After looking under every piece of furniture, I had to be honest with him. The prized possession was nowhere to be found.
He didn’t take it well and tried to bite my face while I was looking under the ottoman one last time with a flashlight. Our puppy, Duke, who just turned one, is living his best life.
I know I’m a pushover but how can a dog make me feel so guilty? If he loses his bone, I’m searching for it. If he wants a treat, I’m getting him one. If he barks while I’m cooking dinner, he gets a taste, or two. This dog is running our lives, and we’re loving every minute of it.
When our 14-year-old dogs passed away nearly five years ago, we couldn’t bring ourselves to accepting another fur baby into our home, knowing full well if we get 10 years we’re lucky. It’s unfortunate our furry pet family members can’t follow the lifespan of a turtle, which can outlive all of us.
Working out of our home, Duke knows all he has to do is give me the sad eyes, whine a little, and I’m up and out of the chair looking for a new toy or treat for his enjoyment. It doesn’t help not to make eye contact, as if I think I’m too busy to adhere to his needs. He comes back into the office with an empty toilet paper roll or one of my shoes. Luckily he doesn’t tear up the shoes but he can do a shredding job, like nobody’s business, on the cardboard.
Every summer we get infested with some kind of insect throughout the ten acres, from ladybugs to mud daubers. They come in numbers we can’t control with spraying. All you can do is take cover. This year’s visitors are deer flies. Smaller than a horsefly but a tad bigger than a regular fly, they can pack a punch when they bite. Since they are attracted to light colors and things that move, both of which describe this 80-pound overly active yellow lab, he’s their prime target.
After sending my daughter (the in-house veterinarian) pictures every day of Duke’s swollen eyelid or nose, she suggested putting Vaseline on this area as the flies can only penetrate the face where there’s not much fur. Sure enough, the doctor was right, so he no longer looks like Rocky Balboa.
We are letting this dog break every rule we’ve ever made with our other pets, children or grandchildren, and we’re not sure why. Maybe because he’s so dang cute or we’re just too old, but he gets to do whatever he wants, from chewing his bone on the furniture to sniffing visitors’ private areas when they come in the house.
We had to put a stop to him drinking out of the toilet. For one, it grossed me out and for two, the grandkids thought Papa was having accidents.
It’s good to have a dog in the house again. Best co-worker I’ve ever had.
Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.