After this I’ll stop (maybe) (probably not)

By Mir
November 25, 2013

The Great Doggie Integration Experiment of 2013 continues apace. Licorice continues to endure, while Duncan continues to try to figure out what in the world is happening. It turns out that his former owners weren’t kidding when they said he was “very food motivated,” so with liberal application of treats, we’re making good progress with him.

A fairly typical tableau.

Perhaps my favorite part of dog ownership is watching Otto interact with our furry children. He was… let’s say… a little lukewarm when we adopted Licorice, and again when we procured Duncan. This is just how Otto operates. I knew he would warm up, and having already seen him with Licorice, I knew it would happen even faster with Duncan. So last night when Otto was sitting in our oversized easy chair with his legs up on the ottoman and Duncan was acting like he wanted to jump up (but was having trouble getting enough traction on the wood floor to do so), I was not the least bit surprised to see Otto carefully maneuver the ottoman over to the rug so that Duncan could get purchase and leap. Then Otto gently steered the ottoman back over to the chair so that Duncan could join him.

I know Otto is supposed to be all tough and manly and everything (and he is), but that was kind of adorable.

Also, there is a distinct “Licorice voice” we all use, because we are crazy pet people. It’s sort of high and girly but also a little potty-mouthed on account of Licorice is kind of a cranky old broad. Licorice is known to say things like, “Where’s my kibble, bitches?” and “I can’t find my ball. It was here a minute ago,” when someone swipes it from her. There was never any dissent during the evolution of the Licorice voice, but Duncan’s voice is currently a bone of contention: The kids and I believe he sounds a lot like Droopy Dog from the old cartoons, whereas Otto believes that any dog called Duncan Donut is clearly a Bostonian.

So the kids and I will do a hangdog Duncan voice of something like, “Do you have any food? I love food.” But Otto will be over there going, “No no no! He doesn’t sound like that. Here’s what he says, ‘Ask not what kibble can do for you, but what you can do for kibble!'” (His JFK impersonation is a little creepy, I’m not going to lie.)

In other words, we are all easily entertained.

Duncan is now completely transitioned to Licorice’s Special Snowflake Of Grain-Free Specialness kibble, plus we’re doing steroids and anti-fungal meds to try to heal him up completely before going with a new daily regime to keep his skin clear. The thing about anti-fungals is that they work best if you do them internally AND externally, so he’s on a pill, plus I need to bathe him every few days with this medicated shampoo the vet gave me. Duncan is not a fan of this idea.

“Why do you hate me?”

And it’s not just an every-few-days-bath—oh no! that would be too easy!—but the medicine needs time to penetrate, so I have to put this poor little guy in the sink, suds him up, and then try to keep him there for, like, ten minutes. SUPER FUN. By the time we finished, he was soaked, I was soaked, the floor was soaked… you get the idea.

Licorice became very concerned when I walked off with Duncan for his bath, and then she all but pointed and did the “HAAAA HA!” Nelson-from-the-Simpsons laugh when she realized what was happening to him. Then she disappeared, which I assumed was because she was afraid that she was next.

I was wrong, though. After Duncan’s bath I took him into my bathroom and blow-dried him (he actually loved that, little weirdo), and when we came out, it was to a crime scene of epic proportions. Duncan came to us with a bag of toys, and we’ve put out just a few and guarded them carefully from Licorice’s destroyer tendencies. WELL. While Duncan was having his forced spa treatment, Licorice went and grabbed one of his stuffed toys and ripped it to shreds. Because NO ONE PUTS LICORICE IN THE CORNER.

(We cleaned up the carnage and Duncan didn’t really seem to notice. The next day I found an errant eyeball that we’d missed, though. Slightly disconcerting.)

For the most part, the dogs still aren’t interacting much. Duncan has tried to get Licorice to play with him a couple of times, and just last night we were tossing balls for them and they both lunged for the same ball and Licorice came back with it while Duncan nipped at her ears. Licorice tolerated this, so I thought it was a good first step, but then Duncan started barking at her and she started growling at him and Otto was all THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS and we had to separate them. It’s early, yet. They’ll figure it out.

And in the meantime, they are ever-so-slowly accepting that this is their life, now.

Portrait of confusion and resignation, respectively.


  1. Jean

    I thought we were the only ones who had a special “voice” for our dog who answers back in conversations. And ours definitely has a potty mouth too :)

    Duncan is absurdly cute but I do feel a little sorry for Licorice in that last picture…she is like “God, this is what I have to put up with now? Ugh….” :)

  2. Sheila

    If it makes you feel any better, we have a skin-condition rescue dog too. But he’s about 65 lbs so no sink baths for him! Luckily we have an outdoor shower at our current residence so we both just hang out on the patio during the magic shampoo waiting period. We’re moving next summer though and our new house doesn’t have a convenient-for-dog-baths shower. Boo! But on the plus side, now that he has healed up from the worst of it we just have the daily pill and should-be-more-often monthlyish baths.

  3. Diane

    I would have thought Duncan would sound like a Scott. Didn’t realize he was named after the donut shop (and now I’m hungry, darn it).

    If Otto can adjust, Licorice can. Though the sad eyes in the last picture are particularly eloquent.

  4. Susan Getgood

    Love the pupdates. Keep ’em coming.

    For the record I agree with Otto. The only appropriate imaginary voice for a dog named Duncan Donut is “R” challenged Bostonian.

  5. Average Jane

    I wish that I had known the ramifications of the one piece of information my dog’s previous owners passed along: “He likes treats.”

    It turned out that his liking of treats was the key to getting him reasonably well house trained, but we had a good solid year of trial and error before we figured out that consistently rewarding him for peeing outside was the way to go.

    • Mir

      I basically throw a ticker tape parade every time Duncan does his business outside. He clearly thinks I’m insane but it ends with a treat so he’s down with it.

  6. Average Jane

    Also, I recommend the shower for doggie medicated baths. Pros: The dog can’t get away and you get your shower in at the same time. Con: Awkwardly rinsing a slippery, soapy dog while you’re naked.

    • Mir

      I think your shower must have doors. All of ours have curtains, so it would be a lot easier for him to get away!

  7. diane

    Please do not stop the puppy updates because everything from the thought bubbles to the dog voices (and I totally get that, my cat Bastet talks like a female Cartman from Southpark) had me nearly peeing my pants laughing. :)

    • Aimee

      Diane, have you read the Amelia Peabody books? I read this and immediately though of little Ramses saying “de cat Bastet” and cracked up.

    • Genevieve

      Yes yes yes to this.

  8. Karen R

    My husband Did Not Like Cats. He resisted and resisted, but our daughters finally wore him down. He agreed to getting two kittens, as long as he wasn’t expected to do more than tolerate them. He came home from work after the rescue group had dropped off the kittens and went right to the bedroom for a rest before dinner. One of the kittens hopped up on the bed, walked down his body, and touched noses with him.

    That was it. He was a total goner. We now have five rescues and he adores every one.

    • Kelly

      Awww…what a great story! So sweet!

    • Jessica

      Hahahahahahaha!!! We brought home two rescue kitties to foster. I worked with the kids for a week before they got here, laying down the ground rules, prattling on about how our house was a stepping stone, how we were getting them ready for their forever homes, how we were doing a ‘good thing’…..the kids were fine. They were fine with it.

      I forgot to give the spiel to my husband, who fell completely in looooove with both of them. I was on the phone with the humane society, talking about neutering dates, and all of a sudden my husband was bellowing across the room “tell them we’re keeping them! Tell them they’re OURS!!”

      It’s the big ones that fall the hardest.

  9. Jenna

    Aww, Karen that’s adorable.

  10. js

    I agree with the Boston accent! Team Otto ;-). Also, in a not-at-all creepy internet stalker kind of way, I think we have the same sink faucet.

  11. Andrea

    “This is my life, now, (huge sigh, eyeroll)” I think that’s exactly what my cat was thinking all weekend. The dog got her inside privileges back thanks to freezing temps, you see.

  12. RL Julia

    Nice to know that other people’s pets have a hard time transitioning to being in a TWO animal household. I have a similar photo for our two cats -expression-wise -as yours of Duncan and Licorice. Hilarious.

  13. Aimee

    I am really not sure I want to know what this says about me, but I think that a dog named Duncan Donut needs to sound less like a Kennedy and more like the guys from Good Will Hunting. You could have Otto record a Southie accent and put him a tracksuit for Halloween.

    • Chris

      And you are now personally responsible for the fact that my coworkers think I am a giggling loon!

    • Meri

      They’re from Cambridge, not Southie! Totally different.

  14. Jabberwocky

    We got a kitten almost two months ago. Our dog is still doing the “Why are you doing this to MEEEEEEEEEE???!” face.

  15. Chuck

    As long as you didn’t find the fake eyeball floating in your pool, you should be OK (Breaking Bad reference.)

    Glad the doggies are starting to get used to each other.

  16. Krystal

    My father-in-law was like Otto when we got our rescue kitties. “We don’t need no stinking cats.” Now cat number two sleeps with him.

  17. Brigitte

    I could so picture Licorice laughing at Duncan a-la-Nelson, too funny!

  18. Angela

    Yeeeessss, more doggie stories!! We have a 9 year old poodle, and recently had a baby. Turns out that the poodle voice and the baby voice is the same! The dog is very confused when we’re talking to the baby and not showering her with her normal amount of affection, but she’s getting used to it. Now she’s decided the baby tastes yummy and can’t hardly stop licking him. She just doesn’t know what she’s in for when he starts crawling!

  19. Karen

    lol.. I just love this. L’s expression in that last photo.. priceless.

  20. Ali

    Growing up, we had a cat named Max that lived 17 years. Dad and Max were always at an impasse especially as Dad always called him “that damn cat”. Around year 14 though, Mom and I overheard Dad sweet-talking Max (“hey, old man. You like your ears rubbed? Good boy,” etc) before he let him outside, not realizing Mom and I could hear him from upstairs.When we called him out on it, he tried to flip it…”well somebody’s got to pay him attention. You kids are too busy with boys”

    Your Otto story reminded me of it. Guess I’m going to call my dad and remind him that he isn’t so hard-hearted again.

  21. Melissa

    We have a works-well-for-us method for washing our “Little Prince” – a 14 pound bundle of happy shih-tzu hairiness. Put a short single-step-stool (the less than $10 dollar plastic rubbermaid version works really well) in the tub to sit on – naked or a bathing suit works best, since you WILL end up soaked. Bring a rolling office chair into the bathroom and right up to the edge of the tub for the other person so they don’t have to kneel for 20 minutes. The person in the chair can hold/soothe/baby-talk the dog while the person in the tub does the actual soaping and rinsing with both hands. You get just as soaked, but it saves you from having to dry off your counters and floors. If yours hate baths the way Gizmo does, you will want the person with the most upper-arm strength to be in the chair because given half a second he will climb right out and shake shampoo everywhere.

  22. kellyg

    Our old lady cat is still giving me the Danny Glover stink eye 5 months after bringing home a dog and then a kitten. At 14, Zelda is “just too old for this shit”.

    I find that it’s not that I talk as the animals in a funny voice (except for Zelda) but that I talk *to* them in a funny voice. For some reason, I need to talk to the aforementioned kitten like Dexter, from Dexter’s Lab.

  23. Jo

    C’mon, Licorice is caving in… just look at the last picture.
    It’s obvious. Detante has been reached — their tails are touching!!!

  24. Lindsey

    Haha cute story! I’m like you with over the top spoiling and the dumb kiddie voice. I resisted getting my dogs at first but couldn’t help myself and fell in love right away. I love the bath pic too…Reminds me of mine with the look they give when I say “Ready for a bassie?” They all have what we call here ‘bath tub face’ lol….Keep the doggie stories coming!

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