When will I be finished with it, you ask? Soon--very soon. I have about six chapters to go, but for those who don't write, or for those who do write but stick closely to a detailed outline, that's not my method of writing at all. I begin with a basic outline of sorts--more like notes, divided into chapters, with notes about what I hope to cover in each. Since this book will be the third one in the series, I'm already well acquainted with the main characters. Oh, new supporting characters are added in this book, of course. There's also traveling involved, and since the tale is told from Sarge's viewpoint, readers might find his thoughts on the places he visits and the people he comes in contact with very interesting, humorous, and especially insightful for a dog :).
. . . Duke was more wary of me, and in my mind, he also seemed more respectful, as he should be, of course. Oh, I didn’t wish to harm the dawg, but merely wanted him to become a decent representative of our breed. His training far from over, I was determined to get through to him that he needed (1) to respect me, his elder, (2) to never let the cats get the best of him, and (3) to learn the tried-and-true dachshund methods for obtaining what he wants. Some of these are inbred, meaning they are natural instincts of our noble breed, but even with that, his could use a little polishing up. That’s where I come in—to get him where he needs to be.
The first order of business would be to teach him how to obtain yummy people food, which we seldom get to taste. Oh, I know that it isn’t supposed to be good for us, it might upset our tummies, or we’ll turn into pure nags if given any. Although these notions of humans are probably rooted in truth, my main question about people food has always been this: if it is so bad for us, why do humans talk about it, watch it on TV, get it ready to eat, go to the store often to get more of it, and then eat it all the time themselves?? I submit that if humans can eat it with such great satisfaction—down to smacking their lips, licking their fingers, even rubbing their tummies after meals—then it is logical that we doxies, with our superior noses, should enjoy it even more than they do. They have been given the misguided idea (probably from dog food makers) that dog food is the only thing that is good for us. I just do not see it myself. Therefore, I am constantly honing my skills for acquiring human food.
Of course, several humans in my family already understand this entire situation about giving us dogs people food: Papa and Sellars, of course, and occasionally the sisters, but Mama reprimands them when they drop me bites. Papa is far more cunning than little children, so he always manages to get his hand down underneath the table where I’m sitting near his chair. The grandchildren, less experienced than he, simply pick up bites from their plates and drop them for all the world to see. They’ll learn when they get older, but meanwhile, I hope they pick up a thing or two from Papa. He’s the master at sharing food while doing something else, thus keeping others from even knowing what he’s doing. He’ll be telling one of his famous stories, all the while getting bites of my favorites down to my open mouth. One time he told me that I looked like a crocodile, just sitting there smiling with my mouth open! He’s funny like that.
Another aspect of Duke’s training will be to help him sharpen his skills involving the cats. Oh, I understand and accept the fact that he wants to play with them—I ended up playing with Tate and Joey at Aunt Bethany’s—but he must realize that cats don’t always play fair. Perhaps it’s a good thing that he’ll play with them, thus saving me from having to do so myself. They will act like they want to just play fight, then the next thing a dawg knows, he’s got a scratched-up nose, and that hurts. Duke hasn’t been on the business end of a cat's sharp claws yet, but one of these days I’ll hear him yelping, and it will be too late.
He also has to be wary of the grandchildren, but he’s pretty much gotten that figured out by himself. He’s been hugged too tightly once or twice, had an ear or his tail pulled already, or been hit with a flying toy—so he’s learned from the school of experience on that score. I must admit that it didn’t take too many times before he learned to stay out of their way. They don’t mean us any harm, it’s just that they are little, and Mama can’t watch them every second. She’s careful to make sure they don’t hurt us, but as soon as her back is turned, something will happen. That’s the way it is in our house, a.k.a. the circus.