From the first time I met the little black pug at the pound, she has been a “licker”. At our first meeting, in the cold, dismal Jacksonville pound on McDuff Avenue, she jumped up in my lap and began to vigorously lick under my chin. I thought it endearing, and a sign that she was meant to come home with me. Beautiful little black-eyed pug. Little did I know then that licking is just what the little black pug does – to everyone and everything…
My friend Karen suggested the name Pearl, as in Pearl-of-a-girl, and that rarity-of- all-rarieties, the black pearl. She was just a baby (8 months old) when she came to live with us, our first pug. What could possibly have happened in her short life that no one wanted her? As popular as pugs are, it was quite a surprise to find her at the pound. Perhaps it was because she is a black pug, and black dogs of all types are much less likely to be adopted. But who could resist a face such as hers?
As young as she was, it is safe to say that she probably never suffered abuse, just perhaps neglect. I seem to recall something about her former owner saying she was “hyper”. Perhaps she spent all day in a crate waiting for her owner to return – hell on earth for a young dog and especially the people-loving pug. I am sure she danced around when let out, only to be labeled “hyper” and banished to the pound.
Now Pearl spends her days with her friends. When I come home, it’s clear that a vigorous game of chase has taken place from the toys scattered all around the yard – outlet for all that “hyper”. In and out the doggie door, around and around the yard – Yippee! She is quite the athlete, as pugs go, still small, but strong, a pocket pug, Baby Pearl. She’s a happy dog that has never experienced bad things at the hands of a human. Every night she sleeps next to dad, every morning her “sister”, Francee, waits by the bed until Pearl joins her for breakfast.
She still licks faces and chins, dog and human, as well as other parts of her doggie friends that shall not be discussed. Her friend, the apricot pug, endures having his face licked, but clearly does not enjoy it. She loves to lick legs, ankles and feet when you take off your shoes. Knees are her specialty. She licks the doggie gate. Sometimes she just licks the air. We like to say that she has a certain number of “licks” that she must dispense each day. Perhaps it is because her tongue is really much too long for her mouth, and hangs out, so licking just comes naturally. With Pearl, it is, indeed, all about the tongue. I saw a bumper sticker once that said “Caution: Pug cannot hold its licker”, so perhaps it is a trait common among pugs. There was that famous screen saver of the licking pug…
I love to look at pictures of old pugs, gone gray around the muzzle, and wonder how Baby Pearl will look in old age. Youthful, perhaps, gray, no doubt, but forever Baby Pearl.