What do you guys think of this? I wrote a column on how our pug Ollie has a tongue that sticks out (and mentioned some of his adult teeth failed to come in). Here's the response from a reader - basically, he says it's immoral to even own a pug.
The original column is included below his letter.
Ollie's health problems are not "probably a genetic defect",
they ARE genetic defects caused by repetitive inbreeding by man in an
attempt to create a "cute" dog. This inbreeding causes multiple
health problems for many different breeds of dogs, and in some cases,
a life full of pain, and often premature death. The breeders of these
genetic oddities all know the health risks for the dogs that survive
this type of experimenting.
The Pug, and other similar breeds with the "pushed in face" look, all
suffer breathing problems because of their small nose and regular
sized tongue and palate. It is quite common for Pugs, and similar
breeds, to undergo surgery to expand their airway. Dogs pant to cool
off, and if their airway is partially blocked, the cooling off
process doesn't work very well. Hence, a dog that suffers in the heat!
Please ask your vet if Ollie is a candidate for this surgery, and if
he is, it could relieve his suffering.
The only real solution to stop the cruel practices of breeders, is
for the general public to recognize that the dog is the victim in all
of this, and it is all just to satisfy human vanity. Shame on this
type of breeder, and double shame on people that want a "designer
dog" without doing their homework first, and perpetuating this cruel
P.S. Ollie's "cute" tongue sticking out is likely because there is
no room for it in his undersized mouth. How horribly irritating!
Curious tale of the tongue has owner licked
By Adrian Chamberlain, Times ColonistAugust 4, 2009
Soon after we acquired Ollie the Pug, he developed a funny habit. His tongue pokes out on one side, as you can see from his mugshot,
I was surprised, as I thought dogs did this only in 1950s comic books. The curious thing is, Ollie's tongue is almost always sticking out.
It's pretty cute. Sometimes he looks bemused -- as though reacting to the sheer absurdity of doggie existence. Other times, he looks like an amiable half-wit. It reminds me of poor Lennie in Of Mice and Men. Or Jessica Simpson.
Occasionally, while we're regarding Ollie during his rare tongue-in moments, he'll suddenly pop it out. Pop! It's like a tiny Whack-a-Mole. My wife and I now pop out our tongues when something weird and/or disturbing happens.
People often ask, "Why does Ollie's tongue stick out?" Having absolutely no idea, and becoming tired of saying so, I'm tempted to reply (in my best Karen Carpenter voice): "Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near?" You see, I do not know about the tongue thing, not being a veterinarian or a canine scientist. I am simply Ollie's obedient man-servant, devoted to feeding him, taking him for walks and flinging his stuffed rabbit about the living room for him to chase.
I've seen other pugs with overly long tongues. Usually, though, their tongues emerge only when they're too hot. Pugs become overheated easily, perhaps due to their squished-in snouts. But Ollie the Pug's tongue is out 90 per cent of the time. Even when he's asleep. This nocturnal protuberance becomes dry, with the unforgettable texture of a warm pencil eraser.
Perhaps Ollie's sticking-out tongue is a genetic defect. After all, he already has one. A genetic defect, I mean. Sixteen of his adult teeth failed to come in. That's a lot. It makes chewing on hard things a tricky proposition. That's why -- on vet's orders -- we moisten his dog pellets with warm water. I look forward to toothless old age, when my handlers will do the same for me.
It's a funny thing with animals. People feel it's perfectly acceptable to comment on their appearance in a way one would never do with humans. Why does Ollie's tongue stick out? What impertinence! Why is your bottom so enormous, madam? Why do you exhibit such a ghastly clothing sense, sir? Yes, I mean you, in the stupid Hawaiian shirt.
Not so long ago, my wife and I took a stroll down Government Street with Ollie the Pug. It seemed a good idea. Of course, I'd forgotten how Ollie will fastidiously sniff and/or lick each passerby. Progress was torturously slow.
Two women stopped to pet Ollie. One said, "Hi, Mr. Crooked Face."
At first I thought she was talking about me. But she meant Ollie. His face is kind of crooked. Asymmetrical. The wrinkles on one side do not correspond to the wrinkles on the other. Plus one of his bottom teeth sticks out. And he's a touch wall-eyed. Just a touch.
Sometimes I hardly know what eye to focus on when offering him a Tender T-Bonz Snak.
"Don't worry boy," I whispered after the women left, no doubt on a mission to purchase generously cut cargo shorts. "I got a look at those gals. They wouldn't win any beauty contest, either. And get a load of those sensible shoes."
Happily, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Recently, I posted a picture of Ollie the Pug on a website called the Pug Village Forum. Basically, it's a site on which pug owners mostly say how cute each other's pug dog is.
Ollie's picture portrayed him in a Mexican sombrero. To be frank, he looked like a goof. Not surprising. Hat-wear is flattering to very few dogs.
Nonetheless, one of the Pug Village Forum folk responded warmly to his photo with this comment: "What a handsome boy!" Man, that made me feel like a million bucks. Take that, Mrs. Crooked Face. I stick out my lopsided tongue at ye.
(Ollie the Pug blog)
I think Ollie is adorable with his tongue sticking out, and he certainly isn't the only Pug Village pug who has a protruding tongue. I can't believe one of your readers actually had the audacity to chastize you for perpetuating the cruel practice of breeding a pug. I'm sorry this happened, and I'm glad you came here. There are a number of responsible breeders here who may want to comment more specifically, but I think you should just chalk it up to the fact that your reader is a nut.
Daisy and Huckstable
Loved by Kent and Mary
I am so sorry that someone had to spoil your day like that. Clearly they need to get a life, and get a life as soon as possible. This board used to have a lovely young woman who took many, many pictures of her little black pug Pixel. Pixel had the most amazing tongue of any dog I have ever seen.
So, does the writer of that letter condone the real "designer dogs" such a puggles and chugs? These dogs can carry not only the difficulties of the pug breed but the difficulties of the other breed as well.
"If I were a pediatrician and a mother told me, "it's just too hard making healthy food everyday for my kid, I'm just going to feed Total cereal everyday, it's 100% nutritionally complete," we'd all feel sorry for her kid. I am a vet, and when people tell me "I've found a really good dry food, I think I'...ll feed it everyday for the rest of my pets life," why don't we feel equally sad?" Dr. Karen Becker
Sadly, technically the person who wrote the letter is right in that humans have done a horrible thing by breeding dogs for a certain look instead of good health. But EVERY purebred dog will have health issues. Hips on GSD's, hearts in Cavalier King Charles, the list goes on and on.
But we love this genetically messed up dog we call the pug. We look for the best, most responsible breeder that is in it for bettering the breed, not the money. We try to get dogs that have the least amount if health issues, but there are no guarantees...just as there aren't when 2 people have a child.
Mama to Betty (now age 15)
Forever Mama to my angel boy Bailey,my heart,my love
2/14/95-2/14/10 and my other angel boy Tiny Tim,who taught me so much about loving a differently abled pug
"Rescuing Pugs & Pug Mixes in Northern California and Northern Nevada"
"You can lead a ho to culture but you can't make her think."
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Some people just feel that they're entitled to share their unwanted/unhelpful opinions. I've been lambasted by people because my three pugs are not fat. I've had a few pug owners say that they're too thin and I obviously need guidance from a vet on how to properly feed my pugs. In all truth, every vet we've ever seen (including ones at Virginia Tech's teaching hospital) have congratulated us on having some of the healthiest pugs they've ever seen.
And for the record, I'd tell that guys that not ALL brachiocephalic breed have compulsory breathing problems. None of my three have any breathing issues at all.
I would just ignore the guy! Move on and don't let it bother you. Ollie is obviously awesome and very much loved.
A bored man who has nothing better to do then to ruin someones day.. just ignore him and enjoy your Handsome man!!! He's a sweetie!
I can't believe someone wrote that... I have never understood how, in people's minds, mixes suddenly become healthier than pure-bred dogs. All they do is get the unhealthy genes from every line in their background. The genetic problems pugs and other purebreds have now is due to breeding practices that happened HUNDREDS (sometimes thousands?) of years ago. True, the Chinese who developed pugs probably bred them for looks rather than health and our pugs today suffer because of that.... but responsible breeders today breed the healthiest pugs they can find by taking those health concerns into account.
Ollie, you and your tongue are adorable... don't let anyone make you feel bad about it!
Emily and Ernie "Banks" Pug
Let's Go Cubbies
(Woof, Woof, Woofwoofwoof)
As they say accross the pond, Chris needs to "bugger off". Ollie is beautiful and if Chris is so pro-mutt why do I see mutts with their tongues hanging out. Sometimes older dogs tongues hang out because they've lost teeth. I've also seen some really badley bred humans. Who's fault is that? I'm all about responsible breeding. Neither of my pugs are "breed standard", which is one reason why they are both fixed. I love them just the same. People tell me it's too bad I can't breed them. I get tired of explaining why it is not.
Meredith, Libby & Mushu
Dis iz Bubbie (my reel name iz Arthur but Mommie luvs to call me her little Bubbie). We iz alike! My tongue sticks waay out all da time,cause it iz too big fer my little mouth an Iz got a lot of teef missing too. But my Mommie luvs me lots and wouldn't trade me in fer any other puggie. Iz bet yur mommie and daddy feel da same way.
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]Mom to pugs Romano and Momma Mia, and waiting at the Bridge my beautiful Golden, Meg, my heart pug Arthur (Bubbie), Miranda ,Winston,Frank and forever fosters Groucho, Cornelius and Gramps.