Sunday, May 04, 2014

Mugsy: 2001-2014

I've known for quite some time that this was how Mugsy's blog would end. That doesn't make this post any easier to write. Our dear Mugsy, the sweetest dog I ever had the privilege of knowing, has died. 

Mugsy had been ill since last fall. We had countless visits to the vet for pancreatitis and stomach ailments. Some treatments seemed to help for a while, but he just never fully recovered. Ultimately, his once-voracious appetite was gone, and he fell from a healthy weight of 25 pounds to 17 or 18 pounds. Last Monday, we took him to a specialist for an all-day battery of tests. The veterinarian said she suspected that he had cancer, though only a biopsy could confirm it, and he was perhaps too weak for the procedure. Over the years, Mugsy had numerous operations to remove mast cell tumors from his skin, and the cancer probably spread throughout his gastrointestinal tract. 

As I took Mugsy home, I thought about ways to make him feel better after a long day of being poked and prodded at the vet's office. I drove to a park, remembering how he'd once loved to sniff around and explore. But we never got out of the car. As I looked at Mugsy, I knew that he didn't have the energy. Instead, I just sat in the car stroking his soft fur, Mugsy comforting me more than I could comfort him. 

Mugsy came into our lives in mid-2001, when my current wife (then my fiancee) and I decided to take a drive to Wylie, Texas, to get an up-close look at this breed of dog we'd been reading about but had yet to encounter up close: a pug. A pug seemed like a good fit for our personalities and our small apartment; we'd just moved to Dallas after graduating from college. But we had no intention of taking a puppy home that day -- until we caught a glimpse of that snorting, fuzzy ball of energy. I can't remember the exact price we paid that day; I think it was $250. Whatever it was, it was one of the best investments we ever made. 

After a day, the 6-pound pup had learned to sit on command. Within a week, he could shake hands. But such discipline was strictly on Mugsy's terms. I remember him grabbing ahold of my pant legs, hanging on and growling mischievously as I shuffled across the room. I remember him racing around the room in dizzying circles, occasionally making a play for the food on my plate or some underwear from the laundry bin before fleeing the scene. I remember him chewing up a $72 money order that I'd procured to pay a speeding ticket in Grayson County. Mugsy would misbehave, but usually in hilarious fashion. He was a born entertainer. 

He was also the smartest dog I ever knew, and he had  a way of bending his human subjects to his will. If he wanted a stick of rawhide or to go outside or for you to sit down so that he could curl up by your feet to relax, chances are he'd find a way to make it happen. That playful yet imperious nature was, in part, what inspired this blog. 

Many of the adventures on this blog were based on real events in Mugsy's life. He did, indeed, have an endless appetite for rawhide. He would brutally massacre most chew toys (the thick-skinned Mallard being a notable exception). In his younger days, he would have spent hours licking a belly button, if given the opportunity. And he loved to dress up for Pug-O-Ween and other occasions.

Over the last couple of years, Mugsy became completely deaf and nearly blind. But he retained his happy-go-lucky nature. Whether on a long road trip or at the unfamiliar house of a friend, Mugsy was at ease and in command. As long as he had somebody to snuggle up to, he was content.

After our daughter, Cecelia, was born in 2012, I had trouble keeping up with this blog and with the ayatollah's social media accounts. I was caring for her and our two pugs during the day and working late into the evening, and so new posts slowed to a trickle before ultimately drying up. But Mugsy's adventures continued, albeit at a slower pace. He was a wonderful big brother and made quite an impression at last year's Pug-O-Ween as a bison alongside Celie's cowgirl and Wendell's old coot of the Old West. 

As I alluded to in the opening sentence, we know what we're getting into when we let a dog into our hearts. With their lifespans being so much shorter than ours, we know it's a story that's likely to end in grief. And yet it's worth it, without question. Mugsy gave us 13 wonderful years and earned a lasting place in our hearts. Rest in peace, old friend. I miss you, and I love you. 



  • For Mugsy's first Pug-O-Ween, we bought a kids' Batman costume and modified it to fit him. A lot of people assume dogs don't want to be in costume, and that's certainly true of some. My childhood mutt Sophie wasn't thrilled when we dressed her up for Halloween. But put Mugsy in a crimefighter cowl or a Viking helmet, and he simply beamed. And having a few hundred other pugs to meet and sniff didn't hurt, either. 

  • When we lived in an apartment in Far North Dallas, we'd take Mugsy for regular walks around a nearby shopping center, past the Tom Thumb grocery store and around the Blockbuster video store (remember those?). With Men in Black being a recent box-office phenomenon, we were constantly approached by people smiling at Mugsy and saying, "Frank the Pug!"

  • Mugsy didn't generally like the water. He didn't swim, and one sure way to get him to turn and run the other way was to mention the word "bath." But for some reason, he always liked the annual end-of-summer dog days at the local water parks. The first year we went, we almost left him at home and just took Wendell, instead. I'm so glad we didn't. Watching Mugsy's smile grow as we set off on an inner tube around the lazy river was a joy. 

  • My workplace, not usually a dog-friendly office, needed a model for a canine fashion shoot. So Mugsy, being the handsome and photogenic fellow that he was, was recruited. Though usually quiet, Mugsy became quite vocal in the office, spending several hours after the photo shoot barking gruffly under my desk at passers-by. That was one of my favorite workdays ever. 

  • The first day we brought Celie home from the hospital, we sat her car seat down, and the pugs eagerly approached to meet her. Mugsy had a natural way with kids, knowing how to put them at ease. Celie was never afraid of the dogs and loved them from Day 1, and Mugsy was the ideal big brother. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

First look at the new pope

Congratulations to Pug Life Ministries' new pontiff, Pope Pius Pug II.

Monday, August 06, 2012

The immune-boosting power of dogs

As the world's leading ayatollah, I typically approach scientific research with a healthy dose of skepticism. But on the handful of occasions when that science reinforces my worldview, I am more than willing to embrace it. And so it is with a study in the August issue of Pediatrics that I found most interesting and enlightening. 

The Ayatollahbaby gets a healthy dose of the dog bed.
Researchers discovered that babies with dogs in the home are, on average, healthier than those without a furry companion. Babies with canine siblings had fewer respiratory and ear infections, and they were less likely to need antibiotics. One-year-olds with a dog living in the house were rated "healthy" 81 percent of the time, while dogless children and those whose dogs stayed outside were given a healthy rating only 64 percent of the time. 

It is believed that having frequent contact with a dog exposes a child to "subclinical" doses of germs -- or germs that are not invasive or virulent. This helps children with dogs build a stronger immune system. So each time I lick my little sister's face, I am not only showing affection, I am also boosting her health. And also, God willing, tasting a little bit of sweet potato or apple sauce. Praise be to Allah for messy 6-month-old eaters!

Since the ministry is dedicated to charitable works and serving the public good, I have implemented a plan to help the less fortunate children of the congregation -- those deprived young souls who have no dogs. Here is how the MediCanine initiative works:
  • For a $10 donation, you can receive a small bag of pug fur to spread on your child's pillow, ensuring that he or she inhales valuable dog-based organisms while sleeping.
  • For a $20 donation, you can receive a bag of pug fur plus a partially chewed rawhide stick. By letting your child chew on this, you can ensure that he or she is exposed to not one but two distinct sources of life-giving germs. 
  • For a $50 donation, you will receive five bags of fur and five chewsticks -- a $100 value, my flock. This is the best option for value-minded health-care consumers, as well as those with large families. But wait -- there's more! Act now, and the ministry will throw in a Squishy Baff bath kit at no additional charge. (And who knows what kind of germs, subclinical or otherwise, your child could pick up while bathing in that sludge.) That's a $130 value for the low, low price of only $50! Keep in mind that because of the law of supply and demand and the fluctuating price of fur contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, this is a limited-time offer. Fur prices are likely to rise in the winter as shedding abates, so act quickly if you truly love your children.
  • And finally, for a $500 donation, you can arrange a personal audience with me in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, whereupon I will lick Cheez Whiz* off your child's cheeks and hands and then sneeze forcefully in his or her face. This will ensure that immune-boosting organisms are forced deep into the nasal passages, lungs and cerebral cortex, making for a happy, healthy and productive child. 
*NOTE: A comparable processed food product may be substituted.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Chicken sandwiches and change

Over the years, I have noticed that the congregation here at Pug Life Ministries is a politically diverse group. When I look at the news feed on my Facebook wall, I see screeds against President Obama's "socialist" policies alongside banners advocating universal healthcare, flag-filled messages of patriotism alongside accusations of U.S. war crimes. I also see photos of pug puppies and bulldogs in swimming pools; perhaps this is what gives me the strength to keep returning. 

I enjoy having humans from varied backgrounds in the congregation, and I believe it's good to be exposed to different ideas and viewpoints (and potential donors). The reason the ministry has emerged as perhaps the last bit of common ground in this starkly divided country is, of course, my immense charisma and charm. But I think it may also have something to do with the fact that I run an apolitical group, with the obvious exception of my unyielding stances on canine suffrage and universal access to rawhide. 

It is not that I have no core beliefs, like one of our major presidential candidates, or set my core beliefs aside in the interest of political expediency, like the other. I simply do not consider myself a member of either of the dominant political parties in this country, and I cannot bring myself to exhibit public enthusiasm for any politician whom I know will ultimately most likely prove to be a disappointment. You can call that cynical if you like, but remember that no cynic ever fought so hard to implement a canine theocracy -- our last best hope. So, in truth, I am a patriot of the highest order. 

These people must have really wanted some chicken.
I understand. I, too, want some chicken.
As a top executive at Chick-fil-A recently learned, it can be dicey to weigh in on political matters. Sometimes, it is best to tread lightly. And so I will try to keep my pawprints shallow as I address what is, apparently, one of the most important political matters of our time: Eating mor chikin. 

Religious conservatives flocked to Chick-fil-A restaurants Wednesday, waiting in long lines for the pleasure of buying mediocre chicken sandwiches. Some might mock this practice, but I can understand waiting for a meal. I often camp out at my food bowl starting at 3 p.m. so that I'm certain to be there when dinner arrives. 

At the heart of the matter is the debate over same-sex marriage. Given the political and religious diversity in the Pug Life congregation, I suspect that some of you have a certain degree of unease over the idea of two people of the same sex marrying. I confess that I, too, am uneasy with regard to certain aspects of gay marriage. Such is my discomfort that I can say, unequivocally, that I will never wed another man. I simply would not be comfortable doing so. As far as others marrying, I find that letting people pursue happiness in whatever way they please, so long as it doesn't harm others, is generally a good policy. Plus, as an imam who performs wedding ceremonies, I've learned that it is good for business. 

But I will not condemn those in the congregation who do possess misgivings about same-sex marriage. We cannot force these things, and it is best to be honest with oneself. Some of you may be uncomfortable with the idea of marrying someone of another race or religious background, and this is perfectly fine. I, personally, have never been attracted to German shepherds and so have not invited any into my harem. And no, I will not be swayed by the voices of political correctness.

But as a public service, I feel it is necessary to share with you a simple fact. In 30 years, same-sex marriage will be widely accepted in this country, and people will look back on those who impeded its progress in the same light as society at large now looks back on those who fought against interracial marriage or integration of schools or suffrage for black or female voters. Progress trudges along, my flock, and I'd hate for you to find yourselves on the wrong side of history, with nothing to show for it but a wasted lunch hour and the memories of a mediocre chicken sandwich. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mugsy issues fatwa

Too many times have I been insulted, enraged and left with a sour taste in my mouth. Too many times have I received service with a smile that masked something dark and sinister. Too many times, my flock, have I been left with two drinks but only one mint. Sonic's crimes against the very fabric of society have left me no choice but to issue a fatwa! 

This is not a fatwa I deliver lightly. In fact, it pains me to do so -- and to have to do so. But as the self-appointed defender of morality, goodness and fresh breath, I must speak out against one of my favorite establishments. Sonic, as some of you surely know, is the home of the finest drinks known to man and pug. And the creator of the drive-in's half-price Happy Hour, by virtue of his contributions to humanity and my decree four years ago at the Fort Worth Furry Imams' Conference, has been guaranteed a spot in Heaven. But making a delicious diet vanilla Coke does not give one a free pass to sin. And this, my flock, is why corrective action must be taken!

When an ayatollah orders two drinks, it should be clear to all that he is buying for two. Perhaps he is trying to ensure proper hydration for his dear mother. Or perhaps he is courting a new prospect for his harem. Regardless, the carhop's mission should be crystal clear: If you bring a mint along with the drinks, then bring enough for everyone.

The infidels do not even bring
 a knife to cut the lonely mint in half.
Just this afternoon, in the waning minutes of Happy Hour, I procured two drinks in an effort to try to keep myself and my favorite bitch cool in Texas' oppressive summer heat. And what did I find stuck to the receipt? A single mint. 

What brand of madness is this? Is it mere carelessness that leaves us awkwardly eyeballing that lonely mint, waiting for the other party to make a move like a desperate gunfighter at high noon? Or is Sonic engaged in some kind of malevolent Hunger Games-inspired plot to pit its customers against one another -- to force them to fight to the death over a small morsel of food? Because if so, Sonic executives should know that this is a very, very bad business strategy, as the Baptist wing of Pug Life Ministries learned during its 2004 "One Pew, One Milkbone" promotion. Only recently has our offerings revenue recovered to 2003 levels. 

Whether the carhops' actions are the result of carelessness or malice, the result is the same: One party with fresh, pepperminty breath, and one concubine who will be sleeping outside because of her rank, fetid, cringe-inducing panting. This, my flock, is most unacceptable. 

Henceforth, by virtue of today's fatwa, it is the duty of every carhop to ensure that a mint is delivered with every drink. No longer shall they sow the seeds of strife and halitosis. Those who dare to defy my fatwa will stumble and scrape across the parking lot after my henchmen have summarily stripped the wheels from their roller skates. So it is written, so it shall be law. Allahu akbar!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mugsy returns, declares baby a success

Greetings, my flock. I have returned from my six-month pugternity leave, ready to once again take a more active role in ministry business. God willing, this will mean an improvement upon my one-post-per-full-moon pace of recent months.

Celie's record during
her first six months
was not entirely spotless.
When my human sister the Ayatollahbaby was born, I knew that it was vital for me to become a steadying influence in her life. If her upbringing were left in the hands of our parents, she would surely suffer. As you may recall, I endured a rough puppyhood on the mean streets of Dallas, falling in with the wrong crowd and plunging into the depths of addiction. It was only through the uplifting influence of Allah that I was able to pull myself up by my bootstraps and become the pug, the myth, the legend that you all love, revere and -- deep down -- somewhat fear today. I am pleased to report that Celie is on the right path, even if she occasionally rolls off of it and cries until she's righted, fed, put to bed or tossed in her whale tub. She is a charming, good-natured, riotously funny child who, aside from the occasional fur tug and one isolated incident in which she mistook my tail for a bottle, has learned to respect her elders. 

So I am now ready to retake the reins of running the ministry full-time. My brother, Wendell, has performed ably in my absence, sparking only a handful of easily won border skirmishes and displaying just enough erratic behavior to keep the United Nations on its toes. If anything, our ability to influence global oil prices has only increased under Wendell's stewardship, a true badge of honor for any self-respecting ayatollah.

Now, you may be wondering, "Isn't a six-month fully paid leave to spend time with a newborn rather generous?" And the answer, of course, is yes. Pug Life Ministries is renowned for its generous benefits, especially among the executive ranks. I have a $420-a-month cellphone allowance, and I can't even hear anything. In these troubled times, it has been necessary to make some minor, targeted, sensible cutbacks to ensure that these important benefits continue. Thus the discontinuation this year of our contraception and spaying coverage, as well as other changes to allow ministry employees to better take control of their own health and welfare and reduce unnecessary expenses. But I digress ...

During my leave, I was not only tutoring young Cecelia. Babies, as it turns out, take a lot of naps. So in addition to serving as the Mr. Miyagi to her Daniel-san, I took advantage of her sleep time to begin work on a special project. Expect an announcement soon with further details. 

Friday, April 06, 2012

Who's the master now?

It appears that Seattle-area dog Sierra has made a political statement regarding the "no women allowed" policy at Augusta National Golf Club by eating her humans' tickets to the Masters. This is reminiscent of the time in 2002 when I spoke out against excessive highway speed by swallowing the money order that father intended to use to pay a ticket in Grayson County, Texas. He learned his lesson well and has not been cited for speeding since. God willing, Sierra's message will resonate with the same force.

Or perhaps Sierra had simply gone too long without a meal.
SEATTLE (AP) — Russ Berkman's dream came true when he won a lottery for four passes to Wednesday's practice round at the Masters golf tournament in Georgia. But the Seattle-area resident's stomach turned when he found his dog, Sierra, had eaten them.

Berkman told KJR radio on Tuesday he was determined to go. His girlfriend told him he had to make Sierra puke.

He induced vomiting and recovered a gooey glob. Then he went to work trying to put about 20 vomit-covered pieces back together.

He says he recovered about 70 percent of the tickets. He took photos and explained the situation to the Augusta National Golf Club as “my dog ate my Masters tickets!”

They reprinted Berkman's tickets and had them waiting for him in Georgia.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Cute as a button

My baby sister has an actual belly button now. Allahu akbar! God willing, I will lick it soon. 

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Think pink

Now that it's become fashionable to bash Susan G. Komen for the Cure on blogs and social media sites, is it finally politically correct for me to go public with my long-held rant* against the over-pinking of America and, most specifically, the fact that I'm sick of seeing my favorite NFL players mar their classic uniforms with ill-matching pink leggings and mittens for a quarter of the season or more? Probably not ...

* The ayatollah condemns cancer in all its forms. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Ayatollahbaby: An FAQ

Like her pug brothers, Celie loves to sleep. Unlike
the pugs, she does an excellent Mr. Magoo impression.
Since announcing the birth of Cecelia the Ayatollahbaby, I have been inundated with questions about the child. (But sadly, no donations for her college fund. Yet.) Rather than answer them all individually, I decided to compile an FAQ to address the most frequently asked questions. 

This baby naps and eats a lot. Could she be part pug?
This seems highly likely. Given the amount of pug fur floating around the ayatollah compound, it is a virtual certainty that some pug DNA found its way into the fertilized egg. This would help explain Celie's sleeping and eating habits, in addition to her extreme cuteness. 

Will the baby be applying to join the harem?
Ew, my flock. Please keep in mind that Cecelia is my sister. Wendell may try to hump his brother's back during fits of extreme boredom, but your faithful ayatollah is far too genteel and family-oriented to engage in such shenanigans. Save those questions for Woody Allen. 

The brown-eyed girl models her
great-grandmother's bonnet from the early 1900s.
Who does the baby most resemble?
She clearly has my big brown eyes, and the top of her head is as soft as a pug's ear. I'd say this bodes well for her future.

How much does she weigh?
At birth, Cecelia was 9 pounds, 1 ounce and about 21 inches long. She currently stands at 9 pounds, 3 ounces and has grown 3/4 of an inch. 

Does she sleep through the night?
She regularly sleeps a solid four- to five-hour stretch overnight, giving mother a chance to get some much-needed rest. More important, my hearing impairment -- awarded by Allah just in time for the child's birth -- leaves me oblivious to any late-night crying. Nothing has changed in my routine -- I still sleep like a baby.  
At about 30 hours old, Celie would reflexively stick her
tongue out whenever someone did the same to her.
What is her best trick?
Some people think that dogs are far superior to babies when it comes to learning tricks -- and they're right. But babies are born with the instinctive ability to do at least one trick. Mother read during her pregnancy that if you stick your tongue out at a newborn baby, the child will return the gesture. After Celie's birth, the humans found that this trick did, indeed, work for about two days. Even more impressive, Cecelia was able to turn the tables on her parents. She now only sticks her tongue out whenever she wants to, but she's trained mother and father to follow suit (lending credence to the theory that she's part pug). 

You're a radical, ultraconservative cleric, and the baby is a female. Will she be allowed to drive a car?
Absolutely not. She's much too young. 

An old issue resurfaces (and donations are welcome)

Inspired by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's recent airport antics, I am looking for a way to manufacture renewed outrage over one of my pet causes, the dog show "Don't Touch My Junk" movement. Any suggestions, my flock?

Wendell has suggested recruiting one of the athletes in the upcoming Animal Planet Puppy Bowl to draw an intentional delay-of-game penalty with a scripted hissy fit to raise awareness, while mother has urged a series of "junk-in" protests. Ever the thoughtful and calculating pug, I am still weighing all options. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Behold, the Ayatollahbaby

She was the cutest baby in the hospital nursery -- I checked.

She has arrived, my flock -- our new human baby. Young Cecelia arrived early Tuesday morning, a little bit later than originally expected. Sometimes, Allah needs to take His time on important projects. 

"I get to go meet my
pug brothers? Yes!"
After three nights in the hospital, Celie was cleared to go to her new home at the ayatollah compound -- news that she greeted with great excitement and an emphatic fist pump. 

Sometimes, when a newcomer is welcomed into our home, the humans will bring Wendell and I outside to sniff him or her beforehand. This was done during our Schnauzer uncle's first visit. We contemplated a similar tactic with Celie. But Thursday's extreme cold and wind put the kibosh on that plan. As it turned out, such a move was unnecessary. Her assimilation into the family was seamless. And her diapers ensure that she cannot mark any previously claimed territory. 

Celie didn't mind being licked, sniffed or pug-snuggled, and even loud barks didn't faze her. I attribute this to the near-constant presence of Wendell and I on mother's baby bump during pregnancy. After nine months, our snorts were old hat to little Cecelia. 

Wendell was the first to greet her. He cleaned her up -- as he does for all visitors, willingly or unwillingly -- to ensure that she was fit for an audience with the ayatollah. He also performed a security check to verify her identity, and he frisked her for hidden weapons. We've recently picked up chatter in online radical chew-toy message boards about the hiring of infant assassins, so a canine cleric can never be too careful. 

The nurse missed a spot in that hospital bath. 
After Wendell cleaned and cleared the child, I moved in quickly to sniff her and welcome her to the family. My tail wagged most vigorously as I got my first whiff of newborn, my flock. Those babies do smell quite nice. I would soon invite her to join me in my favorite spot on the recliner.

Her head may be even softer than mine.
Now that Celie is here, we've found that she doesn't do all that much. Thankfully, we've learned, she is no threat to our food supply. So this will go a long way toward promoting continued goodwill and preventing any sibling rivalry from taking root. For the most part, she naps and eats. And occasionally tries on party dresses. 

All dressed up with nowhere to go.
So Wendell and I will continue to snuggle her and nurture her as we wait for the glorious, glorious day when she is finally allowed to eat solid foods. And then, my flock, we will pray to the Almighty that she is a typically messy toddler eater. 

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Licking my chops

I wish this baby would hurry up and make her appearance -- I'm hungry

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mugsy is getting a sister

A few years ago, I sent mother out with one mission: Bring me a little sister to play with. She returned, instead, with Wendell. After giving mother a detailed and sometimes awkward biology lesson, I gave up on my wish for a sister and instead began to tutor young Wendell, hoping to mold him in my image. As anyone who has met the now 4-year-old perpetual puppy knows, this did not work. Yet despite our differences, we get along famously, in part because he keeps my wrinkles and ears squeaky clean.

That initial sister request was in 2007. And now, as 2011 draws to an end, I am finally close to having my wish granted. For mother and father are expecting their first child of the two-legged, nonfurry variety. It is my preference that she arrive this evening, in time for the 2011 tax year. But the odds of this baby dropping before the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square seem slim. Still, we expect to greet her soon and are excited about her imminent arrival.

I've neglected this blog in recent months, in part because I was building up the ministry's diaper fund, preparing the nursery and attending a grueling multi-hour baby class that was clearly intended to make the mother's labor seem pain-free by comparison. Also, I am now nearly deaf, so I sometimes don't hear father when he calls me for blog time. (Fear not; due to my frequent proximity to the food bowl, I never miss a meal.)

But in the New Year, I resolve to impart more of my teachings to this world that so desperately needs them. And perhaps, God willing, some parenting tips from the ayatollah. 

Happy New Year, my flock. 

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Today in pug science

THE EXPERIMENT: Attach a delicious stick of rawhide to several helium-filled balloons and see what happens. 

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: We hypothesized that this research could lead to advances in pug aerospace, possibly boosting our efforts to capture the moon's vast hidden cache of green cheese. It could open up new avenues for safe rawhide storage. And it could further pug meteorological research, thus aiding our efforts to combat the scourge of wet fur. 


THE REACTION: "Seriously!?!?"

THE CONTROL: When conducting a scientific experiment, it is necessary to have a control group. In this experiment, we wanted to study the effect of the balloons on the pug and rawhide. Thus, we needed to examine a pug chewing rawhide without any helium-filled balloons. Mugsy graciously volunteered.

EARLY RESULTS: Frustration, mostly.

LONG-TERM RESULTS: Victory for Wendell! Allahu akbar!

OBSERVATIONS: Once the subject gained control of the rawhide and realized that it was capable of escaping his grasp, he chewed with great vigor, unwilling to let the rawhide go. However, study of the control subject Mugsy revealed similar behavior.

CONCLUSION: Since the subject did not take flight as hypothesized, further study will be required. Next time, we recommend doubling the balloon supply. And in the meantime, to promote greater airworthiness, it may be worthwhile to divert Wendell's share of Milkbones and other snacks to the ayatollah. 

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Occupy Pugistan protests gain momentum

An Occupy Pugistan protester airs his grievances.

DALLAS (AP) -- The ever-growing Occupy Wall Street protest movement has expanded to a place few thought it would ever go: the Islamic canine republic of Pugistan.

Since Friday afternoon, a small but squeaky group of chew-toy demonstrators has been camped out at the front curb of the suburban Dallas compound of Ayatollah Mugsy, the founder of Pug Life Ministries and the spiritual father of the breakaway republic. Protests have largely focused on Wall Street and not the ayatollah's iron-pawed rule.

"Wall Street's corruption must be stopped," squeaked one teddy bear, who bore the tell-tale signs of the ayatollah's abuse. One of his eyes hung loosely down his cheek, and his wheezing squeak betrayed serious internal injuries. "Whenever the S&P 500 drops, the ayatollah's cruelty increases exponentially. Every time his 401(k) loses money, he takes it out on us chew toys."

The chew toys said that September, when the Dow Jones industrial average suffered multiple triple-digit plunges, was particularly brutal.

"These wild swings on Wall Street are killing us," said another chew toy, who asked not to be identified out of fear of retribution from the ayatollah's regime. He wore a Guy Fawkes mask to conceal his face.

The ayatollah has a history of violently crushing any hint of rebellion from his chew-toy subjects. But as of Sunday afternoon, the ministry had taken no apparent steps to dissuade the protesters. Some analysts speculated that the demonstrations, given their curbside location, had little chance of surviving beyond trash-collection day on Tuesday.

Sources within the ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Mugsy was content to let the protesters vent their anger toward Wall Street so long as it distracted their focus from the true source of their suffering.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Low voltage

I hereby condemn the awful Chevy Volt commercials that have been sullying my living room. Being harassed at a gas station and questioned over your bathroom habits are not selling points. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What good fortune you have today

As mother brushed me, I thought back to history's greatest artistic achievements. Renaissance master Michelangelo putting the finishing touches on the sculpted physique of his magnificent David statue. Czech painter Alphonse Mucha, after 18 years of dedication, climbing down his stepladder for the last time to admire his newly completed Slav Epic series. Justin Bieber laying down the backing vocals on his hit song Baby.  

As mother plucked the fur from my brush, I knew that I was about to top them all. The medium was entirely new. The arrangements were painstaking. The final results, spectacular. 

Behold my new series of fur-on-magazine masterpieces, and know that a framed, signed, one-of-a-kind photo of any of them can be yours for only $75, plus shipping and handling.

"Col. Harry Potter, Southern Gentleman"

"Brush with Greatness"

"True Fuzz"

"Katy Furry"

"THE Ohio State Unabomber"

"Oprah Jesus"

"Two Guys, Some Fur and a Pizza Place"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dances with buffalo

One of these bison is not like the others.

On a recent weekend, I made a pilgrimage to the Lakota Ranch in Greenville, Texas, to visit its new white bison calf. Lightning Medicine Cloud, as he was named in a ceremony attended by more than a thousand people, was born in May during a raging thunderstorm. The Lakota Sioux have a long-standing belief that such animals are sacred, as I learned during my talks with the many bison (all brown) I encountered at Yellowstone National Park last year. So I was eager to meet the little fellow. 

Lightning Medicine Cloud
greets the ayatollah with an
enthusiastic, "Whaaasssssup?"
I am a big fan of buffalo in general, regardless of their coloring. With their iconic silhouette and natural charisma, they are much like pugs. Young Lightning did not have quite the gravitas of his herd's elder statesbison, but he was charming in his own way as he followed his mother and more conventionally colored sibling back and forth along the fence line. 

"Greetings, young calf of prophesy," I barked, as I crossed the parched earth to meet him. "You have been a veritable cash cow for the ministry's formerly unprofitable Lakota wing. Just look at all the T-shirts we're selling at that booth over there. You should be proud."

As we spoke, I noticed that Lightning's fur looked a few shades darker than what I'd seen in the photos taken shortly after his birth. My aunt, in fact, went so far as to say that Lightning was no white buffalo at all -- an assertion that I quickly denounced. After a brief but cordial exchange, it was time for me to return to the comfort of my air-conditioned carriage and bid the sacred calf adieu. I looked once more toward the ringing cash register at the merchandise booth as I said my farewell to the herd. 

"Oh, and Lightning?" I barked, "I'll send someone over with a batch of bleach later this week -- just in case."

Mother made this homage
to Lightning that afternoon
with her burrito wrapper
at Freebirds. 

Saturday, July 02, 2011

An ugly champion

Yoda proves that even the ugliest dog is pretty darn cute.
Assalamu alaikum, my flock. Today, the ministry extends its paw in congratulations to Yoda, a Chinese crested-Chihuahua mix who recently won the prestigious World's Ugliest Dog Contest. Yoda beat out 29 other contestants at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in California and took home $1,600 in prize money. 

Although not terribly ugly by historical standards (who could forget the legendary Sam), the 14-year-old competed honorably and proved more than capable of fetching the ugly stick. Caretaker Terry Devine-Schumacher said the contest recognizes dogs who might otherwise go unnoticed -- never a bad thing. 

Yoda gets a good-luck kiss
before the competition.
"Something like this allows dogs like Yoda to shine," she told the Hanford Sentinel.

Devine-Schumacher said her daughter found Yoda in a field when the dog was 2 years old.

"Nicole came to me holding her and kept asking ‘Look, look, mama, what I found! Can I keep it?'" Devine-Schumacher said. "I wasn't sure at first and almost told her no, because at first I thought she was holding a rat or something else. But then we realized the poor thing was a dog, and we've loved and cared for her ever since."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another day, another repair bill

Wendell and I are locked outside while the repairman fixes our washer. Oh, the indignity. But at least my turban will be spotless for the weekend.