An ode to my pug’s paws:
I haven’t met a dog fanatic who hasn’t expressed joy over their pet’s exquisite paws.
My pug’s paws are works of art. The black pads, all circular and button-like, get so rough I want to exfoliate my face with them. They feel like the old upholstery buttons on my parent’s scratchy couch.
Whenever we go for long walks, I’m grateful for the pug’s durable pads. They can endure sticks and stones and random sharp sidewalk debris. Honestly, the pug’s paws are better equipped for outdoor traversing than the shitty flip-flops I wear every day.
Sometimes he will get a thorn stuck between his pads, and rather than howl and whimper with his paw in the air, he will soldier on – 27 pounds of pug marching onward into the neighborhood with a limp so slight passing dogs barely notice he’s lost rhythm.
The paws themselves smell like corn chips. Many dog’s paws smell this way. I know it’s disgusting and you may think me vile for it, but I love to sniff the pug’s paws. Like a kid with a runny nose seeking out his favorite germ-drenched blanket, the pug’s paws fill me with a fuzzy warmth that coats my heart in cashmere and aids in the flow of serotonin.
And the fur! The fur looks like wood grain on a two-by-four leg of lumber cut from an ancient oak tree – so straight and so smooth when you pet with the grain, and so course and so stiff when you pet against the grain.
But it’s the pads that impress me most. It’s the pads that I envy when I look at my own fleshy feet.
When the pug and I camped across the country, he stepped on many a wicked thorn, nosed around in many a pricker bush, popped a squat on many unforgiving cacti, but no pointy plant was too sharp for his dime-sized paw pads.
His paws shatter toy breed stereotypes. They are as rugged and rigged for outdoor adventure as the paws on a Bernese Mountain Dog.
If it weren’t for my pug’s vacuum-sealed face, he’d have soared over sand dunes in Bandon Beach, Ore. with the ease of a heron.
If it weren’t for his asthmatic lungs, I’m certain he would have combed the The Rockies like a mountain lion hunting elk at dusk.
If not for his diesel engine pulmonary system, combusting externally in the North Carolina heat, I’m confident the pug’s muscled legs would have carried him up the Blue Ridge Mountains to the top of the Grove Park Inn, where together we would’ve sipped tea in high-backed Adirondack chairs facing the sunset.
And perhaps if his sausage roll body had been a little less eggplant-shaped, we’d have frolicked the Ozarks like Maria and Captain Von Trapp.
If the rest of him would keep up, my pug’s paws would outperform Firestone Tires.
PS. Photo of my courageous pug after he lumbered his way to the top of a red rock formation in Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs.
PPS. When the pug is not ascending sedimentary beds of sandstone, he slumbers on top of Joe’s head in a queen-sized bed in St. Petersburg, Fla.
PPPS. Note: I purposely did not mention the pug’s trifling dewclaw.