Loyal. Honest, usually. Faithful, for the most part. Ours … absolutely!
The temperature has dropped, but not the humidity. We have the best of all possible weather patterns: chilly, damp, and gray. Occasional rain and a really bad backache. But, on the positive side, the trees look great!
Today we are taking our most exceptional Scottish Terrier, the lovely and personable Bonnie Annie Laurie to the groomer to be returned to her loveliness. Right now, she has reached the bag-of-dirty-black-rags stage and she doesn’t smell great, either. Normally, we take both terriers at the same time, but I couldn’t afford both of them this month. So Bonnie is going this month and I will schedule Gibbs for next month.
If we are lucky, Duke won’t be a dog who needs much grooming. The occasional bath and brush will probably be sufficient for him.
Gibbs has less “coat” than Bonnie. His coat is harsher, less curly, much less bushy. Scottish Terriers are not supposed to be curly or bushy. Sometimes, I wonder if there’s a whiff of Cairn in her background. She a rescue from a puppy mill, so it’s more than possible.
Unfortunately, it’s mucky outside, so we will get her home from the groomer and back to her beloved mud.
So off we go. We’ll be back this afternoon, by dinner, if not earlier.
Duke the Dogge is one crazy-ass dog. We have two Scottish Terriers and they are exactly what you’d expect Scotties to be: stubborn, self-willed, dignified, and more than a little funny.
Duke is a mix of something Asian and something else. Everyone, including the vet, is fascinated with his potential DNA. It’s because he has that squishy Asian-dog face. Not the kind of face you find roaming the streets. You have to wonder what happened to create The Duke? Was it a chance backyard greeting that got out of hand? A back-seat love-in? Passion as one purebred met a wild and crazy mutt and now, there’s Duke?
Questions abound and unless my curiosity extends to DNA — around $75 last I checked — he will remain a mystery.
Taming him is a process. He is absolutely nothing like the Scotties. Dignity? Not exactly.
First of all, he talks back. Also, he talks forward. He just plain talks. He used to watch us as we ate and bark frantically on the false belief that this would result in snacks. A couple of trips to the local lock-up (crate) and he decided that wasn’t working. He next tried snatching food from our hands, almost always resulting in Garry or me getting nipped. A few more trips to the crate and he is now quite civilized about the whole thing.
He keeps barking. Finally, with a look of frustration and disgust, he gives up and slumps onto the floor. Huffing. I think maybe he wants to play. Either that, or Timmy is stuck in the well and we should go save him.
He doesn’t chew the furniture except for the corner of one table. Doesn’t chomp shoes. Doesn’t break anything except his own head as he slides into walls with the crack of his skull hitting the furniture. He is slightly obsessed with balls, but even more obsessed with stuffy toys. He wants to play all the time and has taken our “sleep, eat, sleep, and eat some more” Scotties and taught them to play.
They play “King of the Hill” and “tug of war” and “Battle to Save the World.” All of which involves huge amounts of snarling, growling, yapping, tugging … but not bloodshed or even a pulled-out tuft of hair. From the sounds of battle, you’d swear there will be carnage, but nope. No carnage. Mutilated stuffies and sodden tennis balls … and the occasional sound of Duke sliding full tilt into the front of the TV cabinet.
He is also an impressive jumper. We have gates. They aren’t tiny little gates, either. We’ve had big dogs, little dogs, and medium dogs. Now, we have Leaping Dog. He flies over the gates as if they were not there.
We do not sleep with the dogs. I have more than enough trouble sleeping without help … and the asthma is bad without more hair in the bed, so we say good night and the dogs — until Duke — snuggled into the sofa until we can be awakened and persuaded to open the vaults in which the doggy treats are stored.
Duke, however, is convinced that one day, I will take him to bed with us. I go into the hallway. He leaps the fence and follows me to the door. I gave up telling him to go back to the living room because he’ll jump the fence outward, then jump back in again. So, I pat him on the head and he curls up at the door.
I’ve considered getting him his own bed, but there is no reason he can’t sack out on a sofa like the other kids. Besides, if I put one more thing in the hallway, I will fall down and break my head.
Duke is slowly but surely taming down into a house pet. He is lively to the point of insane and has more energy in an hour than I have in half a year … or maybe a whole year … but I see it. He takes the biscuit and doesn’t take the tips of my fingers with it. After some unpleasantness from me, Garry, and Gibbs who does not like being nipped (and a full-size Scottish Terrier who is pissed may not move fast, but can be quite relentless), he has decided to wait his turn. Like the others.
He sits and looks out the window, plays in the yard, sometimes trying to drag something the size of a small tree in through the doggy door and occasionally succeeding.
Smart fellow. Smarter than the average dog and a pretty tough character, too.
He makes us crazy. He makes us laugh. He gets the Bonnie and Gibbs to run around and play. He has livened up us and the other dogs … and provided a layer of white hair on absolutely everything. He’s our boy.
Duke. The Dogge.
The big picture window in our living room is the central focus of the house. Not only does it give all of us a lovely panoramic view of the road and the woods, but it is a matter a pure fascination for all three dogs. They spend hours watching the world through that window.
Muzzles propped on the back of the sofa, they watch for all the important stuff — other dogs invading their territory. Trucks delivering stuff. UPS guys or anyone walking plus any number of wild creatures passing by from bunnies and squirrels, to coyotes. The canines are ready to race down the stairs, out their door, and tell the world of their latest discovery.
Complete this sentence: I want to learn more about …
How the menus work in my cameras. Every time I think I’ve nailed it, I discover yet another sub-menu to a sub-menu with a list of options that means absolutely nothing to me. Does anyone really use all these options? The explanations are meaningless, too. I’m always afraid I’m going to accidentally change something and the camera will never work again!
On a vacation what you would require in any place that you sleep?
A really comfortable bed. If the bed is sufficiently comfortable, I might never leave.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Camera equipment and dog toys. It keeps humans and furry folks happy.
Today we got four new squeaky toys which are, coincidentally, identical to their other, grungier toys. They were overjoyed. Thrilled. All three of them bounded around the house squeaking their toys until, finally, everything stopped squeaking. But for that two hours, they were the happiest dogs in the world.
Even a new camera doesn’t make me quite that happy.
What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.
My cardiologist inspired me to find someone who teaches Tai Chi. I need to get the body moving, even if slowly.
It turns out, someone in Northbridge gives classes. The price is right, too. I am coaxing Garry to come along. The stretching won’t hurt either of us and maybe we’ll meet other crotchety seniors with whom we can hang.
Duke is a disobedient dog. He is sweet, funny, and smarter than a lot of people I know, but he doesn’t like taking orders. Or coming when called. Or stopping if told to “cut it out.”
He’s working on it, though.
He can’t figure out how come I know he’s trying to knock down the dining room gate even though I can’t see him. He hasn’t yet realized I can hear him, even from another room.
He is learning. Not as fast as I would like, but not bad, either. He connects the “time out” with the event that caused it … and not every dog does. We’ll work it out.
I woke up this morning to the roll of thunder. Not one of those loud bangs that means it has struck nearby … or worse, struck the house. We have been hit by lightning three times to date, so I’m good with rolling thunder. It’s the violent crack the means we’ve been hit I worry about.
The dogs, on the other hand, are unhappy about any kind of thunder. Rolling or on target. They are also happier without rain. Something about the falling wet stuff puts their big black noses completely out of joint. Mind you, they are fine with cold, heat, and snow. Just not rain.
I needed to get the dogs out the door … and they weren’t going. I got one out, the next one came in. They ran in three directions at the same time and Duke went into a frenzy of fence leaping for no reason I could determine. And then, the clouds opened up and it really started to rain. Very hard.
We had a vet appointment for Duke that same afternoon. He needs a new rabies shot. I’m beginning to think tranquilizers wouldn’t be a bad choice either. I called the vet and agreed I’d call back at around 1:30 if the weather was still dicey.
The sun came out for about two minutes then promptly disappeared again leaving it as close to dark as it ever gets during the day. Another rumble of thunder. I called the number. I explained in detail why we could not make it today. The final point was that the only way we would get Duke into the car would be for Garry to carry and hoist him in — and Garry was not up to the lifting. So I asked for a new appointment.
“I think,” she said, “that you were trying to call your veterinarian.”
“This isn’t the vet?”
“No,” she said. “This is your doctor’s office.”
“Oh.” I thought about that for a minute. “It was nice of you to listen to the whole story.”
“No problem,” she said. “But you probably should call your vet.”
I called the vet. I double checked just to make sure it really was the vet this time. I made an appointment for next week. Same time. Same vet. Same place. Same dog.
I really appreciate that the manager at the doctor’s office listened to the entire spiel before suggesting I call the vet. It made my spiel to the vet much more efficient. Practice makes perfect.