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(Note: the pug pictured above is not mine. Found him on Google.)

In our house, there’s something called the morning pug phenomenon and it’s quite a thing to behold. Although to truly grasp what it is requires an understanding of the full range of emotions or moods our pug is capable of throughout the day. So some careful study over time is required. Let me set the scene.

During the night, our dogs (a pug and a French bulldog) have run of the house. They usually choose to sleep in one of three dog beds and blanket piles located in our bedroom. They used to sleep in bed with us but they would always sleep horizontally, inserted between us so we hardly had any room in our own bed. Still, it wasn’t until they had a fight over who ‘owned’ the bed that we decided to turf them out onto the floor where they belong. Things have been much better for everyone since. Although, the dogs might say otherwise (thankfully, they can’t speak).

Being small dogs, they aren’t quite nimble enough to jump up on the bed on their own. But, with their prime bedside locations, they’re able to hear when you start making ‘awake’ noises and – bang! – there’s a little pug face huffing and snuffling right beside you, staring at you with his googly little eye (he only has one so, yes, he is a pirate pug but that’s a story for another day). When they jump up on their hind legs by the side of the bed, they can see you just fine and if the pug feels he’s not getting the desired response (getting out of bed, scratching him and making him his breakfast) then he scurries from one side of the bed to the other and back again, trying to convince someone to get up and get moving.

The enthusiasm with which our pug attacks the day is quite a thing. His excitement is close to obscene. He’s excited for morning scratches. He’s excited to get up on his perch on the arm of the couch. The morning is pretty much the only time he will give out kisses. You’re a very lucky person if you get a kiss after he’s had his breakfast and gone for a walk.

And, oh yes, he’s excited for breakfast although it never comes soon enough. When he starts to feel outraged at the lack of morning meals, he can often be found sitting in the kitchen, staring at this bowl, doing his best hard-done-by face. Clearly he is starving and his humans are mistreating him. If he could notify the authorities, he would have done it by now.

Now, if this excitement continued throughout the day, it would be less remarkable. He would just be one of those super-exuberant dogs that loves life and everything in it. But he’s not. Once he’s fed and walked, humans hold little interest for him – unless you look like you might be getting food or have just walked through the door (and may have brought food).

He’ll sit by himself under the arm chair and all you’ll see of him for the rest of the day will be his little paws poking out from under the seat. Or he’ll go and sleep in one of the bedroom beds. He’ll do this even though his brother is snuggling one of the humans on the couch. If it’s winter, he’ll plonk himself on the side of the couch that gets the best heat and, if you try to snuggle, pat or in any way ‘molest’ him, he’ll storm off the couch with a very disgusted grunt and backward glance. As if to say, ‘How could you manhandle me thus?’

Afternoon and night time pug prefers to be alone, unless he feels like he needs a scratch or two. When we take his brother down for an extra pee before we leave the house or go to bed, we’ll offer pug the option to come but he’ll just stare at us in disdain. As if he, pug, needs to go on a pointless pee mission. He’s done his business. What possible purpose could he have outside after his morning constitutional? Inside is now the place for pug.

I mock him but really I envy his lust for life (in the morning). It’s a rare day that I wake up with so much excitement for what may lay ahead. And even though he gets grumpy of an evening, at least the dog knows what he wants and won’t let anyone get in the way of him achieving it.

Dogs, huh? They add so much to your life and all they want in return is love… and food… and walks (and butt scratches and face rubs and to be left alone, if they’re my pug). Acually, they want a bit, damn them!