The Adventures of Duke the Wonder Dog
Being retired now I am fortunate to spend a lot of time with my best friend, Duke. I think he likes me because this morning I was taking a break from my activities and went out on the lawn to sit in one of our Adirondack wooden chairs down by the lake. Duke followed me down and when I sat down he decided he would like to sit with me. Not beside me but on me. He climbed up in my lap and with a little careful maneuvering managed to curl up in my lap like a kitten. He wanted to be close. Duke weighed in this week at 92 pounds at the vet !!! He’s definitely a lapful of hound. He has done the same thing with D. when she goes down to sit in one of the same chairs by the dock. If I’m on the computer he is underneath my chair. If we’re eating he’s under the table .We don’t feed him table scraps. He just needs to be close.
Duke and I recently discovered a wonderful trail in the woods that is his and my favorite. It follows a brook for about three miles through the woods. I let Duke off leash as soon as we are clear of the dirt road where we park. This place is Duke’s personal amusement park. He loves to splash in the brook and swim where the beavers have dammed it up. He drinks constantly from it so I don’t have to carry water for him. After he swims or splashes he comes out and it’s as if someone flips a switch on his back. His jet engines kick in and he races back and forth for all he’s worth. He will go about fifty feet up the trail and then stop and look back to see if I’m coming. If I delay he races back to find me. Sometimes I hide behind a tree and scare him. He never runs off and always comes if I call to him. We do this trail about 3 times a week and he is always excited to go back. I’m buying new snowshoes so that we can hike in the winter time as well.
Another favorite place is nearby that was turned over to a land trust that is run by the New Hampshire Fish & Game department. There are wonderful open fields and streams that many dog owners take advantage of to let their dogs run. It is a good distance from the highway and there again, Duke is put on leash until he is a safe distance away from it. Duke’s two favorite words are “Walk or Ride”. His ears perk up and the tail wags. His favorite snack is “Greenies”. He recently spent a week dog sitting his cousin Pudge, my daughter’s blind Beagle. They got along very well in spite of Duke’s size. They played very well together and Duke enjoyed the company. I had my hands full but that’s what retired dads are for.
Duke was in the top six of his class at his first “fundamentals” training . Yes, there were only six dogs in the class. He soon learned that the “click” meant good things would be coming his way and he did quite well. He had to be introduced to the “gentle leader”. He will be entering an “advanced fundamentals” soon. The one problem area that needs work is his excitement level when someone comes by or he meets up with other folks who have a dog. He forgets the clicker training and just goes wild. Hopefully, we can get him to settle down but he is only a year old so his excitement level is very strong. Other than that we wouldn’t change a thing about him. He’s young enough to have that devilish charm that we love and he’s just a loveable guy. Very clingy but that’s better than indifference. His energy level is unbelievable but that again is a good thing. We wanted an active dog and we certainly got our wish. He has lots of Kongs and other toys and will play long into the night if we will play with him. D. rolls around on the floor with him in the evenings and they spend quality time together.
Duke needs to work on his movements when we go kayaking. He likes to poke leaves or whatever in the water and has rolled us over once. Fortunately we were close to shore but there were witnesses who laughed hysterically.
Duke is well cared for, loved and has a great life at the lake. I think he wants to stay.