All About Duke


Several years ago, I hired a "Pet Therapist" aka "Doggie Shrink" 
to evaluate my first neurotic (but lovable) dog, Harlan.  
Although Duke is my second anxiety-ridden pet, the cycle will be broken one day as he is getting a little older, a little grayer, is walking a little slower and in need of a 'boost' to get into the back seat of my car now and then.
It was in 2000 when my Christmas gift from Mr. Something was a Gift Certificate for The Humane Society's Animal Shelter. He had thoughtfully anticipated Harlan's ultimate demise and knew that I would soon need another dog to love.

Our adoptee was a one-year old, eighty pound Shepherd/Lab mix, we unimaginatively named, Duke.

The animal shelter was somewhat traumatic. So many lonely dogs in need of someone to love them. Barking and panting with excitement as we approached their cages., it was painful knowing that many would soon die. It still is.

But back to Duke's story.

He was alone, sitting with his back toward us as we approached. As if on cue, he coquettishly looked over his shoulder with soulful, sad eyes. An understated but effective approach.

Who could resist? He would be ours.

It wasn't until the adoption papers were signed that we learned the real reason Duke was alone.  He did not play well with others and his temporary housing was "The Isolation Cage".

A few days following his uneventful introduction to our home and his new brother, Harlan, Duke pretty much kept to himself.  Harlan was clearly insignificant to him, It was all about Duke, and still is. His favorite pastime? Chewing. Anything. At all.

Providing our new family member with iced chew-rings, dog bones, rawhides and pigs ears to chew was futile.

The day he snagged our outdoor spa cover and ripped it to shreds did nothing to promote familial harmony but when he polished off  Mr Something's six-foot tall peach tree, well... let's just say that little faux-pas created a lifetime rift in the relationship between my husband and the newbie.

OK, so the chewing was somewhat obsessive and he was evidently self-absorbed but he was in a new environment and had just narrowly escaped death row. Who wouldn't be a little anxious?

Ten years have passed since Duke came into our lives. The chewing stopped about eight years ago and has been replaced by (ahem) 'breaking wind' - a lot. But, despite Duke's intrinsic faults, Mr. Something continues to teach him tricks, give him treats and take him for walks.

A good Dad.

Duke Spotswood
 January 1999 - June 12th, 2013

A sweet soul

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Heather said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Joan. I dread the day(s) when my pet friends leave me. You are in my thoughts.

joanyspot said...

Thank you Heather.