ESSAY: Punkin, the Wonder Dog

Three months ago, Jayebird and I acquired a new dog. We had lost our beloved, nearly-thirteen-year-old Golden Retriever Sophie and were heartbroken. My wife and I have had dogs for 45 years and I was ready for a little break. I called a moratorium on dogs for a year, but by month two I had capitulated. We had to have a furry friend in our family because life just isn’t complete without one.

And a happy wife means a happy life.

Jayebird set out to find a new friend. It was an arduous task. We wanted a little bitty female shelter dog that was cute and cuddly – and light enough for me to pick her up and toss her into the truck. The days of large dogs eating us out of house and home would be history. Not to mention that the larger the dog the dirtier the house. (They drag in half the yard with them!)

We finally heard from the Pagosa Humane Society regarding one of their K9 guests. They emailed us a picture. We took one look at this little fuzzy creature and fell hopelessly in love. At that time she was 14 months old which was very desirable: she was already housebroken!

We went out to the shelter to meet this diminutive princess and the picture hadn’t done her justice. She was perfect. She responded to us quite well and there was no doubt that we had to have her. Jayebird drove out to visit her everyday to get her acclimated, and she always seemed excited to see me. We decided to call her Punkin Duncan.

She was “fixed” and vaccinated and licensed. We gathered her up and took her to her new home. Soon she would take over the whole kingdom to reign as “Her Royal Highness, the Princess.” She slept with us, played with us, sat with us, drove with us, and seemingly chatted with us. But if she heard us mention subjects or people she didn’t quite like, she would give a little irritated growl.

Her breed is quite unusual indeed: a cross between a Flying Monkey and a Tasmanian Devil, and she weighs in at a mere seven (7) pounds. Actually she is mostly of Pomeranian descent, probably back to the royal family of the Kingdom of Pomerania on the Baltic. This is definitely why she absolutely will not tolerate any B.S. whatsoever!

Punkin has a bum eye that sort of wanders about trying to focus on something without success. And when she pops her fuzzy, pointed ears up and growls, one can readily see that she also has a little werewolf in her – either that or she’s demented. Most of the time she is incredibly affectionate to her parents. It did take a while for Punkin to get used to my brother Ross, which is strange, since both are descendants of werewolves.

One of her favorite pursuits in life is chasing after one of her many squeaky toys. This is no normal game of toss and fetch. No sir. This is a manic display of unbridled lunacy. She runs at top speed and utters that low, menacing growl when chasing down her ridiculous but lifelike “Froggy” toy. Sometimes she’ll rush the poor frog back to one of us but most often runs around the whole house like a deranged guinea pig on meth, her tail bouncing around on her rump looking like plumage on a goofy ostrich. Ears up, with a maniacal look on that determined face, fangs gripping Froggy by the leg, she darts around the furniture and finally squeezes under the side table and hides, but her tail gives her away. Sometimes the only thing protruding is her cute little nose and if you tap it, she’s off to the races like a flash at 100 mph. I’ve never laughed harder.

But lately Punkin has been a bit off. She often sulks, growls and cries a childlike whimper that’s heartrending to hear. She sometimes doesn’t eat at all and wants to go out in her play area a great deal of the time. We were starting to worry a bit and actually contemplated contacting a doggie psychologist.

And then I discovered something very weird:

The other night I got out of bed at 4:30am to go to the bathroom when I noticed that the TV was on in the living room. What the hell? I went in to turn it off when something blew my mind. There on the leather love seat was Punkin fixated on Morning Joe listing off a litany of Donald Trump’s shortcomings in very scary terms. Punkin was visibly upset about the news and when they flashed a photo of the President on the screen, she growled. When there was a commercial break, a depressed Punkin cried one of her sad little whimpers. I grabbed her up into my arms and comforted the little princess.

Isn’t it a shame… how our President is affecting our cherished little pets with his nonsense?


DC Duncan

DC has been a frustrated musician for over forty years, and now has decided to become a frustrated writer. Learn more at He’ll keep you posted.