We have an ugly dog at our house. At one time we had an UGLY dog at our house, and when I say ugly, I mean ugly in all capital letters, maybe with a few exclamation marks thrown in for good measure. But now she is just ugly. Her name is Sadie.
For most of my family, Sadie has spanned the known realm of ugly and emerged in the realm of cute, which is what I guess happens when you are ugly enough, you become cute. But for me, Sadie is still ugly, but in an endearing way.
Sadie is a 15-year-old pug, and for those wondering if pugs grow cuter as they grow older, the answer is no, they do not. Ugly dogs, I believe, compensate for their ugliness by having great personalities, and that is one reason why I have grown to love Sadie, because she has a truly great personality.
I didn’t always think so. Sadie is my wife’s dog, and when my wife and I were dating I was convinced that there was something wrong with my wife because she continually referred to Sadie as cute. I didn’t argue with my wife at the time because she was not yet my wife and I wanted to continue dating her, so I let her live in her little fantasy world, believing that Sadie was cute.
The first time I met Sadie was when my future wife invited me over to dinner for the very first time. My future wife went to the kitchen to finish dinner, and she told me to have a seat on the couch, which I did, trying to impress her with my obedience.
While I sat on the couch, I tried to figure out how to sit on a couch in a manly, ruggedly handsome way. It should be noted that it is impossible to sit in a ruggedly handsome way on a couch. To sit in a ruggedly handsome way you must sit on a chair, preferably a wooden chair with splinters. But since there was no wooden chair with splinters in the room, I tried to sit on the couch in as manly a fashion as is possible, which meant leaning forward with my hands clasped in front of me and a deep, contemplative look on my face.
My future son soon walked into the room and asked me if I needed to go to the restroom, so I stopped trying to look contemplative and settled for a blank stare.
About this time, Sadie waddled over to where I was sitting, sniffed my leg once and plopped down on top of my feet to take a little nap. I reached down to give her a pet and my hand became lost in the folds of her skin. Sadie looked up at me with two huge goldfish eyes, snorted much like a pig, only louder, and smiled at me, which created more folds of skin all the way down her body for my hand to become lost in. I stopped petting Sadie, sat back on the couch and Sadie settled in for her nap.
About five minutes into her nap, Sadie began to snore. It was a long, drawn out snore that drowned out the television and was in the melody of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." I tried to hum along but couldn’t keep rhythm.
At this point, I began to wonder exactly what my future wife saw in pugs that made her want to not only own one, but allow one to live in her house. And that was when the smell first hit me. Although I lived most of my youth in the city, I have spent my share of time on the farm, and I am used to animal smells. This was worse than any of the smells I had smelled before.
My dad used to take care of maintenance for a small town, and I helped him with a lot of sewer line repairs. This was worse than those smells as well. About the time the first wave of gaseousness passed, Sadie let loose with another, and the thing that immediately came to my mind was that there are quite a few jokes about someone trying to pass his own gas off on the family dog. I realized with horror that I was now living the punch line to one of those jokes.
About that time, my future wife came into the room, waved her arms in the air and laughed. “Sorry,” she said. “Sadie has gas.” She took the old girl by the collar and led her out of the room, saying “isn’t she cute?” to me as she went, and I said why of course she is because I wanted to date my future wife again and was therefore prepared to lie about her dog if I had to.
After 10 years of marriage, I no longer feel that Sadie is the most hideous creature that ever lived. In fact, pugs have become my favorite breed of dog, which has brought on new worries. They say that dog owners start to resemble their pets, or vice versa, which has resulted in some careful self-inspection. For instance, I check the mirror more often to see how many folds of skin develop across my face and down my body when I smile, and I carry Gas-X with me at all times. Just in case.
James L. Davis lives in Orangeville, Utah, where he serves on the City Council. He has served as the owner of a community newspaper and is currently a safety instructor for the construction and mining industry.