Dog ownership can be a pain: The Ballad of Quacko-Cuatro

It’s not the dog’s fault.

No matter what I say from this point on, rest assured, I know that the dog had nothing to do with anything. It was all my fault.

Or something like that.

Still, here I am, four days later, hobbling around, blaming my distinctive list to port (and subsequent waddle) on what I’m calling a D.R.I.

That’s Dog-Related-Injury. (Not that the dog had anything to do with it, mind you).

Pudge, also known as Pudge-The-Wonderdog, or Pudgie, or DawgFace, or Hey You (depending on my mood) is a fine pooch. He really is.

He also has me well trained.

Every day at 7 a.m. (at least until the sun starts rising earlier, at which point Eastern Pudgelight Savings Time kicks in, and we wake much earlier), DawgFace nudges me on the shoulder, whines a bit, and tells me it’s time for breakfast. After that, it’ll be time for a walk.

Ignoring him is useless. He’ll whine louder. He’ll jump on the bed and start tap-dancing on parts of me that would rather not be tap-danced upon. He’ll bark. And bark louder. And even louder still.

In the evening, the routine is repeated: As soon as I get home from work, he greets me at the door, leads me to his supper dish, and demands chow. Then we walk again. Most days, we walk again an hour after that. And on days when he’s particularly needy, he might bark for another trip around the neighborhood (or three).

But as he’s trained me, I have trained him back: I have taught Hey You (which is what I tend to call him when I’m getting frustrated with our endless laps around the ‘hood) that it’s fun to chase ducks.

Not real ducks, mind you. He’s a bird dog by breed, but my pooch has no interest in real, live birds.

But Quackers, the stuffed duck? He loves that little toy.

Pudge the Wonderdog (with CatFace, his loyal sidekick)

Actually (although Pudge may not know it) we’ve been through a few Quackerses over DawgFace-Hey You’s nine years on this earth. There’s only so much dog slobber a stuffed duck can stand before it gets … well … disturbingly yucky, and must be retired. (And by retired, I mean, burned, shredded or thrown in the garbage … don’t tell DawgFace).

Yes, Pudge loves his Quackers (which actually quacks if you … and by you I mean him … chew on it. Even though his beloved Quackers (unbeknownst to Pudge) is actually Quackers IV.

If you’re a football fan, you can call our latest duck Quacko-Cuatro.

All of which is a long, roundabout way to tell you that last week, while trying to avoid taking Pudge for his sixth walk around the block, I reached for Quacko-Cuatro, hoping that a few rounds of Chewy Chuck (our game of duck-fetch) would suffice.

Pudge was unimpressed.

So I upped the ante. I shook Quacko-Cuatro back and forth, furiously. “Chewy Chuck? Chewy Chuck?” I asked, in my best, high-pitched, talk-to-a-dog voice. Pudge nodded his head … slightly.

I obviously had to resort to the hard sell.

And sell, I did.

I began jogging down the hallway, toward the living room, waving Quacko-Cuatro like a fool, enticing my canine companion to chase.

Hey-You-Pudge-DawgFace chased. I laughed. I sped up. I looked over my shoulder.

And then, after hooking my left little toe on an immovable object in the cramped hallway, I began hopping around and howling like … well … like DawgFace himself.

Upon further review (as the NFL refs always say), I learned that my toe was sticking out at a funny angle. And that it was red. And, eventually, that it had swollen to nearly twice its normal size (picture the Mr. Peanut character without the top hat and cane, and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what I’m describing … as long as Mr. Peanut is lying down).

So here I am, several days later, still hobbling. Still waddling. Still sitting at my desk in stocking feet (sorry, co-workers), because I’ve learned that the reclining Mr. Peanut toe does not like shoes.

I’d like to be able to tell you it’s the dog’s fault.

Unfortunately, I’ve got nobody to blame but myself … and a dog-slobbery stuffed duck.



John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.