Tag Archives: dachshunds

Sometimes Too Much is Just Enough

19 Sep

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Murray the Dog joined the family a year ago last week. The last thing in the world I needed was a fourth dog. But there he was in that picture online, staring straight at the camera, his eyes boring into my heart. I heard him say, “I’m waiting.” Of course, I often hear chocolate say that too, so I may be partially delusional.

I should start by saying that as with many online matchmaking adventures, Murray was not exactly as pictured. In his photos, he appeared to be a dachshund, when in fact he turned out to be half dachshund, half kangaroo, and half Tazmanian devil. Sure, the math doesn’t add up, but he’s not that good at math.

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If I had to describe him with just three adjectives, I’d choose wild, crazy, and “Hey, those are my panties, put them down!” Okay, that last one isn’t so much an adjective, but it has become a one-word phrase around here.

Despite being 2-1/2 according to the records from the rescue organization, Murray is truly still a puppy. There isn’t a book he doesn’t want to rip apart, a field he doesn’t want to bound across at full speed, or an ear he doesn’t want to munch on. Unfortunately, he’s so damned cute and I’m so damned smitten that he usually gets his way. I have not, however, taken him up on his offer to drive. That just wouldn’t be safe, what with his head out the window.

He did go through puppy obedience class, where he graduated second in his class. There was only one other dog  there. Additionally, I spent the big bucks hiring a behavior specialist to try to get him to not be so fearful and barky on walks. It’s hard enough with Penny in a stroller and Watson smelling every blade of grass in the neighborhood for a solid five minutes. Having a young pup who lunged and barked at everything wasn’t safe or neighborly. Fortunately, he’s much better now. He actually listens before he disobeys me. If you’ve ever had dachshunds, you know that comes with the territory. He can also jump 3-feet into the air to demand payment for complying with any command. That would be the kangaroo in him.

Watson, who is 14 now, usually just gives Murray the side eye as he steals yet another toy. I can buy two of everything (Penny is not into toys; she’s into jewelry) and Murray will end up with both of them. And they will both be ripped apart in minutes. I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I spend scouring secondhand stores and garage sales for stuffed animals that don’t have plastic eyes, beans or wires in their anatomy, or technology of any kind embedded inside. The last thing I need is a stuffed animal that says, “Let’s go to sleep” every time Murray shakes it.

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Penny’s only objection to Murray’s crazy antics is at night in bed. You see, I made the crazy decision to downsize from a king size bed to a queen after sweet Justin moved on to the next spiritual journey.Penny wants to lie next to me at all times (I could Velcro her to my stomach and she’d be as happy as a clam that no one bothered and was able to live out a life free from worry). Murray frequently decides that any spot Penny wants should be his, so I frequently have to listen to them debate who gets mom’s fattest parts tonight. It’s good to know that my postmenopausal belly flab serves a good purpose.

So yes, I absolutely did not need a fourth dog. And even though there are only three canine family members now, I can’t even begin to tell you how much laughter, silliness, and fun we have every day. Sure, my toilet paper roll is frequently slobbery, my books are in poor condition, and some days I just go commando, but having crazy energy in the house once again makes it all worthwhile.

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Terriers and Dachshunds, Oh My

21 Jan

For the past week, I’ve been pet-sitting a terrier mix named Arrow in my home. My dogs and I have been opening our home to her twice a year for the past four years as her people travel to art shows across the country.

Dachshunds and terriers may not seem as different as Chihuahuas and Newfies, but watching them both makes me wonder if they evolved from different ancestors. Take these examples:

Wiener dog:  Sniff every spot in the neighborhood for 10-15 minutes to make sure nothing new has happened to that spot since the last time you sniffed it for 10-15 minutes. Then slowly move on to the next spot.

Terrier: Take one quick sniff and move on. There’s nothing to see here.

Wiener dog: Eat immediately after food is put within reach, sooner if at all possible.

Terrier: Guard food bowl and wait for someone else to appear to want it. Growl a bit then eat as slowly as doggedly possible, all the while keeping your guard up.

Wiener dog: When on a walk, be sure to always walk 6-16 feet behind your human (depending on leash length).

Terrier: When on a walk, be sure to always walk 6-16 feet in front of your human. And never, ever, walk in a straight line. Serpentining burns so many more calories.

Wiener dog: Spends hours arranging pillows and blankets to achieve exactly the right combination of comfort and cover in order to take a 6-hour nap.

Terrier: Plop down on top of anything–sofa, chair, floor (Wiener dog says “Floor?”) and rest, making sure not to achieve too deep a sleep because someone may be nearing the spot on the floor where your food dish was until the human got tired of waiting for you to eat and put it up.

Wiener dog: Play “fetch” by running after stuffed animal down the hallway a few times. Never actually retrieve said animal because how else will human get her exercise?

Terrier: Play “fetch” by running up and down hallway hundreds of time whether anything is being thrown or now. Occasionally grow if anyone gets to close to your imaginary animal.

Wiener dog: When temperature are below freezing, go out, do your business, and hurry back as fast as your short legs will carry you. Lie in front of heating vent for several hours to recover.

Terrier: No matter the temps, go out and run across the yard yipping until human comes out in housecoat and slippers, picks you up, and brings you back inside. Run to where your food dish was and growl.

I think in many ways I am more like a terrier than a wiener dog, but perhaps the reason I’ve been under dachshund management for 28 years is that I aspire for a slower paced life in which I have time to sniff what needs sniffing and get really comfortable before taking a nap.

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