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. 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?

26 thoughts on “GARRY DESERVES THE DUKE, BUT WHAT ABOUT ME? – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. Who said that life is just?
    There you go….. We don’t (mostly) get what we deserve and often it’s ‘grace’ what comes to us – Who knows maybe Duke is ‘aying his debts to Garry 🙂


    • He is, as you probably discerned, a very SURPRISING dog. Not only doesn’t he do what you ask, but he does things you never imagined a dog would do. He’s very bright … and as Garry so well puts it, wacko.


    • I think we are perhaps overly involved in the concept of freedom, even when it might not be the perfect answer. I really believe that even if I totally disagree, freedom is our ultimate right. This works a lot less well with babies and dogs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d agree with you about Freedom being our Ultimate right. 🙂

        The trouble with it though is that it requires the freedom to be both equally ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – something with which dogs and babies are completely at ease with! 😉
        Again, the Catch is that while we who are free have the ‘right’ to be good or bad the consequences for being one are not equal to those of being the other. We are never freed from the consequences to the actions/thoughts we take or have.
        Putting it another way – we can never be freed of our responsibilities.


  2. Marilyn, what a great way to wake up on a Saturday morning when I’m worried about the state of the world! Garry and Duke, Duke and Garry, you and the Scotties wondering how you got Garry and Duke. It’s a wonderful piece. Thank you. Barclay thanks you too.


  3. I never required our dogs to be super obedient. The main thing I was fussy about when we lived in the suburbs was that they never cross a road without me. I didn’t care if they didn’t do the whole sit thing, waiting at the kerb until I said go was fine. I never cared about walking to heel. I’d rather have them slightly in front where I can see them anyway.
    David always let the pets do pretty much whatever they liked and as Cindy spent the majority of her days with him when I was working she is the least disciplined dog I’ve had but having said that she is not bad really. She does go down rubbish bins and steal food if she can get it, usually I just make sure that stuff is out of her reach. She gets off my bed when I tell her too and does not usually growl at Polly over food so I’m happy with that.


    • Obedient dogs require owners who care about obedience — which we mostly don’t. Duke could probably use some obedience training — it would be good for him to get a grip on the concept of “I am a DOG” — but he isn’t getting it from us because we just don’t DO that. Since he can jump the fences, I’ve been grateful he doesn’t attempt to go to the road. We don’t have a lot of traffic, but whatever we have is always going far too fast for the twisty, badly banked road.


  4. That last shot shows all the personality that makes him less than obedient. Ani isn’t obedient either. She can be… but only if she feels I am asking her to do the right thing. Most of the time, she has a better idea….
    I was no better disciplinarian with the boys either. 😉


    • I actually ARGUE with the Duke. I used to argue with Owen and he could out-argue me from before first grade. By the time he was through explaining matters to me, I had forgotten what I was trying to do. Or had long since recognized it wasn’t going to happen, so why keep fighting about it?

      Duke does what Duke thinks is the right thing. If I tell him to go out, he’ll go out. For about 3 seconds, turn around and come right back in. He went out, didn’t he? But he is also funny and cute and if he weighed another 20 pounds, he’d fix the world for us 😀


    • I swear he is also still growing. He’s past two years old, but I swear he’s bigger. Not fat, mind you, but his head is bigger and his back is broader. He is also taller.

      And he will go eyeball to eyeball with anyone. One tough little dog!

      Glad to know they swim in schools. I wondered if they weren’t in schools, what was a lot of shrimp all swimming together called? I used to have a book which covered this.


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