There’s a field near our house where geese like to hang out and snack on leftover crops. He was enjoying watching the flock so much, the car behind me had to honk to get me rolling past the stop sign.

Duke, the dog, has consumed our lives. He’s a 90-pound, year-and-a-half-year-old puppy who thinks he’s our kid, through no fault of his own, as we treat him as though he is. 

Working from home, he’s rarely alone, and thinks he should be center stage anytime he’s awake, which, again, I realize is our fault, as we are basically at his beck and call for his every need. He sheds like nobody’s business and apparently we don’t care, as our welcome mat at the front door states, “welcome, we hope you like dog hair.”

Duke is fantastic with the grandkids and has tolerated being hung on, sat on, dressed like a princess and shot at like a pirate. The only problem is when the grandkids run, and then, it’s game on. They’ve all been knocked over a time or two from his wagging tail or clumsy legs.

We waited for nearly five years before getting another dog after our lab and retriever lived out their best lives and now we wish we would have adopted a dog sooner. There’s something to be said about having a pet, who loves you unconditionally, without any strings attached.

We’ve gone on so many walks he shows up in the office every hour to give me those pleading eyes to go outside (he does have a doggie door and can go out anytime he wants). With snow and ice on the ground it takes me so long to get my car harts, boots, hat and gloves on he sits and sighs as though he’s irritated it takes me so long to get ready.

I’ve started filling his bones and freezing them for a tasty treat (it’s ridiculous, I know, but he loves it so much) such as with sweet potatoes, yogurt and peanut butter. I’ve also been looking for dog biscuit recipes and every time the hubby goes to the hardware store he comes home with another treat of some kind. If we weren’t walking every hour the dog would be so fat he’d be waddling.

We talk constantly about how smart he is and are convinced he knows more than 50 words. We try and work around his naptime and plan our outings accordingly. We have become “those” people who are obsessed with their furry “kid.”

There’s only one problem with this whole scenario. A dogs’ lifespan isn’t nearly long enough and we know we’ll be lucky to have him as long as we had our other dogs – 14 years. It’s a bittersweet situation as a pet allows companionship without words, love without risk and loyalty like no human can ever offer.

Today, we’re proud parents as Duke finally “lifted his leg” on peed on the fence. Atta boy!

If we don’t get out of the house soon we’ll be buying clothes for the dog. We’re thinking maybe something along the lines of chaps and a cowboy hat, his name is Duke after all.

Poor dog.

Sandy Turner lives in the midwest.

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