Monday, June 16, 2008

The truth about Dachshunds



I never knew much about Doxies until the past few years. If you aren't acquainted with one, you are in for a treat. When I was doing rescue (of homeless dogs) our Dachshund rep showed up at our annual picnic with her doxies. We had a trick contest, and she stated that it would be a great trick if her dogs didn't bite anyone...

I have since learned that although they are very opinionated, Doxies have hearts of gold, and worm their way into your lap and life. No wonder they are always near the top of the list for the AKC most popular breeds.

My first two, Beans and Tuffy are shown in the art you see here. Called "Heart Dogs," the outline of the two makes a rough shape of a heart. The original was exhibited at the Art Show At the Dog Show in Wichita this spring, where it sold, and I have limited edition prints available. It is small, about 8" square and was done in watercolor and colored pencil. In this painting, they are curled up on a couch pillow on my living room floor. 

They were almost 10 years old when they came to live with me. Their owner, an elderly lady, was in a nursing home, and they had been sitting in a kennel for months. I am a seriously soft touch for old dogs, and sad stories just do me in, so the second escrow closed on my new house, they came to live with me. Beanie promptly got under the fence and headed down the street- before their rescuer even left my house! In spite of that, I was allowed to keep them. I had Tuffy one year, and Beanie only two years before they both died of old age. 

Dachshunds are so funny, they will keep you laughing forever. Just watch one run, or act like a big dog, and you can't help but smile. They are pretty snotty and bossy when the mood strikes, and without a firm hand (gentle but firm) they can become little terrorists. Members of the hound group, the breed was developed for hunting badger, and digging for them underground. Their long shape allows them to fit in a tunnel. Hounds are very independent, and not necessarily interested in doing what you want them to do. But doxies are among the more lovable of the hound breeds.

Maya is a pet sitting client Dachshund who comes to stay with me. A black and tan "tweenie," meaning she is neither a mini or a standard size, Maya comes in the door snarling, won't let me touch her or take off her leash, and runs up to each of my dogs in turn and tells them off. Within five minutes she jumps up on my lap or is out playing with her new canine friends. Once she gets her ego out of the way, she is a wonderful dog! 

Desi is my latest addition to the family. His owner, Dorthea, was ill, and refused to go to the hospital until she found someone to care for Desi. They called me. As soon as I picked him up, Dorthea called 911 so an ambulance would come and get her. Desi was clearly first on her mind, even though she was so ill. He was very neglected, and needed a good grooming, shots and neutering, which I took care of and Dorthea paid for. I kept him for several months, and one day Dorthea called, wanting to know if I would keep Desi if something happened to her. I had already decided that when Desi went home, I would help her care for him- grooming, vet visits, etc. She was clearly unable, but she loved her little dog. One week later Dorthea passed away, and Desi stayed with me. A photo of Desi by my photographer friend, Melanie Snowhite is posted above.

Silly Desi is a wirehaired cream-colored doxie. Most people don't believe me when I say he's a doxie! His coat is incorrect, not harsh and wiry, but soft and shiny. My friend Liz calls him a soft-coated wheaten dachshund. He spends every evening draped across my lap on his back, all four feet up in the air. He is the happiest little dog in the world, and nothing is cuter than watching him run across the park through the thick grass, hopping like a bunny. 

May you blessed with a Dachshund in your life someday. 

For information about purchasing a limited edition print of "Heart Dogs" (Price $30, framed), please contact me at petportraits@cox.net. Visit my web site at http://www.terryalbert.com

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