Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pug Lovers Saying No to T-Shirts

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pug Lovers Saying No to T-Shirts

Article excerpt

Say No To Pugs," is the message around a picture of a sad- looking, black-faced pug. A diagonal line slashes through the circle that surrounds the dog's head.

This picture and message are on a T-shirt now being sold by Abercrombie & Fitch, the fun-loving retailer that recently attracted negative publicity for selling a T-shirt with this message: "It's All Relative in West Virginia."

Both shirts can be found under the "humor" section on the A&F Web site.

Pug lovers are not amused, and more than 2,000 of them have vented their outrage on an Internet petition www.petitiononline.com/ mod_perl/signed.c gi?pugs&1. They say they are boycotting the trendy store.

"Say no to over-priced, crappy clothes," said petitioner number 2,064, Kate Harvey.

"Down with pug racism," said number 2,022, Dustin F.

So what's the problem? Do pug lovers lack a sense of humor?

I owned a pug for 17 years, and my feeling is you need a sense of humor to own one, which is why I named my pug Twerp.

A pug, in profile, has no apparent nose. The well-bred pug has a really flat face with a little black button nose centered just below big, bulging eyes. So when you take a pug for a walk you get comments like this:

"What happened to that dog? Has it been chasing parked cars?"

"Yew! That dog is plug ugly!"

"Why's it snorting like that?"

"What the heck is that?!?"

Twerp was born in 1977, when many people had apparently never seen a pug. Some insisted she was a bulldog or pit bull puppy.

I thought that pugs were so cute, so funny, so charming and so easy to keep, I couldn't imagine why there weren't more of them around. At 14-18 pounds, they are classified as a "toy" breed, but they aren't fragile, like some "toy" dogs.

Then along came the "Milo and Otis" movie in the early 1990s, followed by the "Men In Black" movies a bit later.

Pugs ruled in those movies, everyone wanted one, pugs soared in popularity, and rescues and shelters were inundated with pugs whose owners didn't want them anymore.

I was alerted to the A&F pug shirt by Paul Kovach, of Pittsburgh. He loves pugs, owns multiple pugs and does a lot of volunteer work for the Guardian Angels Pug Rescue, including turning his Bloomfield home into a haven for foster dogs. …

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