After losing his sister, we worried Duke would have a hard time adjusting to being an “only dog.” We’ve discussed getting another puppy, but it’s just not something I can think about yet.

Duke has always been a demanding dog, even when Daisy was here. As a 9-month-old pup he makes handling a terrible-two toddler look like a breeze. He has it made and doesn’t even know it.

Working from home means someone is always here with him, and he takes full advantage of it. His internal clock and his non-stop barking remind us of feeding, walking and playing time. His high-maintenance attitude has become so demanding we started searching on Amazon for chew toys he couldn’t demolish in less than ten minutes.

We decided to give him some freedom and let him off the leash to wander the 10 acres. It was all going well until he discovered he could crawl under the deck, only to come out with mud caked on his belly. Needless to say this past weekend’s project was putting lattice around the bottom of the deck boards.

It’s taken some harsh conversations with Duke for him to understand he can’t bite us like he would his sister when it’s time to play. When he gets in trouble for biting, he looks sorry enough, until we’re walking away and he bites one of us on the backside.

We’ve discovered our parenting skills are lacking, maybe because we’re in the grandparent mode where everything is allowed and no one gets in trouble. The dog might as well be putting us in time-out because our everyday activities are being clouded by what Duke needs/wants/demands.

Apparently too many croutons/veggie straws/crackers are not great for a dog’s digestive system. Lesson learned. If I’m eating anything he believes I should be sharing and when I don’t, he disappears into another room and comes back with something he shouldn’t have and threatens to shred it if I don’t give up the snack. Yesterday he came into my office with a steak knife, handle out. Not a good choice.

If he wakes in the night everybody wakes up. He’s taken on the role of house protector and will bark excessively at a closed mini-blind, just for good measure. He sounds tough, but just let something make a noise behind him and he runs for safety like a scaredy cat.

Unless you’re a neurotic furry friend person it’s hard to understand the love you can have for a dog. They love you unconditionally and are excited for you to come home whether you’ve been gone for two minutes or two days. We are creating a monster dog, and we don’t care. No one has to answer to this dog but us, and, it appears we will do it willingly.

We did buy Duke “indestructible” toys on Amazon as well as a welcome mat that says, “Welcome, we hope you like dog hair.”

Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at