Puppyhood can be so hard. After a morning of tearing Toby limb from limb and chasing a chicken the size of a small goat, “the little duck of death” shipped out to Ann Beardon’s house for a playdate. You know things are getting rough when the sitter hires a sitter. The car ride over was scary for Duckie Duke, but he pulled himself together, bit at the tires and then got all vulnerable for Ann. She thinks he’s cute. I suppose he is cute as long as he is having things his way. Apparently she managed to see to Duckie’s comforts during their visit, because she was all giggly and sweet to him when I picked him up. The duality of this duck is amazing. If I complain a bit about him, people look at me like I’m cold hearted. They just can’t see through the fluff. There is a spooky quality about how the hair on his head never gets messed up. I see that round fluff head in my dreams at night…then I hear the scream, the groan…as he gnaws savagely at the bars of the crate. Two a.m., three a.m., four a.m. When I finally go open the crate, the big round head rises up at me...the big round eyes stare expressionless at the latch. He jumps out of the kennel with pathetic little whines of delight at being free. He quickly makes his way to the grass in the front yard to pee. Then he grabs a piece of trailing ivy from the garden and rips it away from its mother plant and runs out into the darkness. That’s when I remember that he needs to have on a leash. I check my pockets for treats… no pockets in my pajamas. I’m relieved to find that I don’t sleep with dog treats. I stumble back into the house for the leash. Ducky’s eyes pick up the glow from the porch light. His eyes follow me inside. He dashes for the door and beats me inside. For a moment, I imagine that he wants to lock me out of the house. Instead, he viciously seizes a sandal that was left by the door. He runs under the table with the sandal, daring me to come after it. That’s when I realize that I have no idea where my other two dogs are. Did they go out? Are they sleeping through this nightmare? I stagger over to the counter to get some dog treats. I whistle and call. Both my dogs come sleepily out of their beds to see what wonderful midnight snack we are having. They are not impressed with the puppy kibble I give them. Getting no attention for sandal destruction, Duckie decides to come lunging out from under the table and grabs Toby by the foot. Toby looks at me for permission to deal with the perpetrator. I turn and leave the room. Moments later, I hear Duckie yelp for mercy. He comes running to me as if he thinks I care what the monster Toby did to him. I scoop him up and gently dump him in his kennel. I wonder how long the howls will last this time. Toby drops his head and walks toward his kennel. He looks over at the puppy who is tuning his instruments with soft groans. He turns and goes down a dark hallway to the laundry room to sleep. I turn and go back to my room with my dachshund. I can only find one earplug. Ducky will poop earplug confetti in the morning.