Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hunger Strike

Herminda has started this new thing where she bribes Duncan with treats she carries around in her pockets all day so now Duncan thinks all humans have treats in their pockets and he insists on sniffing the pockets of anyone who comes in the door.

This morning Herminda showed up around 8:00 and did the typical treat routine just as I was trying to feed Duncan his breakfast. I was calling him over to his food, but he wasn't listening to a word I was saying.

BACK IN MY DAY dogs ate all of their food the moment you poured it into a bowl.

Duncan hunger strikes for two days at a time. He will not eat the food. I try to get him interested in it, but his kibble consumption has to be on his own terms.

He hunger strikes when I'm not in the house. He has never, not once, ever, taken a bite of his food when I haven't been home.

And I periodically get worried about the hunger striking because he seems so skinny to me but that might just be because I'm comparing him to Mr. Chubby Pants.

Matt swears that the vet told him a couple of weeks ago that Mr. Pants is a healthy weight and that he's just "big furred." All I know is that Mr. Pants is currently nearly double the size of the Doodle.

I've tried not to worry too much about the hunger striking because despite eating no food ever, Duncan is still the most energetic creature on planet Earth.

He refuses to learn how to not pull on the leash and you can save all of your witch-dogtor advice about how I could better train him because I've tried it all and none of it works.

Duncan was born to pull a dog sled, and he cannot be talked out of this.

What this means is that when I take him on three- or five-mile runs on the leash, he is pulling me with all of his strength the entire time.

When I run off-leash with him, he literally probably quadruples the distance I run because he sprints far up ahead, turns around, sprints to me, turns around, sprints up ahead, etc.

AND THEN. After all of that pulling/quadrupling. THEN. We get home and he immediately. Without fail. Wants to spend the rest of the day playing Throw the Bone, which you might refer to as "fetch" at your house.

When the dog squad all gets together, each dog takes turns playing with Duncan while the others rest.

So it is truly a Christmas miracle that Duncan is able to be the way he is without eating any food ever. I believe he may be a Celestial Being.

This morning, as Herminda was feeding Duncan treats from her pockets, she noticed that I was trying to get Duncan to go eat his breakfast.

Herminda stood up straight, pointed at Duncan, and stared into his eyes.

Duncan quietly stared back at her with a level of concentration he has never deigned to waste on me.

And then, she started speaking Spanish to him.

Not Spanish like one might typically use to talk to a dog. Not slow and enunciated simple words.

It was like how Ricky Ricardo sounds when he comes home and finds out that Lucy brought a horse into the house.

Just rapid and long complex sentences that contained exactly zero sounds that were familiar to me.

The diatribe lasted 30 seconds, and when she was done, Duncan turned around, went to his food bowl, and started eating breakfast.

When Herminda noticed the look of shock on my face, she informed me, like I was an idiot for not already knowing: "Duncan speaka da Spanish."

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. This. Is. Amazing.

    Can I pay Duncan to tutor me in Spanish?

  2. *Of course* he does.

    Duncan is a constantly evolving mystery dog, and I love hearing about his quirks and personality traits! I would love to snuggle both him AND Pants. (Also, my own dog that I feel resembles Duncan a bit, and of whom I've shared pics with you in the past but the pics don't show what I see so I don't know if you agree with my assessment, is a very skinny puppy. He gets the most food at each meal because his sisters put on weight like whoah, and he does not. And his energy level is ridic. Even now at age 10. He takes longer naps, which is good because I'm now 44, and not 34 like I was when he came into our lives. But when he is given freedom? He's off like a shot! He's the "police dog" whenever there's a gathering of dogs, like at daycare, and a tussle breaks out. No matter if the dogs are just trying to have fun...Jake would like to shut that shiz doooowwwn. IMMEDIATELY. He attempts to do this through constant loud barking and running in circles around the action. It's really cute.* Anyway, he's a good weight, so we don't worry about the skinniness.)

    (*It's really not.)

  3. This explains so much and now I'm wondering if my puppy speaks Spanish as well and that's why she doesn't listen/heed a word we say.

  4. I'm a little disapointed you didnt think to try speakin a different language sooner, it seems like a reasonable solution, not all animals can speak english. A friend of mine once had a cat that spoke German... okay maybe he didn't speak German, but I was taking a class that summer and he didnt shun me when I tried communicating in German with him

  5. “witch-dogtor” Haaaaaaaa!!!!

  6. My dog teddy speaks English and Romanian. Spanish is next but first I have to teach my husband and kids...or maybe that will be mine and Teddy's secret language...

  7. My favorite Duncan and Herminda post ever!

  8. Under your definition of what constitutes a celestial being, I have two toddlers who qualify. I swear they can subsist on a raisin and a gust of wind for several days. Unfortunately, they don't speaka da Spanish. I've tried.

  9. I explained to my sister the other day that my children survive on “bird size portions of air”. They probably sneak Duncan bits of this under the table when I am not looking.

  10. Endless energy, demands a constant playmate, and doesn't eat food. Duncan is my 3 year old's spirit animal.

  11. I was coming here to comment on how he’s preparing you for children because my 3 year old also hunger strikes regularly yet still manages to run circles around me constantly. (He literally just runs in circles.) But apparently all the other parents have beaten me to this comment! Luckily my dog has calmed down as she has gotten older - she just turned 12 and she is happy to lay on the couch with me now! When she was younger she would just sit and stare and bark at me until I entertained or exercised her. In her defense, I have never taken her on any run nearly 5 miles long; not all of us can be Iron People!

  12. Duncan needs to meet my family dog Captain Irby. Irby turned 6 on March 4 and he loves to play chase. Other dogs do not enjoy chase because Irby does not seem to tire.

    Irby lives in Minnesota though so dog dates may be difficult. He did go to Utah last summer though.

  13. My dog is a great dane and the most common remark I get from people is wow your dog must eat alot. But he, like Duncan, does not like to eat. We think it has hindered his growth, the the average great dane is about 160 lbs. Moose is only 105 lbs. Since we adopted him 2 years ago we have been buying him this "Natures Domain" dog food from Costco because it's suppose to be healthy according to google ; ). I of course allow myself to eat as much junk food as I want, but not my dog :P . Last month we ran out of food and we weren't able to get to Costco to buy him more so my husband picked up one of those super cheap bags of dog food from Wal mart. Wouldn't you know, he loves it and would eat it none stop all day if we let him. Apparently dogs, like humans, enjoy junk food!