The Miracle Pug

The story of Speedy Steve.

Alicia Rust
7 min readJan 21, 2019
Speedy Steve

Our son, at eleven years old, begged to have a pug. We already had a dog that he loved dearly, but for some reason he became obsessed with getting another…and it had to be a pug. He said he wanted a pug and wanted to name him Speedy Steve. He believed giving him an ironic name would be hilarious. Of course it would; most pugs you see are chubby, lazy, yet lovable, dogs.

We finally agreed our son could own a pug after we moved into our new home that we were about to close on. He was ecstatic. However, two weeks before we moved, Dad and son decided to go looking at pugs…just for fun. Yeah, right. I had no doubt they’d come home with one. That would mean two dogs and three humans in a tiny apartment for two more weeks.

Lo and behold! My clairvoyant powers were accurate.

Meet Speedy Steve:

Spring 2015

Just look at those faces!

My son would always scold anyone who referred to Speedy Steve as a dog. “He’s not a dog,” he’d say, “He’s a pug. There’s a difference.”

Shortly after relocating, Speedy Steve became very ill with kennel cough. We feared we’d lose him, but he’s a fighter and his vet is a miracle worker. He survived.

Once healthy and growing, we discover that his name Speedy Steve was not ironic. He is insanely speedy and always on the move. Capturing him on camera is a challenge. Even when standing “still” he quivers with constant excitement. Most photos looked like this:

He ran fast, played fast, ate fast.

As the holidays approached, we reserved a spot for him to be boarded at our veterinary clinic over Thanksgiving. We dropped him off and drove to San Antonio to celebrate with family. The festivities commenced, and all was good. As it goes, Thanksgiving night, we ate until overly full. Shortly after our meal, I noticed a phone message from the vet. He had left his personal number for us to call him back; my heartbeat accelerated. Nothing okay would cause a vet to phone on a national holiday. While speaking with the doc, he told me how they had noticed Speedy choking (most likely due to eating too fast). He said oxygen had been given and he seemed to be doing fine now.

The conversation didn’t seem to alarm me because it didn’t seem like anything had been terribly wrong. It wasn’t until we picked him up that I was told it had been bad…that he hadn’t been noticed right away and they had found him lifeless.

Not ever fully understanding the dire situation, we often joked about how our pug had died and come back to life. When he ate dinner from his slow feeder (yeah, right), we’d tell him, “Alright, Speedy, don’t die!” and we’d chuckle.

Another time, our pug came inside from the backyard and soon showed signs of an allergic reaction. His face became red and puffy and his breathing became extremely labored. My son was in tears. We rushed to an emergency veterinary hospital, and they were able to save him. The poor guy had looked like this…

August 2018

But after returning home, this picture was taken…

Speedy Steve

He was back to the normal Speedy Steve.

Again…often…we reminded Speedy Steve he wasn’t allowed to die.

This pug is my son’s entire world.

I’m not sure how to emphasize this enough. If you knew my son’s history (which would make this article 10x as long) you’d get it. Every day, he tells him how pretty he is. Every day, he tells him Happy Birthday (a birthday every day…why not). Nearly every day, he gives us Speedy Steve objectives, such as: hug him, tell him he’s pretty, compose a poem for him, and so on and so forth.

For Christmas this past year, finances were tight, so our son only had one gift from us under the tree. This is a blanket I ordered for him. Look at his face!

December 25, 2018

Then, the events of January 16, 2019, rocked my world in a bad way.

I decided to feed the dogs before my son returned home from school; we usually did it together (we currently have three dogs…strike that, two dogs and a pug). I knew my son had a rough day at school, and I wanted to help by taking care of this chore so he could relax when he returned home.

Then, Speedy Steve begins to choke.

I hurriedly grab him and perform the Heimlich maneuver. (During a CPR certification course, I had learned life-saving techniques for adults, babies, and dogs). I had successfully performed it on Speedy Steve previously, but it wasn’t working this time.

I then invert him and and attempt dislodgement. It’s not working, and I begin to panic. I can’t have my son come home to this. I crate the other two dogs, and I quickly insert my fingers into his mouth attempting to clear the blockage. Speedy vomits a bit, but he’s still not breathing. I continue with the Heimlich and inversion once again.

Now, though, he is limp. His tongue has lost color, and I can no longer feel a heartbeat. I cannot let my son walk into the house to find his beloved pug dead. As disgusted as I felt about it, I decide to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This moment…this moment is love for my son. I know that our pug will eat his own excrement from time to time, yet I’m willing to perform mouth-to-mouth. I hastily wipe some of the foamy vomit from his face, and move in. Sadly, it’s not working. I’m crying. If my son doesn’t think I did everything in my power to save Speedy Steve, he’d never forgive me.

I pick him up, grab my purse, and run to the car. With Speedy lying lifeless on my lap, I choose to drive to the emergency vet hospital. I know my son should be walking home from his bus stop already. I see him, roll down the window, and holler for him to quickly get in the car.

Now, we’re both panicking.

It had already been several minutes. The emergency vet is a twenty-minute drive away. I had no doubt that this was the end for Speedy Steve.

Shortly after my son was in the car, we finally heard faint wheezing. By the time we were halfway to the pet hospital, he was breathing once again, his color had returned. I was in disbelief. I chose now to pass the pet hospital and continue on to our regular vet.

We run in. All the employees know us, and we were immediately asked, “Did Speedy Steve have an appointment today?” She saw, though, that I looked frazzled. “What happened?”

I replied with, “Do you remember that time y’all had to resuscitate him?” We handed him over, and they rushed him back. My son and I sat down on the bench. After a few seconds I realized that I was covered in pug glitter (what we refer to as his shedding all over our clothes), I had on a ratty shirt and workout shorts, no bra, only socks covering my feet…and partly dried vomit on my right calf. Not a hot mess; just a mess.

Soon enough, we were called back, and Speedy Steve was returned to us. They had given him oxygen and a brief overall check. Minus a scratched trachea, he was okay. He was back to being as speedy as ever.

He’s Speedy Steve, the miracle pug.

My son feels it’s time to share his antics with the world. As of today, January 21, 2019, an Instagram account has been set up. Move over Doug the Pug; another pug is in town.

Please, humor my son by following Speedy Steve @SpeedySteveLives.

courtesy of Ft. Wort Star Telegram

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Alicia Rust

Writer. Lover of dark chocolate, coffee, tea, & being me. I’m an anxiety-ridden, chronic depression survivor...