The Pug Lady and Johnny Carson

pugsI love pugs. I do. And when I see one on the street I will always stop to pet the pug and chat with the owner, because Pug People are usually a bit crazy.

Case in point. I was at the mall yesterday with my kids: one who was spending his allowance at GameStop, the other who was spending hers at Victoria’s Secret (that’s another blog). I was just the appendage with the car keys.

We were walking through the mall when I spotted an older woman with a pug on a leash at the entrance to Macy’s. Now I’ve seen plenty of  service dogs in the mall with their trainers, and plenty of purse dogs being smuggled about, but I’ve never seen anyone get away with walking a pug in the mall!

I had to go talk to this woman (let’s call her Doris).

Doris was about 80, and the pug looked every bit as old. It was resting on its haunches while its owner chatted up another older couple.

“Excuse me. May I say hello to your pug?” I said. “I have a pug.”

Those are the four magic words: “I have a pug.” Say that to a pug owner and be prepared to be chatted up like you’ve been best friends for 20 years.

“This is Precious,” said Doris as I bent down to pet her pug (all 25 pounds of her).

As I was petting Precious I noticed something odd. She had a harness that said “Service Dog.”

I looked up at Doris and said, “She’s wearing a service dog harness,”  knowing full well what was coming next.

“Oh yes. It’s the only way I can get her into the mall,” she said with a wink. And then without missing a beat she reached into her small clutch and pulled out an old faded picture of  her siblings and their pugs, and pointed to each one, telling me their names as if they were her grandchildren.

She then carefully tucked the treasured pug picture back into her clutch and pulled out another faded photo. This one of herself and her husband dressed int heir finest at a formal dinner.

“This is my husband. He was friends with him.”  The “him” in the photo? Johnny Carson!  THE Johnny Carson having dinner with Doris and her husband. “They worked together,” she said as she slipped the photo back into her purse. And then the topic went right back to pugs.

I stood there and shared pug stories with Doris and the older couple (also pug people of course) for a few minutes more while my kids rolled their eyes with embarrassment.

We finally said our goodbyes, and as I walked off with my kids I thought to myself, who puts a service dog harness on a pug and carries around pictures of pugs and Johnny Carson in their purse? Pug People, that’s who.

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