The first time I saw a picture of this little year-old guy was when Tristen sent a screenshot of a Craigslist ad to me. His previous owner had had him for about six months but was moving and couldn’t keep him, and we have talked about getting a dog for a long time. The only problem was that we didn’t like the idea of having one in an apartment.
Not that there’s anything wrong with having a dog in an apartment, but you had to worry all the more about accidents and it’s not as convenient to take them outside to pee and sometimes you just need more room.
Prior to the last year though, we’ve both had dogs and while we do have Magic, a cat isn’t a dog. I always figured we’d get a larger dog, but Tristen, as sort of a housewarming gift, contacted this dog’s owner and got him for me. She came by the day we were moving in, July 18. She was teary-eyed when she left and he was shy, especially with the cat.
Magic (who is and probably always will be bigger than Duke) welcomed him most of the first day or two by running across the room at the poor dog and either stopping just short of him or jumping over him. Once or twice he smacked Duke on the head in a drive-by. After a couple days though, they started playing a bit more and sometimes Duke would chase Magic.
Duke wasn’t his name at first. His previous owner told us his name when she got him was Gino, but she changed it to Vino. We thought about Tyrion, but then we decided to go Duke-themed. I wanted to go with Scheyer, Zoubek, Tyus or Justise (Duke national championship winners whose names I thought would make decent standalone names), but I got outvoted by Milly and Tristen. They liked just plain Duke, and while I could exercise a veto power, Duke it is and Duke it has remained.
Duke is a chihuahua and a little bit of something, I think, mainly because I think his ears are a little different; they’re a different shape and tend to lie down, only going up when he’s perking them up. Also I don’t think you see too many tan chihuahuas with a black mask.
He’s a really sweet boy. I think he prefers Tristen to me for now, but that’ll probably change as he spends every day with me. A good portion of his days right now are spent curled up in my lap. He’s very attentive though, always following around like a, well, a lost puppy. He’s been sleeping in his bed at the foot of the bed.
He’s a bit shy still, but he’s warming up pretty fast. He’s very good with Milly too. She was very surprised when I first brought her to the new place and found a cute little puppy waiting by the door. He doesn’t realize he can jump down off a chair or bed or couch yet. I’ve gotten to where I usually give him a little budge to make him do it just to show him that he can.
Duke is very well behaved. The only potty accidents we’ve had have been poops. For some reason Tristen has found them between the woods and the dining room while I’ve only found them in the living room. Either way though, that’s only happened a handful of times, and I’d much rather clean up poop than pee on a hardwood floor. Or any floor, really, unless it’s messy, and his have been pretty consistent.
And really, the potty accidents he’s had have been our fault in a way, as we’re still learning his habits. He’s very good about holding his pee and going once he’s outside, which is surprising for a chihuahua. What we’ve found is that he’ll usually poop first thing in the morning and maybe 30 to 60 minutes after he’s eaten. The after eating part is where we’ve messed up with him, but now that we know it I don’t think it’ll be much of an issue. The previous owner said he was kind of potty trained, which I took as meaning “not very” so I’ve been pleased so far.
We need to teach him some things. He hardly ever sits though, so that one might be a little tricky. He’s very good at listening when outside. I’ve taken him out without the leash a couple times just to see how he does and he still follows right along like normal, although I don’t know how he’d do with distractions.
He likes to go for walks. I try to walk the length of our road every day with him. That will help keep his claws short, which were very long when we got him. They still are because it’s hard to do more than one or two at a time. I think that’s why he looks like he’s prancing a lot of the time when he walks around. It’s funny to see.
I’m very pleased with Duke. He’s cute, sweet, seems to be pretty smart.
Of course, it’s hard for me to not compare him with Bruce. No offense to Danny, Zelda, Scruffy, Sue Ellen, Corona, any other dogs that went through my parents’ home when I lived there or Harvey, but I was more attached to Bruce than I ever was any other dog. Bruce’s heart gave out a couple years ago. But I need to remember that Duke is a different dog and not feel any guilt about “replacing” Bruce, because that’s not what it is.
I just read the post I linked to in that last paragraph and so now I’m feeling a little deflated when I was trying to write about a happy new part of the Dotsey world, so I’ll leave off saying that Duke has been a great addition to the family so far and I’m looking forward to growing closer and closer to him.