Duke – The Best GSD Ever

DSC_0089I cannot reconcile myself of how to write this without sounding maudlin. Duke was the best German Shepherd Dog, and also the best dog period, um, ever.

Today is his birthday. And as much as that is so very important to me, it makes me sad because, even now, I still miss him so much. I want another German Shepherd Dog, but I go back and forth on the idea. There will never be another Duke, but the breed is so amazingly great. I guess, at some point in the future, I am just going to have to do it and promise the new GSD that I will not constantly compare him (always a him) to Duke. And do my best to keep that promise. Unfortunately, every dog we have had has always been compared to the Big Dog. I guess you just can not help it when you find your forever dog.

Yep, maudlin. Can not seem to help myself.

That said, here are some great stories about Duke and his totally goofy self.

We got Duke from a breeder in, of all places, Houma, Louisiana*. The breeder was a young guy that still lived with his mom and worked at the NOLA airport. Now, if you do not know the area, living in Houma and working at NOLA airport was better than living in NOLA and working at NOLA airport.  Houma was just closer. Either way, Jeff loved German Shepherd Dogs and we got a recommendation for him from here in town. He was just lovely and you could tell he cared about the dogs.

The litter was born on December 14, 2003 and we had to wait eight long weeks. We knew several dogs would be sold for confirmation, but there would be three males that would be available to be family dogs and that is what we wanted – a family dog. When we got there, after a very fun night in Houma … (see: Boudreau & Thibodeaus’s. A place we never would have gone without going to Houma. If you ever find yourself in Houma, just go, no really, just do it. There are many other little places in Louisiana we can suggest, but that is another post entirely.)

… [back to Duke] – we went on Saturday to see the pups. He wasn’t timid, but it took time for Duke to warm up. He was a black/tan which is what the MotH wanted and he was just so lovely. His mom, not so much. When she stood on her back legs, she was almost as tall as me. And she sure did not like having the Boy around. I thought about feeling bad for her, losing the pups and all, but then thought we might be doing Duke a favor. Rationalization, I know.

So we got him on a Saturday and drove home. The MotH held him, in a towel, all the way home from Houma. I was driving – through NOLA proper on I-10, not my best moments, especially since it was the MotH’s Jeep and I was not used to it.

There was this big bridge in NOLA on I-10 and I was not having a “happy” time driving on it, when I heard it: the little dog was puking on the towel. Poor thing. Poor MotH. Now, it’s funny, at the time, not so much. I also think we stopped at every rest stop on the way home, but he was only 8 weeks old.

*We heard this week that with the freaky winter weather that we had last week that Houma, Houma! of all places, got snow. Go figure.

More Duke stories to follow – and there are plenty of them.

The Battle of New Orleans

The Battle of New Orleans (on Chalmette Plantation) was the last major battle of the War of 1812 on January 8, 1815.* 200 hundred years now and a victory for Andrew Jackson (5,000 soldiers defeated 7,500 British). And it kinda, sorta, took place in New Orleans-ish, but, really it took place in a part of Louisiana that most people had never heard of until Hurricane Katrina – Chalmette, Louisiana. And maybe not then either really, unless you are from the North West Gulf Coast (FL, AL, MS, LA).

We know it because when the Man of the House went in for S&R (Search & Rescue) after Katrina (2005) –  they were the first S&R group into Chalmette. The area was devastated thanks to the Mr. Go – an example of all the things that go wrong when we, humans, try to control nature (read: stupid & not good).

Read this –  not all of our Independence happened in the New England area –

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/battle-new-orleans-birthed-american-democracy

And if you are really brave listen to Johnny Horton – The Battle of New Orleans (you tube it). It’s pretty silly, but you get the idea. I remember this from when I was young, but  I didn’t understand what it was about.

*I’m getting all Jane Austen on this – between Mansfield Park (May 1814) and Emma (December 1815).