Before I begin detailing the harrowing tale of how I — a simple homosexual from Upstate New York with a flair for karaoke and wool socks — came to meet H.R.H Doug The Pug, please open up a new tab on your browser and visit YouTube.com. Once there, please type: “Fantasia Barrino Wins American Idol” into the search bar and click on the video titled: “Fantasia’s Winning Moment.” Please watch the entire video. Cry if you must.
By no means am I attempting to imply my meeting Doug is equivalent to Fantasia winning American Idol, as Fantasia is a musical goddess with a cherry red Mercedes and Doug is a perfect loaf of Pug with no musical talent that I’m aware of. What I am attempting to imply, however, is that both of these events — nay, both of these euphoric instances of glory — are equal in how they have impacted who I currently am as a person and who I hope to become as a person. Also, Fantasia’s “I’m Here” Tony Awards performance is so great and you should watch that, too.
The story begins on a gloomy Tuesday afternoon a few months back. I was meandering the halls of my office when a friend posted a video on my Facebook wall of Doug The Pug wearing a meticulously decorated Harry Potter costume, claiming “this is you.” After watching the video multiple times, and then watching it again, and then sending it to my mother, I proceeded to run around my office showing my co-workers the glory that is Doug. One co-worker in particular, who for privacy’s sake we will call Beyonce, told me he went to college with Doug’s owner and has met him on a few occasions.
I immediately blacked out.
“I spilled water on myself as I jumped out of my chair in shock. Did it look like I peed myself? Sure. Did I care? No. Doug was here.”
After what could have been a year, I reclaimed cognition and began interrogating Beyonce about Doug. He told me Doug would be visiting the city soon and he would do what he could to get us in contact.
I blacked out again.
Fast-forward to Tuesday, May 26. I’m sitting at my desk casually eating raw, unsalted almonds, as they are better for your digestion than cashews and far better for your waistline than pretzels, and I see that Doug has uploaded a photo marking his unheralded visit to New York City. Now, this is no ordinary photo, as it was taken in Madison Square Park, which is a hop, skip, and about a two minute walk from my office building.
I blacked out aga — NO I’m kidding. I didn’t blackout this time. Although I did spill water on myself when I jumped out of my chair in shock. Did it look like I peed myself? Sure. Did I care? No. Doug was here, and I wasn’t going to miss seeing him. I proceeded to run down 12 flights of stairs as the elevators in my office building operate at a slower pace than getting a bill through Congress. Exhausted, I burst open the doors I probably wasn’t supposed to burst open and ran towards the park.
Here’s where things start to get dark. Madison Square Park is a relatively large, public space that tourists like to make use of. Also, the Shake Shack located in the park just re-opened so it was deliriously busy. How was I supposed to find Doug in this deluge of warm-blooded not-Pugs (read: people)? Defeated and broken, I began the trudge back to my office with my metaphorical tail between my literal legs.
Upon returning to my desk, I immediately posted a status on my Facebook detailing my unsuccessful attempt at meeting Doug. The feedback was comforting, but even the kindest of cyberwords (<- this I made up) weren’t enough to patch the wound that was the absence of Doug in my day.
“‘Who could this be?’ I thought to myself . I opened the message and it read: ‘Hey, this is Doug.'”
About an hour after my post went live, I received a notification on my Instagram from none other than Doug himself. You know when you’re watching a music video and things happen in slow motion? Like in the “All Hands On Deck” music video right after Tinashe does her first bit of choreography in the elevated storage units and the camera cuts to the break-dancer in the sand? Everything seemed to slow down to that exact frame-rate when I saw his comment. He told me he was sorry he missed meeting me and that he loved me.
Needless to say, I lost my mind and responded with as many words of love I could muster.
Later that evening, after the events of the day seemed to calm down, I busied myself with getting drunk with a friend from my hometown who recently graduated from medical school. The medical school bit is sort of unrelated to the story, but I’m so proud of her. Anyway, while imbibing, I received a text message from a number I did not recognize. “Who could this be?” I thought to myself as I finished the last of my french fries and whiskey. I opened the message and it read: “Hey, this is Doug.”
Now, I tend to scale towards the crazy, but I am very aware that Pugs cannot send text messages (or comment on Instagram photos for that matter). I needed to know if this was legit, and I knew just how to do it. Beyonce had previously told me he was good friends with Doug and his owner, so I thought if I sent through Beyonce’s real first name and this mystery number responded with Beyonce’s real last name it must be legitimate.
That is exactly what happened. I felt as amazing as Beyonce looked in the “Single Ladies” music video.
Oh, did I forget to mention Doug made a cameo in the “Single Ladies” music video? Because he sure did.
The mystery number verified Beyonce’s last name and claimed they went “way back,” and mentioned he would visit my company’s office the following day. We texted into the night and I was as giddy as a high school teacher whose least favorite student was finally busted by the principal for selling marijuana out of the janitor’s closet. I do not recall having any Pug dreams that night when I went to bed, but I’m sure I did.
“Okay, so, this is where things start to get shady.”
I woke up the next day feeling like a spring chicken who wasn’t aware of how close he was to slaughter. The day was mine for the taking, and I was to meet Doug before the sun would set that evening. I checked my phone and saw I had a text message from the mystery number. We conversed for a bit as I got ready for work and headed to my office. As I sat down at my desk, I received a message saying “On a scale of 1–10, do you think this is really Doug The Pug?”
Okay, so, this is where things start to get shady. No, obviously I did not think I was texting with Doug. He is a dog and poops where he pleases and does not know how to operate a phone. I thought I was speaking with his owner as the mystery number had validated Beyonce’s real last name. I responded with a solid 7, as I would have responded with an 8, but I am a Scorpio and have inherent trust issues so I went with a 7. Finally, feeling as though this whole thing had been a joke, I sent a message to Beyonce asking about his involvement.
This is an image of me as “real” Beyonce asking “pseudonym” Beyonce what the deal is. Notice the subtle shade in my eyes.
He knew not what I was talking about. Sure enough, a co-worker, who for the sake of privacy we will call Michelle, approached me and declared the whole thing was a prank. He was not aware I did not have his number saved and thought for sure I would have caught on to the farce far before things got to the point that they did. The main issue I had with Michelle’s logic was that he: A) knows how crazy I am about squishy-faced dogs, and B) knows damn well not to underestimate my commitment to whimsy.
So there I was. Exposed. Catfished. Dogfished. Alone. Forlorn. Gay. I asked Michelle if he had any idea that I had previously spoken to Beyonce about getting in contact with Doug’s real owner and he said “no.”
Sigh. The Fates are cruel.
Me succumbing to the cruelty.
After drowning my embarrassment and shame with an iced coffee, which unfortunately had a proof of 0, I reached out to Beyonce to explain the entire situation. He felt bad, I felt bad, Michelle felt bad, everyone felt bad.
You know who didn’t feel bad? Another co-worker, who for privacy’s sake we will call Kelly. Kelly, being the upstanding citizen and super tall man that he is, created a Change.org petition to help me meet Doug. This act of selfless generosity garnered a fair amount of attention online, and attention makes me feel great because I’m a thirsty bitch, so I started to feel better. Not thinking too much of the petition’s actual endgame, I left my office to indulge in a delicious lunch because eating helps numb feelings.
I lost my appetite on the way to lunch because of the day’s events.
I did, however, purchase a Diet Coke and drink it with a straw because they do that on the Real Housewives. Just as I’m taking a sip, I receive a message from Beyonce. “Where are you?” He says. “Are you by the office? I just spoke with Doug’s owner and she says we can meet Doug in Madison Square Park if you are free.”
I can’t say for sure if I broke the door while bolting out of my lunch spot, but I also didn’t care. I was about to meet Doug, and this hellish rollercoaster of Pug-related emotional turmoil was about to be at an end. I see Beyonce’s glistening visage waiting for me in the lobby of my building and together we made the pilgrimate to meet Doug.
He was as glorious as the sun, with each fold being more luxurious than the last. His owner was deeply kind and let me hold Doug like the precious baby that he is. He immediately fell asleep in my arms, and in that moment, we were infinite.
Originally published on Medium.com / Featured image via @JonGraz