“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them.
Duchess was the German Shepherd puppy Dad brought home one day. She was all black except for the tan field on her chest and a tan dot above each eye. She must have been greatly abused, because she was not at all puppy-like.
She hid under the bench against the back of the house. I had to literally drag her from underneath to come out and eat, play, or whatever. Play took her a while to catch onto. Once she realized she was loved everything got better.
You might say Duchess was my first experience at parenting. We bonded more closely than she did with the rest of the family. Coming up with games to play was a real treat for us both!
RUN AROUND THE GARAGE – This one was much more interesting than it sounds. The garage sat very close to our neighbor’s fence. So close that it was hard to tell that someone could get through there. Once I showed her how to run all the way around, she had great fun chasing me and being chased.
Once I was chasing her and decided to trick her by turning around and running the other way. She would sometimes turn around if she didn’t hear me chasing her and would start looking around to see if I was keeping up. When she turned this time, I was nowhere in sight. I was able to shadow her as she kept going around, trying to find me. I finally jumped out to spook her, and she certainly gave a jump! She suddenly realized what I’d done and got the joke.
It was one of those moments when you realize dogs do indeed laugh and smile! She started chasing me and took her first opportunity to change direction on ME! She caught on fast!
THE LEASH – This wasn’t so much a game as me just teasing her, which she got a kick out of. She’d be relaxing on the floor, head down. I’d stand up and give her this sideways look. She’d smile in anticipation and get excited.
“Duchess? Would lie to, um…”
She’d stand up, start spinning in circles, pouncing in front of me, and barking.
“Well, you know. A…”
She’d get even more frantic. I could almost hear her talking.
“Say it! Say the word! SAAAY THE WOORD!!!”
With that word she zipped to the back door landing where her leash hung and just started dancing around in anticipation of yet another beloved walk.
THE FOOTSTOOL – As kids, one habit we had was using a big footstool or ottoman to watch TV. We’d kneel on the floor and lean with our elbows on the ottoman. When all three of us were watching TV, that was all the ottomans we had. Duchess, who wanted to be just like us, would literally push one of us off and sit there with her front legs resting on the ottoman. And watch TV.
GRANDMA – This has two entries. My grandmother lived right across the street from us. She had a degenerative bone disease that made one leg progressively shorter than the other. She walked with a cane and was a bit wobbly. The first time she came over to see Duchess, I stood right there with her in case Duchess would jump up on her, as she normally did with us.
Sure enough, she came bounding along, but she skidded to a stop right in front of grandma. She knew better just on instinct.
Grandma would often dog-sit her when we went on vacation for a week. She’d just stay at our house, since it had more room and a bigger yard for Duchess. One year we decided to head home a day early; arriving on Friday instead of Saturday. Grandma told us that Duchess had been a wreck all day, running to the front windows and looking out. Grandma tried to tell her that she was getting excited a day early, but Duchess knew better!
There are many more stories I could tell about Duchess, but these give you an idea what a great dog she was.
We were taught in grade school that animals don’t have souls. Only people. As much as we loved our pets, they aren’t going to heaven. According to Isaiah above, there will be animals in heaven. Martin Luther seemed to agree. So maybe Duchess will be part of the welcoming committee when I approach the Pearly Gates!
THE JEFF TALES – This is a new category I’ve added to my blog this week. “Duchess” is the first conscious installment. Some of my articles are a bit out there for some, and I honestly don’t like writing about those things all of the time. THE JEFF TALES is going to be my experimental foray into brining back memories from earlier years.
I’ve gone back through 2016 and added this category to all articles that have personal history and anecdotes, in case you’d like to search those out and learn a bit more about who you’re reading here!