If It Answers To “Easter Basket” It Must Be Our Dog…Gina’s Favorites

If It Answers To “Easter Basket” It Must Be Our Dog…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

It’s nearly Easter, and at this time of year my thoughts turn to “Why doesn’t our dog know his name?”  So, I picked my If It Answers To “Easter Basket” It Must Be Our Dog post for Throwback Day this week.
Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites post!

If It Answers To “Easter Basket” It Must Be Our Dog

We have several dogs.  We love them all very, very much.

One of them is named Douglas.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If It Answers To “Easter Basket” It Must Be Our Dog...Gina's Favorites Pets DumbDouglas is an idiot.  I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Often when I am looking at Douglas I say to him, “It’s a good thing you’re pretty.”

He is pretty.  He’s a lab and saluki mix with shiny black fur that is soft like a rabbit’s.   His mouth always looks like it’s smiling.  He has a long tail with a dangling, silky fringe that that never gets tangled.  He’s lean and looks like he could run down a cheetah.  He really is a pretty dog.

He’s also pretty dumb.

Douglas joined our family when he was 9 months old.  His first family had named him “Douglas,” after the black train on the Thomas the Train TV show.  We opted not to change his name because we didn’t want to confuse him.  If we knew then what we know now, we would have just laughed and laughed and laughed at the idea of not confusing him.

Douglas, who is sweet and wonderful with children despite his enormous size, lives in a constant state of confusion.  I swear sometimes the other dogs are laughing at him.  I sometimes scold them for that.  Apparently, he isn’t the only confused member of our family.

It took nearly 2 years to teach him to “sit” on command.  It took nearly 4 years to get any kind of acknowledgment from him that when we holler “No!” we are not happy with what he is doing and he should stop.  Even still, sometimes all he does is pause.

He doesn’t wag his tail like normal dogs.  He has an asymmetrical pattern when he puts his tail into motion.  When he’s especially excited about something he does what we call “helicoptering,” which is when his tail just makes continuous, enormous circles.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If It Answers To “Easter Basket” It Must Be Our Dog...Gina's Favorites Pets DumbBut, it’s his seeming inability to understand what his name is that is the source of most of our head shaking and giggles.

For the first two years he lived with us we would call out, “Douglas!” to get his attention, and then, having received no acknowledgement whatsoever again, we would call out, “Trixie!” to get Douglas to come to us.  You might remember that Trixie was one of our other dogs who has, sadly, gone on to Dog Heaven now.  Douglas would see Trixie run up to us and he would follow her.  The funny thing is he would run up to us if we called out, “Trixie!” even when Trixie wasn’t home.

But, that was ok.  At least we knew how to get his attention.

And, he is very pretty.

Even though it usually receives no acknowledgement from him we consistently call Douglas “Douglas.”  We are ever hopeful that he will catch on.  But, at 15 years old he still hasn’t.

For almost 6 weeks this past spring he answered solely to the name “Easter Basket.”  Daughter#1 was in a conversation, and when she said, “Easter basket,” Douglas charged across the house, giant paws slipping and sliding, long legs flailing, right up to her.  We thought it was a coincidence.

It’s not unusual for Douglas to make a sudden mad dash through the house for no apparent reason.  We don’t even answer the door if he runs up and barks at it unless the other dogs do, too.  He has excellent hearing.  He even hears, and I think sees, invisible people.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If It Answers To “Easter Basket” It Must Be Our Dog...Gina's Favorites Pets DumbSo, scientifically minded people that we are, we tested “The Easter Basket Moniker” theory again later that day.   We had Son#3 sit on the sofa in the family room with no food nearby, as we wondered if Daughter#1 being in the food-centric breakfast room earlier had been the reason he had made his mad, well-timed dash.  Son#3 called out, “Easter Basket!”  Douglas came running.

I’m not sure if Douglas thought “Easter  Basket” was his name or if he had associated “Easter Basket” with candy and was hoping to get some (my dad also comes running at the phrase “Easter Basket.”  He loves him some candy!), but for whatever the reason, for the first time in his more than decade as a part of our family, we had a reliable way to call that dog to us.  Gotta admit it felt a little weird hollering it out at the dog park, though.

Since the end of his “Easter Basket” phase we’re back to calling him “Douglas,” while he is back to having no idea that we are talking to him.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday ‘Ole Easter Basket amazed me.

I called out, “Douglas!” and he tore through the house and ran right up next to me, looking at me expectedly.  I was so shocked that it took me a minute to remember I was calling him to see if he needed to go outside.  He went out.

Twice more over the next couple hours I called out “Douglas!” and he ran right up to me.  I was so excited that at nearly 15 years old he had finally learned his name.  Sometimes you lower your expectations for certain individuals.  I could hardly wait until my pack got home so I could show them.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If It Answers To “Easter Basket” It Must Be Our Dog...Gina's Favorites Pets DumbSo, they got home around dinner time, and I called out “Douglas!” to give him a chance to show off his new found brilliance.  No reaction.  I tried several more times.  I even tried with a Scottish accent.  No dice.  He didn’t even look at me until I walked over to him and petted his head.

Whatever iceberg had popped through the surface of that vast empty ocean that is his brain had sunk back down into the depths.

But, that’s ok.

And, luckily, he is pretty.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Ever have one of those “what’s my name again?” days?  Shoot me a comment.  I’d love to hear all about it!

rh

Haha! Sees invisible people. I don’t know Pretty Douglas, but I love Pretty Douglas. Sounds adorable. Finally answering to his name, what a proud proud day!

I may not forget my name, but I can’t find my way out of a paper bag. I hate driving to new places.

Andrea

That sounds like my not so brilliant chocolate lab (the one that found the Easter candy yesterday and ate the whole damn bag, wrappers & all). He comes when he hears DINNER or the sound of any piece of food that hits the floor!

gina valley

Maybe he & Douglas are from the same litter! Douglas is very likely to show up suddenly when food has bounced off the floor! Lol!

Parenting Tips

This sounds like our oldest dog, her name is Katie, she always comes running when we say “opps”. Of course, normally that usually means we have accidentally dropped some food in the kitchen. But she will make a mad dash across the house if you say “opps”. If you call her by her name, she won’t always respond so quickly.

gina valley

I’m sure your cat is a bit confused. I think I would have trouble remembering the cat’s name after that many changes, too, Kathleen! ;o)

Donna @ Raising a Super Dog

Oh, the memories. Thanks for sharing your story. We had us one of those bless-your-little-heart dogs, too. Jack the Wonder Dog. Named so because he went about with a question mark in a cartoon balloon over his head. Always wondering what the heck is going on.

He also answered to Sh*t Jack as that was what we so often said after we came into a room where he was left alone for more than a few minutes.

I wrote a memorial to this sweet boy on the dog blog recently. Dropped the link in my name above if y’all wanted to compare notes. Well, I think I did. We’ll see if this works.

gina valley

Jack sounds like kin to Douglas! I am so sorry that your Jack is gone. So heartbreaking to lose a dog. They are so full of love for us!

I will check out the memorial you wrote. I hope writing it helped you heal. (((hugs))) – gv