Monday, March 16, 2009

Once There Were Three

Bluto -- February 9, 1997 - March 16, 2009

Our Bluto Baby left us today. He was 12 years old and he was originally Haley and Brandon's puppy. Somehow he and the family (well, my son-in-law if you want to get precise) had a personality disconnect and he came to live with us, with his half-sister Lightning and half-brother Bert. So, there were three black pugs in the Pug household and it seemed that we would go on together forever. Then Bertie left us in 2001.

Bluto's the one in the middle. Bert is on the left--he always wore a red collar, Bluto's was always blue, and Lightning's was purple. To most people they were so similar as to be identical -- to us they had completely individual looks and personalities. Cole could tell them apart at the age of three or four by touching their coats, even in the dark. I can remember him--mostly asleep in my bed but not quite--reaching a tiny hand out and ruffling black fur and saying "Hey, Bertie." And he would be right. They were each very different to us.

Bluto did have ... a unique personality. At some point he had a run-in with a shower door and the shower door won. The result was a piece missing from his tongue. It never impeded his ability to express his feelings, especially when there was a piece of chicken treat involved. In fact, in the last two or three years he developed an especially annoying habit of howling when he thought he'd been left alone. Okay, okay ... we're all entitled to a little fear of abandonment once in a while ... cut the guy some slack!

That howling ... oh, my god, it was awful. It sounded like your worst werewolf nightmare, and when he got started he could usually get Lightning to join in. After Lightning went, he was a soloist usually. But when he began to howl, you could hear glass breaking all over the neighborhood!

That howling ... well, it created a major crisis in the Pug family at one point. Mr. Pug and I drove to Arizona to see Deirdre and Bob and we took the fawn girls. We had in mind leaving Lulu out there for a romantic interlude that never took place -- one of those arranged marriages that went wrong.  Lulu was left at the altar. Anyway, we left the older guys, Bluto and Lightning, with someone whose name we'll spare to save the guilty -- okay, okay, it was Mr. Pug's daughter. Anyway, about the third day of our trip, we got the call every dog parent dreads.

"We couldn't stand the howling another day. We've put them in the kennel." 

"Kennel? What do you mean kennel? They've never been in a kennel in their lives!"

"Well, they're in one now. Here's the number to call if you want to check on them."

I frantically dialed the number to inquire after my wronged babies. "Oh, don't worry at all --they're just fine, Mrs. Pug."

And they were. When we returned from Arizona -- no, I didn't get on the next plane but it wasn't very many days later -- they were in a double crate at the kennel, snuggled up against each other, snoring. 

"Did he howl?" I asked the kennel assistant, checking Bluto and Lightning for hidden signs of neglect or abuse.

"No," he said. "Does he usually?"

We heard one last howl this morning. Casa Pug sure is quiet tonight.


Janice in GA said...

Oh man, I'm sorry to hear about Bluto. :( They always go too soon, don't they? And my Bouncer is 12 too.

Nease's Needlework said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your howling friend's passing. Our dog Dave is 15 going on 16 and somehow just keeps waking up from his naps to see what's going on in the world. They are such sweet creatures and the pawprints they leave in our lives are somehow always with us. My heart goes out to the human pugs and the non-human ones today.

Sheri said...

That's sad. Our thoughts and hugs are with you Pug folks.
Sheri and Libby in SE GA

Jane said...

Oh Diana, I am so sorry to hear about Bluto. My heart goes out to your whole family.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about Bluto :-(



pjbknit said...

I am so sorry to hear about Bluto. It sounds spooky when our dogs howl, but it is generally at a fire truck or tornado siren. I lost my St. Bernard puppy today. My heart goes out to you.