Dachshunds—A unique canine experience
by David Weinshilboum
When I was 5-years-old, I wanted a dog. Sure, my sister had a dog—a toy poodle named Licorice—but that dog hated me. He would growl any time I got within 10 yards of him. Of course, I tried to cram him into a toy train and loved on him rather forcefully (just like the abominable snowman in that Bugs Bunny cartoon). I wanted a dog of my own. I turned to my mother and father and said, “Mom, Dad, I want a hot-dog dog!”
Any sane parents would have laughed and said, “You might not be ready for a dog, yet, son. Let’s wait a few years.” My parents, however, felt I was ready to be a good owner. (I’m thinking that they blamed poodle neuroses for Licorice’s condition as much as my youthful exuberance.) So they got me a dachshund.
Dachshunds simply aren’t like other dogs. Your garden-variety canine aims to please; they love unconditionally. Dachshunds? They are stubborn, vindictive imps that believe they are extremely short-legged kids.
My family’s first dachshund—the one chosen when I was five—was a well-intentioned, red-hair named Kippy. He wasn’t too bright, but he had that plucky dachshund mentality. He was convinced that, despite his stubby little mushroom-sized legs, he could handle any situation. He’d attack our neighbor’s golden retriever. Correction, he’d attack the ankles of our neighbor’s golden retriever. Our neighbor’s dog would respond incredulously. It would look down at this oversized rat and think, “It smells like a dog, it sounds like a dog, but this here thing can’t be a dog!”
Kippy’s naïve optimism wasn’t limited to his stature or strength.
Despite repeated squirrel-chasing failures, Kippy never gave up. He must have chased squirrels in the backyard thousands of times; never did he come close to getting one. Our little doxie remained undeterred. He would repeatedly jump into the crook of our apple tree in futile efforts to capture a squirrel. Unfortunately for Kippy, he could jump up to the apple-tree crook, but had trouble getting down. On numerous occasions I would watch my father trudge out to the apple tree at dawn, the morning dew seeping into his slippers, to rescue that dog.
Somehow that little long dog left his mark on me. Since Kippy, I’ve gone dachshund. My family now owns a black dapple named Nibbles. Nibbles proved to be pure dachshund from the moment my family saw him—he wandered on the breeder’s couch, scrunched his puppy body together like an accordion, and unloaded an enormous bowel movement.
While my family’s love for Nibbles remains strong, I have to admit that some days I wonder why I love dachshunds so much. Wiener dogs think they can do no wrong. Thus, when they receive punishment, they view it as cruel and unusual.
Once I locked Nibbles in the bathroom after he completed an in-house peeing spree. His response? He ate a sizable chunk of linoleum! When I walked in on the carnage, Nibbles looked me in the eye and fastidiously regurgitated the steaming pile of flooring. “If you punish me, I’ll punish you,” he seemed to be saying.
As much as dachshunds can drive you crazy, they have their positive side. They invest maximum energy into everything they do. You can’t help but smile as they go on walks with such gusto—even when they’re oxygen deprived because they insist on rushing forward until the collar chokes them. Also, once you get past the barking, wiener dogs are the gentlest, most patient canines you’ll come across. I have a toddler in house that’s yanked on Nibbles’ tail, paws, ears and nose. Not once has the dog lashed out at the kid.
Who knows, maybe when the boy turns five, he’ll turn to me and say, “Dad, we need another hot-dog dog.”
David Weinshilboum would be remiss if he did not tell readers that the speedy Nibbles is a two-time Doxie Derby Champion. Reach David at firstname.lastname@example.org