Doug was a rescue pug whose life took a wonderful turn for the better when he was adopted by Liz about eight years ago. Doug’s paperwork said he was seven at the time.
Doug formed a great bond with Liz to the exclusion of other dogs and humans. He was Liz’s constant shadow.
Sadly, Dougie reached the end of his life a few days ago at the age of fifteen.
Doug and Liz meet for the first time 8 years ago. Doug is unaware he is about to start living the dream. He was an energetic ball of muscle and could run like the wind in directions and for distances of his choice. He was independent of spirit and treated commands as merely advice for his consideration. In public places such as beaches or dog parks the only way we could retain some modicum of self respect as dog owners when giving Doug ‘commands’ (which he received as advice or suggestions) was to add the words “when you’re ready”. That way Doug could never be accused of disobedience and we could not be accused of being idiot owners of an untrained dog.
L to R: Max (who died about 2 years ago) and Doug. That is an active ducted heating vent behind them which as a team they monopolised on cold days. Max was a cross between a pug and a cavalier King Charles spaniel. Dougie was a cross between a pug and something else unknown to us. Max had a longer nose than Doug. We decided to adopt Doug at a time when Max was failing fast, and was not expected to make old bones. But good old Maxie rallied and lived on happily for another enjoyable five years. Three dogs are a lot more work than two. While we didn’t plan for a long period with three dogs, we enjoyed it thoroughly. We are now down to one dog – the gracefully ageing little Minnie.
Doug was particularly fond of an open fire, and would sit in close proximity until his hair was just about smoking unless encouraged to move back a little or at least change sides.
These fashionable winter knits did not have many outings. When we upgraded our car, for a short time we harboured the fantasy that these jumpers would limit the coating of all interior surfaces with dog hair when our dogs travelled in the back seat.
L to R: Minne, Doug and Max on active guard duty – tails in the air signal alertness.
Max, Doug and Minnie staring unblinkingly in the direction from which they believe (correctly) a snack is about to appear.
No sniper ever held a steadier unblinking gaze than these three when food was in the cross hairs. That’s Doug in the middle.
Doug passing on the brain addling ear flapping head shaking performance of his step siblings after a brief wade in the ocean. Doug just let the water drip off in its own good time. We had to teach Doug to swim. When we first put him in the Barham River out of his depth, he simply went vertical with all legs flailing ineffectually, barely keeping his head above water and making zero forward progress. When tilted to the horizontal the flailing legs instantly turned into effective propulsion, his head stayed above water, and he took to it like pug to water. That was all it took – one swimming lesson. He enjoyed swimming thereafter, more so in calm river waters than shore break in the ocean. Maxie was always a great swimmer as his bowed front legs and splayed toes were perfect paddles for underwater propulsion.
Doug was fond of a pillow, cushion, quilt or rug – when a lap wasn’t available.
Doug took a while to adapt to being in his seatbelt on the back seat of the car with the other two dogs. He initially claimed seat space by pretending he was the only one on the seat (image above left) and putting up with the minor discomfort of lying on another dog. The dog jigsaw was eventually amicably worked out and they all learned to sleep on the seat rather than each other. The three of them were excellent travellers and would sleep from the time the car doors shut to when the engine was switched off, whether the trip was five minutes or three hours long. This was just as well as they all had many trips between Melbourne and Apollo Bay. The dog ‘doughnuts’ shown below were a great success for travel comfort.
If an armchair or a lap was not available, warm bricks in the afternoon sun would do for Doug.
Sudokus and crosswords – Dougie was equally helpful with both.
On warmer days, Doug (and Minnie) would keep watch over Liz if she had a siesta on the couch on the verandah.
Doug adoring Liz in front of the open fire on a wintery night. Minnie travelling economy class yet again with Doug’s rear end and tail in her face.
Dougie liked to do his Pilates at the same time as Liz. His program was not as active as Liz’s. The rubber mat was the only equipment Doug used in his session. His meditation game was particularly strong.
Dusk at Apollo Bay in front of the open fire between the hours of midnight and midnight, Doug’s favourite snoozing time.
Sometimes the outdoor furniture had to be shared.
Sometimes Doug got a solo session on the outdoor chairs on the deck.
This photo was taken just a few weeks ago. Doug had just turned fifteen years old, and Minnie was just about to turn sixteen. Dougie had totally lost all hearing by this stage, but this disability had no effect on his response to our commands on walks or anywhere else.
Dear old Dougie in his final days. He had all but lost the use of his back legs and life was getting just too difficult for him. He died peacefully in Liz’s arms. (Photo by Liz)
Dougie was stoical right to the end and continued to find enjoyment in his simple routines and familiar surrounds, and most of all in being in close proximity to Liz. Thanks to Lizzie’s unfailing care of him, Dougie truly lived the dream for the last eight years.
Dougie, we’ll miss you.