Duke is not our first dog. We’ve had a big selection of hounds, terriers, and mutts of various backgrounds, sizes, ages. Somehow or other they have all fit in here because anyone or anything can fit in here, assuming they want to. For years, there has been great howling and yapping and barking in this house and that’s the way we seem to like it.

The thing we’ve never had, however, are truly obedient dogs. We don’t demand obedience, so we don’t get it. I wasn’t a very good disciplinarian as a mom, either. Discipline makes me feel guilty, as if to say — who am I to demand obedience? Who do I think I am anyway?

Garry is worse. Garry was born with a gene that says “whatever you tell me to do, I won’t do it.” It’s a special piece of DNA that screams “Oh yeah? Who’s gonna make me?” Even in the Marine Corps, when his drill instructor yelled at him, he laughed. It got him a lot of days scrubbing bathrooms with toothbrushes, but it’s in his blood. He cannot help himself. I cannot help him either. He’s a tough nut. People think he’s so easy-going … and he is … unless you get him mad. Then he isn’t. Easy-going.

Duke is the dog Garry deserves. Duke also has no grip on “Do what they tell you. Be a GOOD dog.” You stare at Duke and he stares back. You can see every inch of Duke screaming “Oh yeah? Who’s gonna make me?”

Certainly not Garry. They try to stare each other down, but Garry starts laughing long before he manages to get obedience … and anyway, I don’t think Duke can do it. It’s not in him. The other dogs, if they hear that “tone” in my voice will do what I say because they hear the “alpha” note — and figure they ought to behave, even if it’s just a few minutes.

Not Duke. Nope. Never. He doesn’t do “obey.” He would make a feral cat look like a well-trained pup.

Unless I’m holding a piece of chicken. Chicken is another level of training and if I actually needed Duke to behave, I would need a lot of chickens. Possibly a whole cow. Or an entire flock of sheep and maybe a school of shrimp. Do shrimp swim in a school or is that just fish?

Anyway, Duke is the dog Garry needed. He is the dog that will go eyeball-to-eyeball with Garry until they are both laughing themselves silly. Well, Garry does most of the laughing, but I swear Duke is grinning.

So we know why Garry wound up with Duke, but what did the two Scotties and I do to deserve him?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

20 thoughts on “THE DOG HE DESERVES”

      1. I think that it doesn’t help that a lot of people don’t take them seriously because they’re small, so they don’t train them like any other dog. I mean they have the same instincts as, say a Rottweiler, but it’s it so darn cute when a Chihuahua is trying to defend its territory? No, no it’s not, because when you don’t take them seriously, that’s when they get attitude. Poptart (I’m guessing) wasn’t treated well, for example he doesn’t like to be picked up, and while he likes to bury himself under a blanket, he doesn’t like it if we put a blanket over him. He (used to) snap and snarl if we do it. He’s calmed down a lot since we brought him home, but he’s still got issues.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Gibbs is also very anti blanket or towel. I think he wasn’t trained and he was wrapped in a blanket when they needed to handle him. He’s getting a little better, but it’s taking a long time. He was a kennel dog for almost 9 years, so he has a lot of unlearning to do. He is easily frightened, too.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. Okay, okay. You’ve nailed it. Ya got me. Somewhere over this land, at USMC basic training camps on Parris Island and Camp Pendledton, etc. DI’s past and present are laughing. Duke is payback for all the grief I gave the leathernecks. I gave as good as I got, Pilgrims. Never forget.

        Duke and the Duke — they wudda made a great team.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Mr. Swis bonded with our cat Nera. He was the only human that was allowed to touch her and she would often sit with him when he was on the computer, but she ignored everyone else. Animals often have a sixth sense with their chosen human

    Liked by 2 people

      1. He does! Right in the middle of being angry with him. Same as my old USMC DI’s in basic training. It’s payback, Marine Corps style. Saddle up, Duke’s got point on recon!


  2. Dogs and cats also have very long memories about kindnesses and abuse. My mother’s cocker spaniel would growl at anyone approaching her wearing a hat, or smelling of alcohol. Someone mistreated her badly, (who the hell would beat a cocker spaniel puppy) and she never forgot.

    Our latest cat dislikes enclosed spaces (cartons, bags, anything) that he can’t walk through. He refuses to approach anyone wearing heavy boots. Since he’s an underfoot rolly cat, I suspect he got kicked one time too many by being affectionately cute, by someone who just didn’t see him.

    Our only dog had a weird way of alerting us to weirdos. He loved them! One of our neighbors, when he got out of States’ prison, came to visit. He made my skin crawl. The dog bounded over to him, bark bark tail wagging, oh boy, oh boy I LIKE you…the good guys? He’d hide behind me and bark fiercely.

    I love that middle photo. Such an expression.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often wish I could see into their little minds. I have NO idea what happened to either Gibbs or Duke. Bonnie was ours from the beginning and she is a very normal, friendly dog, but the other two both have issues. Gibb’s terrified of blanket or towels and getting groomed. If you speak loudly to him, he cringes and drops to the floor. Duke isn’t afraid of anything but he’s very resentful of authority in ANY form.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. At a guess, I’d say Duke is the Alpha dog–in his own eyes, and you are not. He is the authority. However, he has met his equal in Garry, and that’s why they have those staring contests.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Judy, you are so right about dogs (and cats and most intelligent animals) with long memories about HU-mans. They can see into our souls regardless of external behavior. They see past phony smiles, etc.

      Duke has me sized up. he’ll do.

      Liked by 1 person

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