A Pug’s Life

I mentioned in last week’s post that my sister and I have entered the Leeds Dog Jog, raising money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

On 21st July, we will be donning our MNDA t-shirts and strapping the dog up ready for a 5K run around Roundhay Park. Mum will be there, cheering us on, hopefully pleased to know that we do it for her.

However, we all know what the real point of interest is here – it’s the dog. It’s always the dog.

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Oscar is our ten year old pug, and he’s the baby of the family – a proper prince. We all dote on him because of his innate ability to make us smile. Whether it’s his cheeky grin, his little trot down by your feet, or his resoluteness in cuddling up to you whether you like it or not, he has such a pure heart, and he always brings us joy.

We adopted Oscar when he was a puppy, and I was just 13. Mum had a breakdown shortly beforehand, and struggled with depression for a long time. In fact, she only came off the antidepressants shortly after her diagnosis because of the risk of side effects alongside her MND medication.

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13 year old me, with our new puppy, Oscar

Oscar was like a beacon in my mum’s life at that time. Nothing melts your heart like a puppy – and certainly not this puppy. His desperate ambling on his tiny legs, his inability to stop running on our laminate floor and go skidding into his wall, his tiny little mouth trying to pick up a ball – he was so adorable.

He’s an old man now, with greying fur. He plays less often – although he still loves his tummy being tickled and playing with his lead. He still brings us all so much joy.

When Mum received the diagnosis, she spent three weeks in hospital. There were two main reasons she cried during those long weeks. Knowing she had MND was heartbreaking. So was being apart from her dog.

He missed her too. He became quiet, wanting to play less often and sleeping on his mummy’s pillows. These two have been inseparable for a decade – for us, there’s no double act anywhere near as iconic.

That’s why we’re thrilled to have found a fundraising activity that gets Oscar involved too.

5k is a long way for a little dog, and we’re hoping the July weather won’t be too extreme. Oscar struggles to breathe in the heat. Although I will be carrying a backpack of water for our little man, if the weather is too hot and he is at risk of having fits, then my sister and I will be making bigger fools of ourselves by pushing him in his pram. Who would want to see that?

We can’t wait for this fun, family day out, in support of a cause so, so dear to our hearts. We still have a long way to go to meet our fundraising target, so if you can spare as little as £1, please visit our JustGiving page – we appreciate any donation, large or small.

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Hannah and Oscar are raring to go!

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