I was frankly unprepared for the vast outpouring from pug enthusiasts that I was immediately assailed with; putting out my research feelers on Twitter, it was also the only time in living memory I’ve tweeted anything that didn’t immediately result in me losing followers. Pictures, videos, gifs and a lengthy email thread with more industry folk CC’d than they would likely care for me to admit came hurtling through. One friend, a grown woman who manages to both dress herself in the morning without help and hold down a career as a professional journalist (those of you questioning the veracity of said career choice, counting my father among your numbers and citing this article as back up, fair) loudly and excitedly proclaimed: “I’LL DRESS UP AS A PUG! To be honest, I was going to get the costume anyway.” I even came into the office to have my colleague flop down in his seat, sigh loudly and announce he had been left unable to enjoy Eastenders with his usual level of gusto the night before as his pugs had had a fight. After a brief period of research (read Google pugs), I discovered articles in the news (read Daily Mail) of a three legged pug who will walk again thanks to wonderful advances in the field of pug prosthetics; Pug-o-ween Fest (self explanatory and slightly awesome); and the woman who breastfed her pug. I’ll let that one sit with you for a while.
By the end of the 24 hours since I’d joked about writing something, it became clear that I had touched on a serious issue at the heart of human kind and that this was shaping up to be one of the most important and anticipated works of my career. Inane? Ridiculous? No! (Well, yeah, maybe.) This is News. So, what exactly is behind the nation’s obsession with pugs? A breed of dogs that, let’s face it, looks like they were slapped in the face with a saucepan full of arse-ugly; the Bono of the dog world, if you will.
Stumped in the face of such perversion, but with a word count still to fill, I turned to other people to give me some quotes about why they like pugs. Christopher Fraser, a press officer and a man imbued with great wisdom behind his eyes, noted, “Why choose a thug life when you can have a pug life,” a sentiment which his colleague and peer, Ben Ryder-Smith, agrees with (naturally, he not being a thug), adding that he will often use a picture of a pug to woo a prospective date: “I have no actual ‘game’ to speak of.” Staring off into a more pleasant and hopeful near distant future (I assume: this was an email interview) he told me of his plans to one day own a pug: “It’s second on my to-do list, after snaring myself a fair maiden.” Ladies, your move. Perhaps journalist Thomas Spooner said it best though, when he said: “People love their pugs.” Truer words.
Thus we have it: after many hours spent pondering the subject, trawling through blogs, looking at pictures of pugs dressed up in ridiculous outfits and nodding and smiling as acquaintances, previously judged as sane and rational people, chattered breathlessly at me, whilst mentally re-evaluating both my life and friendship circles, one resounding fact became overwhelmingly clear: I should have taken my dad’s advice and given dentistry a go.