In season two, episode two of the North Irish comedy “Derry Girls”, the character of Ms. De Brún is introduced. A spirited and passionate English teacher, she inspires her students to new creative heights through a healthy program of hitting objects with bats, cigarettes and wine parties. In one of her first scenes, Ms. De Brún reads the class’s poetry submissions aloud – more than half of them are about dogs. The class is uninspired, boring! For Mrs De Brún, this is unacceptable.
Well I guess I would fail Ms. De Brún’s course as this is unfortunately an article about a dog. Specifically, Dunn. He’s the oldest of five Duke Puppy Kindergarten students this semester, and he’s very easy to recognize – he’s the only yellow puppy in the bunch. What is most important, however, is that I love Dunn.
Dunn has a great future ahead of him: one day he will be a dog with a job. Once he is two years old and his training is complete, he will be an assistance dog with Canine Companions, helping a person with a disability by performing a range of tasks, from laundry to turning on lights to washing. wheelchair traction. But until then, he’s with me.
As a volunteer in his dorm, I look after him nights and weekends when he is not at school. Along with the other three on my team, I make sure he gets all the ingredients for a happy, healthy puppy: lots of extra socialization, training, and exercise. This all means that we spend a lot of time together – I have plenty of time to get to know him too well.
Although I spend a lot of time taking care of Dunn, he does a lot more for me than I do for him. Beyond the obvious cuteness that the cheerful little bundle of fur affords to his surroundings, there is an overwhelming sense of positivity all around him. When we walk around campus faces start to smile – so many people come to me and tell me that their day is done after only a 30 second interaction with the little puff of cheese. Plus, with so many people coming to meet him, sometimes I also meet new people!
And when I add all the little, tiny moments that make me love Dunn, you start to get a full picture of the Incredible Dunn. Every time we start a walk he drags his feet, refusing to leave a place he loves, be it my dorm or the puppy garden – or a place on the quad near a squirrel. On the other hand, at the end of the walk he is suddenly at a fast trot, ecstatic at the opportunity to return to those same beloved places. When it’s time to eat, he does those mini-tiny jumps, unable to contain his excitement at the thought of food! In his sleep, he has these typical dog dreams, running to an invisible place and chasing an invisible thing (again, probably a squirrel). Also, most importantly, he responds when I sing Beethoven’s Fifth, which is really the cornerstone of a good relationship with someone named Dunn.
But above all, Dunn makes me happy. He doesn’t care if I’m stressed out, bored or upset, he just constantly has an endless source of kindness and love (and bites – he’s a teething puppy, after all). Whether we are running down the hall or having dinner on the steps of the chapel, Dunn is there with me. When he leaves in November, for sure, I will have more time to myself, but at the end of the day, I will truly miss his company. But Dunn has a bright future ahead of him, and I’m incredibly happy that we had the opportunity to be briefly in each other’s lives.
I have to admit this was by no means the most insightful note from the staff. Maybe Mrs De Brún was right – there isn’t much of interest to say about dogs. But at least Dunn is cute. And anyway, by the end of the episode, Ms. De Brún turned out not to care about her students (or their canine poetry), leaving for another school without warning, so maybe it didn’t. doesn’t really matter after all.
-Jonathan Pertile, cultural editor
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