Lifestyle & Human Interest

Lonely Pug Learns To Snuggle with Dummy When Dad Is Away from Home


Marc and Kristen Peralta run “Vintage Pet Rescue,” where they take in aged, unwanted dogs and furniture and give them both new life. According to their website, the husband and wife team met through their mutual love of dogs and rescue, and their story began in 2013 when they crossed paths at a shelter.

They have a full house of rescued dogs, who are all elderly and living out the rest of their lives in peace with the Peraltas. In the future, the couple hopes to start an adoption program, but for now the pups are here to stay.

The pack includes a pug named “Shorty,” who has been a major part of Marc’s life for over a decade.

“Shorty, also known as Angel Dog, has been with us the longest and holds a very special place in our hearts,” his “About” page reads. “At 14 years old, Shorty is one of our oldest residents and he is definitely a grumpy old man!”

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“Shorty and Marc have a very special relationship,” Kristen said during an interview with The Dodo. “Marc calls Shorty his ‘angel dog.’ Shorty is just so happy when Marc is holding him.”

Shorty is now 15, and perhaps even grumpier — but there’s one thing he cant get enough of: cuddles. He’s so obsessed with cuddling his dad that the whole house has run into a problem when Marc is gone, as Shorty refuses to calm down until Marc gets home.

“He’s been having a lot of separation anxiety in his senior years and, unfortunately, Marc has to travel a good amount for work,” Kristen said. “Shorty will bark and cry when Marc is gone and nothing seems to calm him.”

“He won’t even settle when I am holding him now. He just wants his dad.”

Not going to work was not an option, so Kristen started trying out different potential solutions. Dogs are often comforted by the scent of their owner, which is why some people send an article of clothing with their dog when they board it.

Kristen tried “dressing” a pillow on one of Marc’s worn shirts, but Shorty didn’t buy it. So, she tried something a little more drastic. She acquired a Halloween dummy, dressed it in Marc’s clothes, and sat it on the couch.

Shorty accepted.

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“I put one of Marc’s already-worn shirts on it so it would have his smell,” Kristen said. “I sat Shorty down on the lap, wrapped the arms around him, and he was asleep within half an hour.”

“He slept through the night wrapped in the dummy,” Kristen added. “It was truly remarkable.”

The dummy has been named “Farc,” for “fake Marc.” While the solution has made everyone in the house happy, it’s clear some of the other pups are also convinced by the likeness, and treat Farc like a real person.

Once Shorty took to Farc, Kristen realized how amusing and yet incredibly useful this solution could be to other owners of distressed pups, so she posted photos and the story to the Vintage Pet Rescue Facebook page.

“We have reached a new level of insanity here at the retirement home,” the post began. “Shorty gets very anxious whenever Marc is away. He barks and cries and just cannot calm down. My mom purchased a life size dummy that is currently dressed in Marc’s clothing.”

“Shorty has been calm for the last hour! Marc is a little upset that he is so easily replaced but I told him not to worry. The dummy is not nearly as handsome or as smart as he is.”

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