When I’m confronted with cleaning multiple pugs’ ears, I often miss one of my pre-pug dogs, a little mixed-breed named Lapsi (pronounced Lopsy). The reason for this will become clear in a moment.
Here’s Lapsi as a puppy.
Lapsi was a short-legged fuzz ball with a slightly curly, coarse and bristly coat. By the time she was an adult, her two-inch-long, grayish-blond hairs stuck out all over her body, making her look as though she’d sprayed her hair with a fixative without first brushing it – or that she’d stuck her snout in an electric socket and then used hair spray on it. Unfortunately, I have no good photos of Lapsi, for I had only disposable cameras in the pre-digital years that she graced our family – and I was a lousy photographer.
Here’s Lapsi as an adult.
Lapsi’s most remarkable characteristic was that she was consumed with the need to clean all the resident dogs’ ears (and we had up to 5 others, including foster dogs, in addition to Lapsi). Her obsession extended to the hygiene of the other holes in her canine friends’ heads: Along with their ears, she washed everyone’s eyes and nostrils at least once daily. She did this with her extremely agile and incredibly long tongue. I once saw her trying to extend her cleaning (and her tongue) into her best dog-friend’s mouth.
The friend, Tatiana or “Tat,” was the consequence of a late-night lustful assignation between a show-quality female Basset hound and a fence-jumping male Labrador retriever. She’d inherited the face and golden-brown coat of her Lab sire, or father, along with the short, crooked legs and drooping ears of her Basset dam, or mother. Actually, she looked like a Lab whose legs had been sawed off half-way. After meals, she also bore a remarkable resemblance to a very fully-stuffed sausage, elevated on top of four short stumps.
Tatiana, or Tat, the Grande Old Dame of the House
Tat, the Grande Old Dame of the house, stoutly refused Lapsi’s proffered service of a mouth cleaning – evidently she did not want to surrender any food crumbs that might still be there. Otherwise, Tat appreciated her little roommate’s cleaning services.
Given the opportunity, Lapsi would happily bathe the cranial orifices of humans as well as dogs. In unguarded moments, I briefly experienced Lapsi’s cleaning technique for the ears and nostrils. I definitely did not find the procedure as pleasurable as Tat did. In fact, I sought to avoid a repeat performance – ever. I had to be quite vigilant, though, for whenever Lapsi noticed anyone’s cranial cavities within her reach, she’d whip out her elongated oral appendage, faster than the eye could follow; and she’d be busily and deeply scrubbing away before her patient knew what was happening.
This canine ear-eye-and-nose cleaner masterfully worked her tongue like a wet, high-speed drill, reminiscent of the one in my dentist’s office – and I speak from experience with both tools. When Lapsi caught me off-guard and started scouring my ear, I feared she’d bore a hole all the way through my brain. The procedure tickled so much that I was practically helpless to stop her, and my efforts to dislodge her while I was weak with laughter only encouraged her to bore faster and farther. Lapsi also cheerfully tried to wash any available nostrils, canine or human, thereby providing the patient with the added sensations of gagging and suffocating.
From puppyhood through old age, Lapsi kept our other dogs’ ears so clean that they had no ear infections throughout the years she was with us. So, while I’m pouring ear cleaner into pugs’ ears, I often reminisce about how Lapsi did a better job of cleaning ears –and how she got a lot more pleasure from doing it than I ever have.
Some of Lapsi’s “patients” are shown below.