Duke…A Prince Among Dogs

Right now I’m sitting on the sofa and all of the Taters are in the room with me.  Humans and dogs. Tater Daddy and I are watching Clean House:  Messiest Home in America.  (What with me taking a break from vacuuming and all, I’m just happy we’re not looking at our own home on display. BAHAHAHA!) Tater Tot is playing.  And all four Labrador Retrievers are snoozing.  One is in a chair, and three are on the sofa with me. Shedding, of course.  


What better time to introduce you to one of the four-legged Taters?  Let’s go with Duke since he’s already made an appearance in an earlier photo.  Before I begin, here’s a better picture than the one where he’s helping Tater Tot water the, um, flowers.

Duke is one of eight puppies that Pearl so graciously popped out here in the den three years ago next month.  Several of them arrived in the very chair where Duke posed for the above picture. And yes, it was as gross as you might imagine, but Pearl is Tater Daddy’s baby girl and if she had picked our bed as her birthing suite he’d have gladly handed it over.  (My word, y’all,  the man took a few days off from work after the puppies came.  You know, to take care of the new mother and all.  Tender hearted Tater Daddy.)


Duke’s registered name is Duke of Pearl.  That’s right.  As in …Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Pearl…. We couldn’t resist.  Duke was the chubbiest of all eight puppies.  He was the last one to open his eyes and the last one to walk.  However, we noticed that he was never one to miss a meal, and he could find one of his mama’s better milkers in a hurry. His eyes never turned darker than the greenish-amber they are now, and his nose is pink.  (By the way, according to AKC standards for Labs, those traits are considered genetic defects, so even if Duke had it in him to follow a simple command, he’ll never be able to compete for the title of Best in Show.  When we told him, he took it pretty hard.)


We decided to keep the other yellow male, and Duke was originally supposed to go home with one of Tater Daddy’s co-workers whose aging Lab needed some company.  Plus, there was a pool in the backyard. The guy had already decided that his name was going to be Cooper.  It was all set, and he had a pretty darn good life ahead of him.  


Of course, about two weeks before it was time for him to be picked up, I’d fallen in love with him and I didn’t want Cooper/Duke to leave.  The other six pups could go.  But the two yellows had “popped out” together and when all of the puppies would pass out and fall asleep in little piles of two or three or five, those two were next to each other. How could we separate them? I nearly drove my husband insane with the nonstop Do you think we should keep both yellows?/Having four Labs is ridiculous! debate…that I was having with myself.  (Hey, he had his little round of crazy when Pearl had the puppies.  It was my turn.)


Obviously, we were able to keep him. The guy stopped by my husband’s office and said that, as much as he hated to back out, it wasn’t going to work out like he thought.  (I didn’t want y’all to think that I had some sort of hissy fit.  Wouldn’t it have terrible if it’d come to that, though?)


I can’t imagine not having Duke around.  He is quite possibly the sweetest dog I’ve ever known.  He takes every bit of abuse Tater Tot has to offer — the ear pulls, the jowl pulls, and the tail pulls, the chasing, the screaming in his ears. We’ve never seen the first sign of a temper.  When he’s had enough he simply lumbers off.  There are plenty of places to sit in our house, and Tater Tot has his own little chair.  But where does he choose to plant his sweet little tush as often as possible? Why, on Duke, of course.

They like to see what’s going on out front, as they are both very curious about the world around them.


You can see Tater Tot’s little chair in the background.  But why sit in a chair when Duke is handy? This could NOT be comfortable for Duke, y’all, but he stayed there until Tater Tot got up.  Sweet, sweet, sweet, I’m telling you.  


At night, Duke rarely leaves the front rooms of the house.  During the day, he’s the first to alert us of any, and I mean ANY, activity outside the house.  He’s our number one watchdog, our top guard dog. Tater Daddy and I call him “The Bouncer,” because when someone comes to the door, Duke stays there at the door and barks until we’ve convinced him that he can step aside.  It’s kind of annoying, but he’s just doing his job.  He’s protecting us, although I suspect there’s one person he’s looking out for more than the rest.



In addition to all of the toddler tugs and pulls, Duke also gets the lion’s share of hugs, tummy rubs, and treats from Tater Tot’s plate.  We’re pretty sure that as Tater Tot grows out of his torturing phase, Duke’s rewards will only get better.  I think he’s in for the royal treatment, and goodness knows he deserves it.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Calista
    Aug 10, 2008 @ 19:47:33

    Gurl, he is so cute. I truly do love me some dogs. I’d have 50 of em of hubs would let me. We have a sheltie, and he is my step dog as hubs had him before I came along. Good bloggin’, can’t wait to hear more.


  2. Upside Brown
    Aug 10, 2008 @ 21:56:45

    Uh…ummm…. he does forgo his duty as House Bouncer when I stay the night. I’m hear to tell you, he can give Steve a run for his money when it comes to snoring…and snuggling… Duke of Pearl is royalty, ya’ll.


  3. tracey
    Aug 11, 2008 @ 13:53:55

    Love the picture where he’s ALL over him and the dog is totally unperturbed. Great family pet!


  4. Trackback: Are You Comfy, Your Highness? « Tater Tales
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