Je m’appelle Higgins

I am called Higgins, as we say in French. But that doesn’t mean I come when I’m called. Madame has posted about this character trait here before. I can’t say whether it’s because I’m a purebred French bulldog, un bouledogue français, or just 100% French.

About the purebred part. I suppose it’s why she fell for me. She’s had a soft spot for Frenchies ever since she first came to France way before I was born. Something about big ears and brown eyes. But beyond that, we have a special connection.

Ever since she and Monsieur came to pick me up from my breeder’s place in Toulouse, back in 2012, she has fallen under my charm. I must say I was a handsome fellow even as a young pup. Although ma petite maman didn’t seem to be too sure about giving me up so young.

I got my good looks from her, don’t you think?

Anyhow, the thing about being a French bulldog is we belong to a group called called brachycephalic breeds. It means we have a skull with a short snout. There are quite a few of us: cats, from Persian to Burmese, and dogs, from boxers to pugs, lhasa apsos, chow chows and chihuahuas. While this gives us round eyes and flat faces reminiscent of the human, it also makes it a little difficult to breathe.

All my life I snored up a storm. Snorted and reverse sneezed. It got pretty loud at night and Madame ended up putting me downstairs in the laundry room.

Also, I’m no good in the heat.

This was one long, hot summer and by the end of it I was feeling sluggish. I could hardly walk around the block without panting for hours to catch my breath.

It’s not as if I could cool down with a dip in the pool. Me and deep water don’t get along. Thing is, I sink like a stone to the bottom before I even get a chance to try and swim. Happened this very summer. Madame threw the ball and I was so intent on chasing it I fell right into the deep end. The little lady sure has a set of lungs on her!  Dieu soit loué, Monsieur was home. He came running, dove right in and popped me up for air almost before I knew what hit me.

This is right where it happened.

Anyway, after all the heat this past summer they decided to take me to a specialist for BOAS surgery to help me breathe better.

As you can see I was a little nervous when we went in for our appointment, even though I made a new friend.

The vet was very nice. He trimmed a bit of my soft palate away to open up my airway. Then I got a nose job! How do you like these new nostrils?

This was taken in the car on the trip home a few weeks ago. I’ve been feeling pretty perky ever since. You could say the operation has given me a new lease on life. I’m sure giving my roommate Humphrey a run for his money. He’s a much better breather than me and pretty light on his feet despite his heart murmur.

A bit of a show off! Sorry for the pooch porn.

You see, that’s the thing with us purebreds. We’re prone to certain congenital problems thanks to all that breeding. So even if people go to a reputable breeder, we tend to be a bit of a crap-shoot healthwise.

Speaking of health, I guess I’m pretty lucky. That’s twice in one year I’ve been under the knife.

Guess it’s not only cats who have nine lives, eh?

Note from Madame:

Thanks for taking over the guest post, Higgins. You certainly are a survivor! But I must say, you boys are a lot of work. I would suggest that anyone who is thinking of adopting a French bulldog as a pet consider a rescue. There are so many sweet Frenchies out there who have been abandoned.

Here is a link for friends in France. http://www.rescueboule.com/

Do you have a story of a rescue dog? Higgins and I would love to hear it!

 

19 thoughts on “Je m’appelle Higgins

  1. I am not a big fan of dogs in general but I can recognize that they are cute and loving beast. The friends we visited in Figeac have adopted a dog that had been in a rescue shelter for more than 2 years. She is an Ariegeois breed who is afraid of her own shadow. As she has never been socialized and had never seen the outdoor she is really nervous. She is slowly getting better under the good care of our friends but it is along process and hopefully she will lead a normal life and be more outgoing soon. (Suzanne)

    1. I know how you feel — not everyone is a ‘dog’ person. Nice that you can appreciate their cuteness even without feeling it yourself! It can be hard with rescues as they are sometimes permanently scarred by previous experiences. But adoptive owners like your friends who take on dogs in shelters are true heroes in my opinion.

  2. Enchantée de faire votre connaissance, Higgins ! Although I prefer most brachycephalic breeds from a snot-safe distance, for Mr. Higgins I would make an exception. So glad to hear his operation was a success! Three cheers to a long, happy, healthy rest of his life. And since you asked: My husband and I had a wonderful dog, too. We were his sixth home and his last chance — and thank God we were able to get him over his fear aggression, because he became our best companion. We lost him to extreme old age 12 years ago but still talk about him almost every day. Ah, what sweet memories!

      1. Ah, Heide, what a heart-warming story! Higgins is at a snort-safe distance from the keyboard at the moment but I can see him puffing out his barrel chest in pride at your praise. As for you, Gill, how is Brontë doing after her surgery?

      2. My heart goes out to you, coteecampagne — it’s a tough road, but well worth the effort! Our dog was terrified of women with white hair, so we enlisted a couple of sympathetic and patient neighbors to walk past our house and gradually desensitize him by coming closer, talking with him, offering him treats, etc., until they could pet him. This process took about a year, and it wasn’t linear (there were quite a few discouraging relapses, I’m afraid). But the process not only got our dog used to white hair but also built up his trust in me and my husband. Through this time period we also went through standard obedience school twice to reinforce the fact that we were the “alphas.” I hope this helps … and I wish you all the best! (With apologies to MELewis for the unrelated comment …)

  3. Hi Higgins! We have a chihuahua crossed with everything and she has not trouble with breathing as her nose is just the right size. And very cute. Of course, you Monsieur, are very cute too. 🙂

    1. Ah, those Heinz-57 crosses often get all the best traits! I sure would love to meet her but there are a few oceans between us and I really don’t travel well… Merci, Meeks!

  4. Higgins has quite a command of English! A most impressive post. My wee dog was not a rescue and I can’t bear to tell the tale of our one and only rescue experience. It was a complete failure and I still feel awful about it. You and your pooches are a good fit, though. Nice to see.

    1. Well, our track record with other pets has not always been brilliant. We also had a failed rescue who ended up leaving teeth marks in the entire family before we sadly had him put down. The emotional commitment to our furry friends is not always easy but mostly worth it. Thanks, Susanne!

  5. Oh, Higgins is gorgeous. I’d love a dog, particularly a French bulldog, but cannot take on any more commitments right now. This summer must have been exhausting for him, as for so many others, so it’s great to see how this op has improved his quality of life

    1. Thanks, Posh. I can see how taking on a dog just makes no sense at all when we have too much on our plates. Hopefully a day will come when you have space to make it happen. 😍 As for Frenchies, they can be a lot of work but I do love them to bits. So glad we were able to get the operation — it really has been life-changing for Higgins!

  6. Our friends had English bulldogs – not my favourite dogs, but A & G loved them. Sadly Lola came to a nasty end when she ran onto what she thought was a solid surface, but was the cover of a swimming pool – she was trapped underneath and drowned. We were very sad.

    1. That is awful. We also lost one of our past Frenchies to a swimming pool. Apparently it happens more often than people realize, even with dogs that can swim as they tire and drown before being able to get out. 😢

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