Goon, But Not Forgotten. Howie’s Roscoe Always at His Side

There’s a new Carr in town, and, no, I don’t mean Howie and the Mailroom Manager are back from Florida for the summer.

It’s Roscoe, the black pug from Ohio who made his entrance late Monday night.

I sat down with Howie ask him about his love of dogs and how Roscoe is adjusting to his new life.

Did your family have dogs when you were a kid?

We had these two poodles in Palm Beach, French poodles. They belonged to the family my mother worked for, and we kind of adopted them. I was six when I got them. Princess was a standard black French poodle and Frisky was a miniature black French poodle.

I really liked those dogs. We only had them the six months out of the year when we were in Florida. They gave Frisky to my father to take up to Portland for us to have. On the way back, he decided to get a good night’s sleep and was staying in North Carolina. Back in Florida, Princess went crazy howling, so they called my father up and said, “You have to bring Frisky back.”

That’s how I lost my chance at having Frisky 12 months out of the year.

Did you have any dogs at the same time you had your daughters?

I got a Shetland sheepdog, which is a miniature collie, named Stanley. I had him with my two older daughters. He lived 17 years. He was a good dog, too. Shetland sheepdogs, like poodles, are very smart.

He was very afraid of fireworks on the Fourth of July. When I lived in Somerville, he once jumped off the second-story balcony, but fortunately he landed on a bush. I woke up the next morning and heard barking. I said, “That sounds like Stanley, but how could he be downstairs?”

He was out in the front yard waiting for me to let him back in.

When did you get your first pug?

My daughter Tina, the youngest, decided she wanted a pug. We started looking around, assuming we would get a regular standard fawn pug, but we ran into this breeder in Andover who had black pugs. That’s when we decided to get a black pug.

Well, we decided to get one black pug, and we went up to check them out, and there was this other pug that was there. She was older, but she had a few problems with her eye or something and could never be shown. It was Christmas, and that dog came over and started sucking up to me, jumping on my lap, begging for attention. We put Christmas headgear on her – reindeer antlers, that kind of stuff. She was okay with that, unlike the other pugs.

I really liked that pug, so I said, “Why don’t we buy that dog, too?”

So we got two dogs. Pearl was the more expensive, younger dog. And also Gooner, who had been sucking up to me. She only cost one-third of what we paid for Pearl.

Howie’s first pugs, Pearl and Gooner

Gooner’s original name was Tee. The breeder gave all her pugs golf-related names. But it wasn’t a good fit, so she became Sweetie. Then it became Gooner, named by Charlotte.

Pearl died first. She was very overweight, but she lived to be 16. Gooner lasted until she/he was almost 18 and a half.

Wait—was Gooner a girl or boy?

(S)he was a transgender dog….

After the death of Gooner, at what point did you finally feel ready for another dog?

Actually I was ready right away or fairly soon anyway. The Mailroom Manager didn’t want to get another dog for a while because we had sold our house with a backyard in Wellesley. We don’t have as much space now. It’s always great to have a fenced-in yard for dogs. I was taking Roscoe for his first walk today, and I could tell he badly wanted to get off the leash. He’s seven-months-old and he’d never been on a leash until the last couple of days.

Were there important characteristics you looked for when choosing a new dog?

The ones with “imperfections” that can’t be show dogs are usually more available. Gooner looked fine to me. Roscoe looks fine to me.

It’s a question of these competition standards. They’re much higher than they need to be for the average dog owner, like me.

What do you love about pugs?

They were the original lap dogs, bred by the Chinese emperors to sit in someone’s lap. They just have the best dispositions, because that’s how they’ve been bred forever.

It was a capital offense to kill a pug. If there was starvation or a famine going on in China, if you killed one of the emperor’s pugs to get food for your family, you could be executed, and people were executed for that.

They’ve always been very popular dogs. They look different now—Dr. Matt has said this—if you look back at a picture of a pug from 100, 200 years ago, they look a lot different.

What is your favorite thing to do with your pugs?

I like to feed them. They love food. What dog doesn’t?

How did you choose the name Roscoe?

I just liked it. It seems like it’s a good dog name. It’s also the name of a gun. One of my listeners, Patrice from Arlington, told me, “Now you will always have a Roscoe by your side.”

How was Roscoe’s first evening in the Carr household?

He was pretty good. He was a little nervous, wouldn’t let us pick him up at first. But we finally grabbed him, and once he got settled in on the bed, he slept all night.

Will Roscoe tune in to the show from home while you’re broadcasting?

I’m sure he will. He’s already a big fan, I can tell.

What is your favorite movie that features dogs?

Old Yeller.

If you were a breed of dog, what breed would you be?

I would probably be a French poodle, because they’re smart and they get pampered.

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