracey)
Pug People, we have actor/model/therapy dog/agility/obedience champion pugs for you today! We know you're going to enjoy meeting Zombie and Crowley and their highly entertaining Person, Tracey (who has SIX pug tattoos and is our hero), and we even have links for you to watch some Oscar-worthy pug acting. Enjoy!
PP: So how did your Pug Personhood begin, Tracey?
Tracey: I got my first pug, Fester, because I’m a Type 1 diabetic and my doctors told me I had to get my blood pressure down. And I saw a pug and said ‘how do you not laugh at these faces?’ They’re the clowns of life.
Tracey: And a neighbor who found out I wanted a pug—mind you, this is seventeen or eighteen years ago—she posted a classified ad for a pug on our back door. We went to see him… and that was Fester. We found out at six months old that he had a pinched spinal cord and there was nothing they could do and the vet said, ‘love him while you have him’.
PP: Oh, noooo. Heartbreak.
Tracey: Fester would egg-beater when he walked because he couldn’t pick up his feet straight. When he passed at two and a half years old, I wasn’t sure I could handle getting another pug. I babysat whippets, Dobermans, schnauzers, you name it, but it never worked; pug dogs just were my breed.
PP: Well, of course. What does a whippet have on a pug?
Tracey: So, I was at my auto body shop and our mechanic knew someone who’d had a litter from her championship dogs. There was two left, Igor and Jimbo, who went straight to my husband. And I was like “no, I want the one who comes straight to me.”
Tracey: A good choice because Igor ended up being 17 pounds and Jimbo was around 40.
PP: Wait... 40?! Four-zero?!
Tracey: Yep. He wasn’t fat, never wanted treats, he was just a big boy. And with Igor I got into obedience, which is not a normal thing for pugs. But you’d be surprised what they can do if you start them around five months.
PP: Um, our puppy is five months old and if he obeyed on anything, we would drop dead of shock.
Tracey: We had to do it, because we wanted to be able to take them wherever we could and have the respect of people that our pugs would not cause any trouble.
PP: That’s wise. We’re not wise like that. So, Igor was a good boy.
Tracey: That’s how he got into acting. In 2012 we got an email that said, “Pug Casting Call”. It was for a short film with Gordon Pinsent, who was a Canadian icon. My husband’s an electrician and he was on a job site and had to tell them, “I have to leave early, my dog has an audition in Toronto.”
PP: How often do you get to say that?
Tracey: And he got the part! He played Gordon Pinsent’s pug in the short film “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me”.
PP: Igor was a movie star!
You can see Igor’s audition here: https://youtu.be/GF69PX1sYZE
You can see a trailer for Igor’s movie here: https://youtu.be/fe4mfScj0DY
Tracey: And Zombie is the pug in the Bounce dryer sheets commercial.
You can see Zombie’s commercial here: https://youtu.be/XXbgb7SlnLE
PP: Tracey, why do you think pugs are good therapy dogs?
Tracey: Well, they were bred to be companions. Igor was the first pug dog to visit a children’s hospital here in our area. It’s so sad, though, that since Covid, we haven’t been allowed back onto the children’s floor. We started telling the parents that we couldn’t come to see them, but they were welcome to come to our back yard to hang out with the pugs, and many of them have taken us up on that.
PP: Love that! Back yard pug therapy!
Tracey: I can honestly say that the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met because of the pugs… just blow me away.
PP: That’s truly lovely. And we would have to agree for ourselves. Tell us, do you do voices for the pugs?
Tracey: Nah, I let them speak for themselves.
PP: Oh, that’s right, they “talk” in your Instagram posts.
Tracey: The only reason I do social media is because I want people to know these dogs are not couch potatoes. These dogs are brilliant.
Tracey: I don’t want to hear anyone say that these dogs are stupid or lazy; no, that would be you as owners.
PP: Dang! Preach it, Pug Person!
Tracey: I’m not messing around here.
PP: You most certainly are not.
Tracey: I currently have the #1 agility pug dog in Canada.
Tracey: My mini wonder pug, Zombie; he’s only 12.2 pounds. I love the runts.
PP: He’s a tiny marvel!
Tracey: He can catch a Frisbee out of the air.
PP: What?! A Frisbee pug?!
Tracey: He’s the only pug in the group of dogs who play.
PP: We would assume so. That's not exactly a breed standard.
Tracey: He also likes to catch tennis balls, but not if they have the fuzz on them. We have to peel them.
PP: We didn’t even know that was possible.
Tracey: It is, trust me. Of course, there was the time he ate the peeled tennis ball and cost us eight thousand dollars at the vet.
PP: Oh, Zombie. Sweetheart.
Tracey: He's named for Rob Zombie. And then there’s Crowley, named after The Demon King of Hell on the show “Supernatural”. And it’s perfect, because he’s a real shit. There’s a line from the show, “You’re good… but I’m Crowley.” That’s my pug to a T.
PP: But not behavior, right? Just personality.
Tracey: Everything. I mean, my pugs are very well-rounded, they can sleep through fireworks, they ride Ferris wheels and Harleys, they can walk on grates and tin foil, but Crowley still kills me.
PP: Tin foil, huh? Okay, moving on… We’re fascinated by the thought of you going to these competitions. Do the pugs stand out?
Tracey: Um, we all stand out. I’m heavily tattooed. I have six pug tattoos, along with cats, a hedgehog, and a cockatiel. And I show up for these obedience trials and all these people have goldens and border collies and they’re looking at me with my tattoos and buzz cut and my obedience pug.
PP: This is a glorious mental image. Thank you for that.