Been There, Done That

By Laura Nethken Published:

Our four-legged boys, Duke, who turns 11 years old next month, and his recent "roommate" Bo, who turns 11 months old next month, are just as rambunctious as ever. Maybe even more so.

Bo is getting longer all the time. I had somebody correct me on that. "You mean he's getting taller." No. He's not taller. He's still only about a foot off the floor. But he is a lot longer. Long enough now that when he stands up on his hind legs, he can check out everything on the kitchen counter. When he gets told to get down, he takes his feet off the edge of the counter and just kind of free-wheels it on his back legs. He's got some wicked balance.

But he will probably not get much taller. Duke will always tower over him and outweigh him by about 60 pounds. Duke is basically a mutt. We don't know what mixture he is other than probably Great Dane, Boxer and some kind of Lab. Bo is a perfect split of Beagle and Rottweiller. He's got perfect black and tan Rott markings and big, floppy Beagle ears. He's into everything, but too cute to punish to the full extent of the law.

I broke my finger about a month ago and had to wear an Ace Bandage over the splint. Bo, who has a thing for gloves, keeps trying to rip it off my hand and work it over like a chew toy. I keep trying to hide it from him, but it's tough since he seems to be attached to my hip lately.

We had some water issues at the house lately and every time I ran the washer, I had to bail bucket after bucket of water out of the shower. Bo tried pushing me out of the way so he could get a drink. This is one big area where Duke and Bo are completely opposites. Duke wants absolutely nothing to do with the shower. That particular area of the house means it's "baffie time" and he's the one who bails.

Duke hadn't had a bath in quite a while, so he was due. After he came in from outside smelling to high heaven with some questionable-looking smears all over his back, side, hip, head, etc., he was definitely due. I considered the idea that maybe he even thought he was due so he rolled in something icky in the yard to force my hand. But when I had to actually put a leash on him and drag him into the room before threatening him with bodily harm if he didn't get in the shower, I decided that's probably just something my head made up.

Good thing he didn't call my bluff on the bodily harm thing. He practically outweighs me. I have a hard enough time with Bo. He only weighs 25 pounds, but when I hook him up on the cable so he can run out some of that over-abundance of puppy energy, I know I have to dodge out of the way the minute the clasp takes hold. Otherwise, he'll knock me flat with the cable.

Poor Duke doesn't quite catch on as quick. All he knows is they're running along, side by side. Next thing you know, his back legs are no longer beneath him and he lands in a seated position, while Bo runs right on past him.

Getting wiped out in the yard doesn't deter Duke from continuing to mentor his little buddy. He taught him a couple of new tricks this past week, like the Dukie Peek. Before actually coming downstairs, Duke stops on the landing and peeks into the living room to see what's going on before he actually commits himself to anything. He gathers as much Intel as he can before making any hasty decisions.

Duke also recently taught Bo to open doors that have just been pulled shut and not latched. Like the bathroom door nearly every time I go in there. It shuts really hard, so I usually don't bother. I just let it swing shut behind me. And then it just swings right open as Bo sticks his nose right in there and pushes on through. That trick has served him well since he's forever getting shut in the utility room. I have no idea what the big fascination is with going in there anyway. The floor is perpetually wet from the shower drain leak, the dryer screams like it's in the grasp of an ax murderer and there's no heat in there. I can't seem to keep him out of there, but at least now he can get himself back out.

When Bo first came to live with us, he was relegated to sleeping in a cage. His parents call it a "crate." Whatever. I guess when he was only a couple months old, that was probably a good plan. He wasn't quite as big as my husband's foot back then. As I said, he's getting quite "long" now. And now he's sleeping like a big boy in Grandma and Grandpa's bed. Not because he got bigger, but because the heat source in the room with his cage has been removed to a different room. And the room with his parents in it also has a cat in it. That would mean no one is getting any sleep.

So, he stays in our room (with a little persuasion from the gate on the door). For the most part, he works on a chew stick for about 10 minutes and then it's lights out. Last night, he absolutely came unglued at about 3 in the morning. Our bedroom window looks out on the driveway, garage and back yard. When I woke up enough to register what was going on, Bo was barking for all he was worth at his Daddy's truck. When I took a look, I could see his point. In the dark, with the truck's orange parking lights all ablaze, it must have looked to Bo like the devil himself was right there in the driveway.

He might have a tiny little Beagle bark, but Duke's taught him the low guttural growl to go along with it. He carried on like that for at least a half hour after his Daddy left to go do some Black Friday shopping. There's definitely a Rottweiller in that little Beagle body.

Copyright 2012 Laura Nethken

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