Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I have a dog named Damien. He's ferociously friendly. He's a mix between Rot and Blood Hound. He's super smart, and he's the most recent addition to our family of pets.

Ever since I was a little girl ours was the family who inherited other people's pets. From a Pitt Bull/ Lab Mix we got when I was 6, through another dog, three cats, yet ANOTHER dog and now Damien... Every single pet was given to us by a family who had to give them up for whatever reason.

Damien has got to be the most gentle, intelligent and just all around awesome dog we've ever had, though. He is super well trained (thanks to my friend who had him since he was a puppy), and he picks up on everything you say to him. He especially loves it when he gets to sink his teeth into a stuffed squeaky toy duck and you pull on the other end of it saying, "This isn't your duck. This is MY duck!" It's a tug of war he wins until you say, "Drop it." and he immediately lets go of his favorite toy. Even if you softly whisper the words, "Drop it" he will un-clench his jaw and let you take it from him with no argument whatsoever.

He's a big ol boy with a thick coat of fur. The poor lad nearly suffocates in the summer. When the heat is sweltering he will dash out, do his business and run back in to be in the air conditioning. Since the house is pretty much fully carpeted you'll then find him sprawled out on the kitchen floor or in the basement laying on cool concrete somewhere.

In the winter, however, he loves being outside. The cool air feels good to him, and he will stand out in the back yard, lift his blood hound sniffer in the air and take it all in. There's a diner right down the road from us and he always points in that direction as if to say, "Over there they have bacon."

Having an intelligent dog can work against you sometimes. He plays the family members to get what he wants.

Today I was sitting here, writing for Nanowrimo, and I heard Damien come up from the basement. Soon after, my grandmother was following him and asking him if he needed to go outside. He reacted with excitement as she walked him to the door to let him out.

I continued writing and I heard her yell at him to come back in. Because he enjoys cold weather he takes his sweet ass time. As Grandma opens the door to yell at the dog, one of the cats, Harley, jumps down from the couch and heads towards the door. Harley is an escape artist and he's learned that we have to open the door to yell at Damien. He also knows that Grandma is the one most likely to accidentally let him slip out.

Now Grandma is yelling at Harley AND Damien. Finally the dog comes back in and makes his way to me. He doesn't care that I have a word quota for the day... he wants to play DUCK! I'm a sucker for a big dog playing duck, so I welcome the break and play with him for a little while.

Not soon after my step-father comes home. I'm still writing, but I hear him ask Damien if he has to go outside. Damien jumps at the opportunity, and it's not long before Terry, like Grandma, is yelling at him to come back in. When he comes back in, he nudges me with the duck and I throw it for him, but then get back to writing.

About another thirty minutes goes by and my mother returns home from work. What's the first thing she does? She lets Damien out, and then starts hollering at him to come back in after a minute or two. This is when I pipe up and say, "He's been let out three times in the past hour."

"Well since you sold him out, he's on his way with the duck."

Gah... the fucking duck! I've already played twice with him in the last hour! Nevertheless when he nudged me and looked at me with those blood hound eyes and that damn duck hanging out of his mouth I found myself playing with him once again.

What did I learn today? Today I learned my dog is smarter than the family who owns him.

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