Likes: humping Dill's face, chewing his bone, getting butt scratches, playing fetch, treats, eating cat poop, destroying the couch, tearing buttons off clothing, eating the insides of pillows, eating toilet paper off the roll, empty water bottles
Pet-Peeves: the doorbell, skateboards, having pets interrupted by his "brother" dog Dill, vacuum cleaners, our downstairs neighbors, not being allowed on the bed, nail trimming time, having underwear taken away from him, the hose
Favorite Food: pork chops (conveniently enough), carrots, pop corn, ham, ice cubes, underwear, dirt, plants, rocks, ANYTHING REALLY
Favorite Walk: Dolores Park, SF; anywhere the sniffing is good
Best Tricks: um, he can sit
Bio: If you haven't already had the pleasure, let me take a moment to introduce Pork. Pork is a pug, a pug that lives in my house. Among his more endearing qualities are his independently swiveling eyes (which give him incredible gecko-like peripheral vision), his propensity for snorting and spraying pug saliva in your face and, most of all, his weight. The Sears catalog would group him under its "husky" sizing chart. I call him a tub.
Poor Pork was named too well. He was 10 weeks old when he first snorted his way into our lives. I couldn't possibly have foreseen the monster that was to surface. Not all pugs turn out this way. In fact, just the other day I saw a strapping young four year old that Pork probably outweighed by 10 pounds. If seven dog years is one human year, then 10 dog pounds must be 100 human pounds. He's fat. Go figure.
I swear it's not my fault; I'm a good mother! We never feed him people food. He's not rewarded for begging. He doesn't get that many treats. He's even on the weight watchers dog food. My only conclusion is that it has to be the non-nutritional calories he's ingesting that tip the scales. The iron rich bottle-caps and fiber heavy cat poop are the real culprits.
So come with me. Let's take a Sunday stroll down the slippery slope that is Pork's gastrointestinal tract.
THE BUNGER: Pork's Bunger, in addition to serving as an exit for all that he eats, is the portal to another dimension. Once inside, all time slows to one-sixth speed, much like gravity on the moon. Everything is a little murky and hazy like a bad mushroom trip or the reason someone thought Max Headroom was a good idea. The Bunger does not have control over the tides, but it does have other magical powers.
The Bunger speaks to me at night from the shadows. "Come closer, female human. I want to tell you a tale," it will say.
I approach, cradling an attentive ear. The Bunger speaks often of the Fairy Princess and the Warthog King. It considers itself an expert on Greek mythology and gladly entertains us for hours with the adventures of Poseidon, the Minotaur and the River Styx. It also does a mean Bette Midler inspired one-Bunger-show.
Most often, though, it just makes calculated threats. "If you ever want to see the battery cover for the DVD remote again, you will tell me where you keep the shortening."
THE TITANIUM INTESTINE: I've assembled a partial list of things he's consumed. It's an incomplete list only because I couldn't possibly (nor would I want to) know about everything. It is also worth mentioning that this list, while impressive, is that of a two year old dog. This fatty has a good 10 years left with which to add to it.
1) The Inside of my couch:
In this case he's passed on his deviance to our other dog, Dill, who is normally very well behaved. Mind you, the couch was not that special in the first place - just some old thing from Ikea that gets the job of sitting around done. Still, I was rather fond of it when it was in one piece. Pork has graciously torn off the zippers, destroyed a pillow and eaten out the insides of the cushions. Now when I'm out gardening in the yard, I frequently find discolored chunks of sofa that have passed through my dog's colon. I clutch each piece to my bosom, look to the heavens and scream.
"WHY, GOD, WHY? WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME AND MY NEED FOR COMFORTABLE HOME SEATING?! WHY??"
Mine in particular, although Dan's are certainly not exempt. How does he get these, you ask? I think pugs can secretly levitate when presented with the musky treasure trove that is a pile of dirty laundry. As a result, I have precious few pairs that I'd want to be seen wearing when I get strip searched by the boys down at the station. It's only a matter of time, my friends.
To be fair, any paper product* is a potential meal. I'd like to make a special case of Exhibit A. I was not halfway through this book when Pork decided to burrow with it deep into his cave under my bed. Who knew pugs were into 20th Century American Eugenics? Not I. He voraciously consumed its contents - Henry Ford's Nazi connections, the Carnegies, Harvard's ulterior motives, oh my! What this dog can teach you!
(* Toilet paper is another favorite delicacy (to date, thankfully, always unused). I cannot count the times I found the roll trailing from the bathroom, through the laundry room and into the kitchen -- at least 20 feet. )
4) Broken Glass:
A quick mouth finger sweep was applied. Stupid pet tricks indeed.
5) The Penny Incident:
New Years Eve 2002 was probably the closest yet he's come to death. My brother was visiting and everyone was festive, ready to go out and have a night on the town. Pork was not himself. At first he was merely lethargic. We brushed it off; there were a lot of people around which can be a big deal for a fat little pug. His lethargy soon became a near complete lack of response, followed by what appeared to be convulsions. This did not bode well. I rushed him to the emergency vet on the other side of town.
I was worried sick, anxiously watching for signs of another pug seizure. Would he live? Was he going to pull through? The vet said that they'd keep an eye on him and do some X-rays. I'd no other choice than to head home. Mere minutes later I received a phone call: "Well, he's out of the woods," the vet informed me, "he just passed a penny." I was still in the car and suppose I could have gone back to get him. But I felt it best that he stay there and think about what he'd done.
6) Roofing Nails:
I guess I should preface this by saying he hasn't managed to actually SWALLOW these (that I am aware of), but it's come damned close. Keep in mind that these suckers are 3.5 inches long. Our roof was repaired and the workers didn't seem to think it problematic that the old nails ended up scattered all over the deck and yard. Pork fancied himself an archaeologist and busied himself by digging these out from between the slats and hoofing it off to a corner to infect himself with tetanus. Do dogs get this? In his case it would be great, as it causes your maxillary muscles to clench up. I love it - bring on the lock jaw!
7) Plant Matter:
Wood chips, sticks, leaves, dirt, sod, flowers, rocks, roots, straw, mulch. I've given up trying to stop him at this point.
8) Human Hair:
I refer to this as the "dingler effect." My friend Anne has very long hair. Much like the dogs, Anne sheds. Copiously. Her hair ends up in every possible crevice, crack and cranny. I once pulled a clump (clump!) out of the freezer. Hence, it is no big surprise that strands of her luscious locks also wind up coming out the other end of Pork. The problem: the hair usually does not make it all the way out. Neither does the transport to which it clings. For the imagination impaired, this means that Pork is left with a turd dangling several inches below his bunger by a human hair that is hanging from his rectum.
This usually results in a lot of ass dragging around the yard until the dingler is set free. If dragging proves a failure, yours truly must physically wipe Pork's butt with whatever item might be handy: a leaf, a newspaper, a book of matches. Remind me to shake your hand when we meet.
9) Birth Control Pills...twice:
It's a relief that Pork will never know the joys of motherhood. This was always unlikely as he was born male, but Jesus works in strange ways. When you also consider that we paid good money to have him eunuch-ized, I doubt he'll be procreating any time soon. This, incidentally, doesn't stop him from humping our other (eunuch) dog's face, but the Gay Dog Theory is a topic for another article.
The first time he ate a birth control pill was my fault -- I dropped one of my pills. He dove for it and conquered, end of story. The second time was more dubious. Anne was crashing on the couch. Her bag, innocently enough, was on the floor next to her. Ever the inquisitive one, Pork opted to investigate. He's told me on several occasions that he likes to make sure our guests aren't packing any concealed weapons. Long story short: in the morning her pill case was destroyed, the contents ravaged. Give me another 100cc of Ortho Tri-CyclenÂ®, stat!
10) Electronics Equipment:
Dan's headphones, more remote controls than I can name here, RCA cables; nothing is safe. Keep in mind that these are things he has eaten, not chewed. That's right, he ate a f-ing pair of headphones. Well, technically, I guess he only ate one, but the other was pretty useless without its mate.
11) Cat Poop:
For Pork, this foul substance ranks up there with filet mignon and chilled beluga caviar. He literally goes crazy for it. This is the one thing that takes me beyond mere annoyance. I HATE when he eats cat poo. That smell does not go away. Once, when I thought he was eating wood chips again, I swooped in with the ever reliable finger sweep. Big mistake. No amount of scrubbing will get that stink off your skin or from underneath your nails.
The winner though, the most repugnant if you will, began like any normal trip outside to take care of pug business. Pork comes, goes and returns to the inner sanctum of our humble home. Suddenly a strangled scream rings out. "Get in here and see what just came out of your son's mouth!!" I run, tripping, up the stairs. There on the kitchen floor is a small brown pile -- a pile that appears to be moving outward.
HE PUKED UP A CHUNK OF MAGGOT RIDDEN CAT POOP THAT WAS NOW CRAWLING ACROSS MY KITCHEN FLOOR.
At that moment, I felt the distinct rattle of something dying inside me. It's like finding out your child has been permanently damaged in an accident and will never again play the violin. He was truly lost to me; no amount of training or therapy could overcome this stupidity. It was time to put him in a clown outfit and call it a day.
Even with all this, I really do love my dog. His fat pug ways are often as endearing as they are infuriating. However, I'm hoping that the old adage "owners always end up looking like their dogs" does not hold true in my case. Someone please shoot me if you even so much as spy the beginning of a facial fold or curly pig tail start to appear. I already occasionally snort when I laugh...it must all be downhill from here.
Dad found me in the kitchen chewing on a package of Advil Cold and Sinus pills. I was perfectly happy sitting on my pillow enjoying the crunchy sounds of the plastic -- I don't know why he had to take it from me. Two of the pills were missing and two were crushed up, but still in the package. Mom didn't know if she had taken the missing pills or if I had eaten them. Uh oh.
The vet told dad to call poison control. Dad grumbled over the $50 they charge for dumbpug advice. However, they still have to admit that they want to keep me around. I was the center of attention but wasn't sure if that was a good thing.
Since no one was sure (including me) if I'd eaten the medicine, the poison control people told dad that he would have to induce vomiting. They told us to give me 1.5 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Even I wouldn't drink that stuff straight. Yuck. It did taste pretty good when mom mixed it with a bowl of BBQ sauce. I licked up every drop. It was supposed to take 15 minutes for me to puke. Then mom would have to comb through it to see if she could find anything that looked like Advil. I had to stay in the kitchen while mom kept a close eye on me.
After 45 minutes and still no barf, mom was convinced that my iron guts had prevailed. She finally let me out of the kitchen. Of course, I got sick out in the living room. Mom held her nose as she looked through it.
Meanwhile, dad was back on the phone with poison control. They said to keep a close eye on me and to look for any signs of agitation that would be caused from the decongestant. Basically it would act like doggy speed and could make my heart shut down. The other main ingredient, ibuprofen, would be bad for my nervous system and possibly cause liver failure. I guess this was pretty bad. I licked myself.
I didn't show any signs of discomfort and it turned out to be a false alarm. However, the next day I was kind of sluggish and didn't want to play with Dill or move around much. At first mom thought that maybe I had actually eaten something. She was right...but it wasn't pharmaceuticals. I felt a lot better after I pooped out a big rock.
I barked nervously as my favorite couch was hoisted out of the house. All the memories -- gone! The sweet taste of the cushions, the crunchiness of the zippers, the satisfying rip of material...it was all gone. Now mom has a NEW sofa...she won't let me on it or even near it. She calls it the "three-foot-rule." At least Dill isn't allowed either. Hmmmph.