Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Murderer in our Midsts

I think Duncan might have serial killer tendencies.

He hasn't attempted to murder me or Skylar, to our knowledge. This is good, because I place my life in his paws every day. If Duncan suddenly wanted me dead, you all would be looking for a new place on the Internet to read subliminal messages about competitive PTA races by tomorrow morning. All he would have to do is put cyanide in my soup. And I know. I could decrease the likelihood of this happening by locking the cyanide closet in my house or taking him off of the cooking rotation, but I don't need to. Because Duncan doesn't seem interested in killing me.

He does seem interested in killing many other people, though. Mostly people on wheels.

We take Duncan for a walk every day to the college campus by my house. Duncan loves this activity more than any of you love your mothers. He loves it so much that if he hears us say the word "walk," he has to be sedated.

This is such a problem that we have developed a truly subconscious practice of spelling out the word if ever we have cause to say it. So subconscious, in fact, that two weeks ago I spelled it in a work meeting and then had to explain why I was spelling the word in a hushed voice like it was a swear.

The hushed voice is necessary because somehow Duncan has started to figure out the spelling.

I know. We sound crazy. But my dog is learning to spell. And he might be a murderer.

Skylar isn't always great at spelling the word. Twenty minutes ago he made two attempts, the first of which was "W-K-L no wait" and then after he thought through it for a moment he proceeded with his second attempt "W-K-A-L."

The point is I hope literacy is not important in the medical field.

And Duncan could possibly be a killer.

He started chasing down skateboarders earlier this year. He doesn't bark at them, usually because there is a toy in his mouth. He doesn't attempt to bite. He doesn't even growl, which actually makes the practice more disarming.

He just chases them until he can get in front and force them to jump off and into some bushes.

We always yell, "so sorry! He just started doing this and we don't know why!" even though it's been like eight months now and we probably should stop pretending to be shocked.

Fortunately Duncan is cute enough that he's able to get away with it (he and I have so much in common), so usually the skateboarder will then stop to pet him and throw the ball for him.

A few months ago he started developing the same habit for bikes, which was scarier.

We've gotten good enough at distracting him when we see a bike or skateboard coming. We've saved many lives through this practice.

But then today Duncan became a true villain.

It happened in slow motion. I was just coming off of the high of distracting him from chasing down a motorized scooter when a woman in a wheelchair turned the corner.

Does anyone know a lawyer?

Also, please enjoy a truly beautiful story today in Strangerville:

This time in Strangerville, people hate-crime Meg and Eli by taking bad photos of them. And a pregnant woman has a scare in an ice-cream shop.
Twenty-Eight Weeks, by Jenna Nelson
Music: Adventure, Darling by Gillicuddy
Production by Eli McCann & Meg Walter

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Oh mylanta, I’ve never related more to a sentence in my life. “Even though it’s been like eight months now and we probably should stop pretending to be shocked.”

  2. My great-grandmother owned a dog named Biter (pretty sure he didn't live up to it, though) who had a similar habit. One day he targeted a little girl on a bike. With the intent to save the sweet little girl from harassment, my GGM ran after him yelling, "Biter! Biter!" in an attempt to get his attention. The little girl began pedaling furiously to escape both the dog and the old woman egging him on to "Bite 'er!"

  3. Our dog also learned how to spell many words (walk, treat, etc.) We had to switch to spelling things backwards or saying the word in another language (pig latin, Spanish, etc.) But we had to keep mixing it up because she was super smart and would figure it out. Hopefully you can keep patiently working with Duncan to help him not get in front of people on wheels so he doesn't cause an accident. It's tough to overcome their doggie instincts to chase things, but you can do it with patience and consistent training.

  4. What a great Strangerville this week! Loved the story.

  5. "The point is I hope literacy is not important in the medical field."

    I literally had this exact thought the moment before I read this line . . .

  6. If people hop off their bike or skateboard or whatever and play with him, that's why he's doing it. That's the reward. Some dogs even purposefully get underfoot at home so owners will trip, then apologize and give snuggles, then it's just reinforced every time. You'll have to end the reward for the behavior.

  7. Yes, but does he wet the bed? Does he set fires?

  8. This story made me think of my baby’s premature arrival. It made me extremely grateful for our 6 day NICU stay. Thank you for sharing Jenna! Also, thank you Eli for the Lucille Bluth quote. I see you and I appreciate you. Speaking of seeing you, I need you to acquire and post the picture of Meg you cracked up over... at all costs. The internets need this picture.

  9. We also had to resort to spelling W-A-L-K for a previous dog but then she learned how to spell too. So we started referring to it as "you know" and she learned that too!! The poop! Haha

  10. We started referring to a walk as a ramble, or a saunter or a stroll or any other varied words we could think of to not say walk or spell it out. They pick up quickly on anything you say repeatedly right before heading out. Mine currently thinks that any time I put on socks and shoes that it means we're going out for a walk. I am often saying, "This does not mean what you think it means" to her.