No, not a real duck. But a very important duck (or pair of ducks) nonetheless.
The duck on the right has been Cooper’s favorite toy ever since he “won” it for participating in the bird dog match at his first IWSCOPS Specialty in August 2007. To be in the bird dog match, he’d had to qualify by first retrieving a pigeon and bringing it back. Going out to get the pigeon was easy. Bringing it back … well, not so much.
Being an untrained, wildman puppy, Cooper didn’t want to bring the pigeon back — he wanted to run around with it in his mouth and play keep away with the crowd of onlookers. So that’s what he did.
We called him, waved toys at him, and grabbed at him when he came within inches of our hands. None of that worked. Finally, a crowd of us all ran away from the finish line, enticing him to chase us across it. That was enough for Cooper to show in the bird dog match, and thus get the duck.
That duck has seen a lot of action. It’s been hidden and thrown all over the house for tracking and retrieving games. It’s been squeaked, pounced upon, and carried around for hours at a time. Eventually, the poor duck got some holes, which destroyed the squeak, but the duck stayed a favorite anyway. It appeared in Cooper’s New Year 2009 photo portrait, his in oil portrait last May, and another blog entry.
Then Tooey, Miss Destructo Dog, came to live at our house. She easily got the duck away from Gentleman Cooper, and chewed off one toe. The duck had to be put away to prevent total destruction.
So I went on a hunt, all over the Internet, to find a new duck.
On Christmas morning, Cooper was bored, lying head on feet next to the breakfast table, when Russ opened the package, reached in, and gave the duck a squeeze. Being a new duck, it squeaked.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen that dog’s head whip up so fast. Russ gave the duck another squeeze, and Cooper temporarily reverted to his wildman self. He jumped up, with feet on the table, to get a closer look.
Ever since then, that duck has not left Cooper’s side, except at night, when we put it away in the toy drawer. (I don’t really care to listen to squeaking ducks at 3 in the morning.)
It’s not clear yet what we’ll do about the duck when Tooey comes back home. (Since she’s in season, Tooey is up at Colleen’s for another week or so.) We may have to put the duck away, and only take it out when Tooey is out of the house for walks or training. Or we might try to teach Tooey to leave the duck alone.
Yeah, right. Maybe I’d better get busy, and order another duck (Squeeze Meeze Mallard Duck, made by Premier).