PUGS! The word alone makes me smile. Although more of a cat than a dog person (I’m too lazy for the daily walks, and too squeamish for poo disposal duties), when I met Peggy the Pug she was so friendly, snuffly, surprisingly soft to the touch, and oh-so-cute wiggling her bottom with pure joie de vivre, I was smitten.
Peggy belongs to Helen West, Park Officer for Reigate and Banstead Council. Helen found her at ‘Many Tears Rescue Centre’ and she brings Peggy to work with her at the Priory Park Office. Helen soon realised how sociable these little dogs are, and how much they love other pugs; so she started a regular Meet. Since then, a growing number of pugs and owners rendezvous in Priory Park on the last Sunday of every month. Whatever the weather, they gather between 2-3pm at the Pavilion, take a short walk (pugs can’t walk very far) and finish at ‘Pistachios in the Park’ for a well-earned rest and refreshments.
There are Pug Meets all around the country – nearby Caterham also has one – and they can include cross-breeds like Chugs (Chihuahua/Pug) and Jugs (Jack Russell/Pug). Helen’s group has a Facebook page, ‘Redhill, Reigate and Merstham Pugs’, where photos and news are shared, along with information about the meets. There is a great sense of fun in the group and dogs are often dressed in festive outfits. A summer picnic is planned but the two-legged members will need to keep a tight hold on their sandwiches as apparently, pugs eat anything on ground level!
Groups like these are great and demonstrate just how this breed has been conquering the world and our hearts in recent years, even infiltrating Hollywood. In ‘Men in Black’ Frank the alien uses a pug disguise. In ‘Kingsman’ special agent, Eggsy chooses a pug thinking it’s a bulldog and will grow! In the real world, of course, owners make informed choices and it’s easy to see
how pugs have become a hugely popular pet – they have such charm, and their compact size makes them very user-friendly.
Crufts says this: “A dignified dog, very intelligent, good-natured and sociable… robust and self-reliant, with great character and personality. An adaptable companion for both young and old, and one who integrates himself very closely with family life. He can talk with his eyes, has his mischievous moments, and usually lives to a ripe old age.”
Interestingly, Crufts adds: “The Pug arrived in England when William III came to the throne… once very popular with royalty and the aristocracy.”
Maybe when our next King William is crowned, the pug will become a royal dog once more. How fantastic would that be?! (no offence, corgis)