Usually, Bonnie crashes at about 11 at night and won’t wake up short of being shaken awake until early morning. This has become normal, and for a few nights, I just didn’t bother to wake her for her late-night snack.

Last night, she woke up.

When late-night snack time came around, she was climbing up my leg to get to her snack. When she barked me awake at about four in the morning, I staggered up and gave her her snack. She was wide awake and downright perky. I wish I could say the same.

When she woke me again at about six by not merely barking at the bedroom door, but jumping up on it and trying to unhinge it, I staggered up — again — and passed along some very small goodies because they are getting a bit beefy again.

Left: Bonnie, Right: Gibbs

When at around seven, she apparently felt we’d had more than enough sleep, I poked Garry and said: “Do something. Otherwise, I may strangle Bonnie.”

He got up. I don’t know what he did, but she’s still wide awake and peppy. Well, not at the moment. It’s just after dinner which is crash time for all three of them. They have no interest in us until they think it might be snack-time again.

Resting … however briefly

It’s really nice to know that all that sleep has really perked up little Bonnie. Garry and I are dragging around like unwashed bags of laundry and she is dashing around the house. Maybe I should get up every couple of hours, shake her awake and bark in her ear?

You think she might get the point?

MYSTERY OF THE DUKE – Marilyn Armstrong

The Duke is one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever had. Not as smart as Tinker the Thinker. She was human in a dog suit. But maybe he is smarter in a different way.

Duke does what he pleases. He goes where he decides to go. He can jump all of our fences, break down doors and his desire to be our only dog has not diminished.

So the other day, Garry was outside, trying to get the hardened ice off the driveway and build a place to put the trash and recycling bins. He looked up into the window and there was the face of the Duke smiling down at him. From the window in my office.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

My office isn’t my office anymore. It has become the room where we put things that we use sometimes, but not all the time. The Christmas tree is in there all wrapped in plastic as are the two big wooden nutcrackers.

Red Finch atop Toad

The printer, router, and cable box, which the guy from Charter didn’t take with him. I think we need it anyway because it’s where we hook up the router. Which is how we send signals to the devices which use wi-fi. Computers, Kindles, iPads, and all that. Of course the two televisions. And an extra fold-up bed for a guest who might wander in from the cold.

The Duke was in that room. At the window. Smiling down at Garry.

Later that evening, in bed, Garry told me he’d seen the Duke peering out of the office window. I asked him if he’d closed the door to the office since Duke must have pushed the door open in to get to the window.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Garry said he hadn’t closed it because when he came in, the office door was closed. I said I hadn’t closed it either. In fact, had not been in that room at all that day.

So … who closed the door? The door has a standard round doorknob and opens inward, as do all the doors in the house. He could push it closed from in the room, but to close it? He would have to have pulled it closed from the hallway using the doorknob.


Doorknob? He doesn’t have hands. He has no thumbs.

So how did he close the door? Any explanation will do. I’ve known a few dogs who could close a gate, but never one who could close a door using a round doorknob.

Have you?



A couple of days ago, Duke decided he had to leap a badly broken fence. Why? So he could examine the oil input for the house? More likely because he is an incorrigible jumper and when he sees a fence he thinks he can leap, he just does it.

The top of this particular fence are jagged old wires and the whole piece needs replacement. If it ever stops snowing or raining or icing or whatever it’s doing at the moment, we will replace it. It’s a very short piece of fence and it isn’t even a matter of cost — just finding a day or two when some form of precipitation isn’t falling from the sky.

Duke came into the house limping and bleeding. Not bleeding buckets, mind you, but he had taken a piece out of his right rear foot. I cleaned it, slathered it with antibiotic ointment and finally, after a straight out wrestling match with Garry and I and bandages, managed to wrap it up.

We were exhausted. He was pissed off. He was staring at us, clearly of the opinion that if we wanted to make him feel better, all we had to do was … well … DO IT. And all the bandaging and cleansing? What was THAT all about?

He was seriously angry and hopped around the house periodically glowering at us. Unless we had a biscuit. He decided we were okay as long as we had something edible in our paws.

By yesterday, while his foot was swollen, it wasn’t warm and showed no signs of infection and by yesterday evening, he jumped up on the sofa and tossed us a ball. He wants us to throw his ball? That was also when he decided to try leaping another fence on three legs. Clearly a very bewildered dog.

We hid his balls — all we could find, anyway. We opened every gate it was safe to open so he wouldn’t keep trying to fly. We overfed him on treats because even though all this is his own doing, he clearly doesn’t see it that way. We are easy marks for guilt. By this morning, the swelling in the foot was gone and I’m pretty sure he could walk on it. He will let me hold the foot  too, so the pain must also be gone.  Why can’t I get rid of the feeling he only limps when he sees we are watching? That couldn’t be true … could it?

Maybe we are the bewildered ones? Tomorrow, if he is still looking pathetic, we will go and spend a lot of money at the vet to discover there’s nothing more to be done than we have already done. Guilt is a killer … and Duke won’t like the vet, either, but that’s what pathetic gets you.


Duke is a pest.

He’s also funny, smart, playful, and ready to run, romp, and generally make a mess of everything. He has two buttons. Asleep and runaround like mad throwing toys, barking, leaping, grabbing more toys, trying to get you to keep throwing toys. Followed by more running, barking, leaping and knocking things off shelves. Stuff is falling all around us and I’m not even sure where it was before it fell down.

Gibbs with The Duke

He is hilarious. He is also a pest because … he is a dog who fetches. Fetching dogs come in two varieties: the occasional fetcher and the obsessed fetcher. He is an obsessed fetcher. If you throw the ball once, you have started a game that will never end. I’m pretty sure this is a dog who, with the addition of a few tennis balls, will never care about anything else again.

Except food.

The nearness of any kind of food turns him into a vibrating wire. He is seriously hungry. All the time. I know it’s his youth, but we’ve had other dogs like this and they did not outgrow the food drive. Even when they were a whole lot bigger than they ought to be, they still wanted more food. More and more and more food. This little dog is food-driven and we are trying to keep at least this dog from becoming obese. Good luck to us!

He is a pest. He is also charming and fun and endearing. Right now he is outside growling and barking at … Gibbs maybe? Sticks and stones? He likes sticks and stones, too.