If I’m an expert on anything, it’s Dusty T. Dog. After ten years — that’s right, ten years today! — of living with this guy, I think I have figured it out. Dusty is big, black, barky, and protective. A Labrador retriever mixed with Doberman, he’s a force to be reckoned with, but he’s a marshmallow inside, less likely to bite than your average Chihuahua.
Dusty was a rescue, a damaged little dog soul that had been kicked, beaten and pushed out of a car on the freeway. After professional training, and lots of love and attention from me and his dog friends, he has turned in into a dog that gets mail from the electric company complaining about his bark. Yes, his bark is scary. Walk into his house, with me here, and he will love you to death.
Dusty LOVES everything he learned in his six weeks of professional training. He does not pull on a leash; he doesn’t even need a leash. He loves to sit, stay, lie down but he doesn’t know any tricks. I think tricks are for dogs that are smaller — and more light-hearted — than Dusty is. Dusty has never played with a toy, but he did play with his Husky Moms and Bear cajoles him into playing with her.
He’s a complex creature, a fatalistic Eeyore kind of dog, with a heart of gold. He loves those he loves passionately and deeply and grieves their passing. In his life he’s lost all of his Siberian husky moms. I suspect he fears that he will lose more of his beloved dog friends. If I take his little sister/daughter, Bear, outside alone, without him, he waits at the open back door until she comes back.
10 is on the cusp of old age for a dog, and Dusty is beginning to have the bumps and lumps of old dogs of his breeds; he hasn’t slowed down, but sometimes I catch him looking into space with the sage expression of other dogs I’ve had into their old age. I love him a lot and I’m proud to have been his human for a whole ten years!