Sweeney Dog, the Demon Dachshund of 12th Street (better known as Toby) has rid our back yard of squirrels and rabbits. His low profile, keen sense of eyesight, and razor-sharp teeth have made them all afraid, very afraid–and has left at least one squirrel with dog-nips on its tail. Now all he has left to attack in the back yard are sticks, a couple of old gourds I threw out, and our cat Lamont. He’s also been dragging the garden fork (better known in farming circles as a “manure fork”; which thankfully, there’s a serious lack of in our neighborhood) around the yard..it probably weighs twice as much as he does.
We thought that having him neutered would calm him down a bit, and it has; he’s no longer humping animate or inanimate objects. But he’s turning into a supreme smartass, which, I suppose can be attributed to the fact that, at 7 months of age, he’s the equivalent of that kid in your 9th grade class who was always tripping other kids in the hall, forging his parent’s names on report cards, smoking in the bathroom, and spending most of his formative time sitting in the principal’s office.
Toby is a show-off. This is one of the Dachshund’s most admirable (or annoying) traits. He will play rocket dog in the backyard at 10:30 at night, grabbing sticks, rocks, or dirt clods from the garden and race around the yard, growling like some crazed monster, his long ears flying in the whirlwind he’s created. When he’s satisfied that we’ve been thoroughly impressed, he’ll stop, walk over to a bush and piss like a dogly dog–hind leg raised, his eyes fixed on some invisible fire hydrant a foot above and slightly to the right of him. ( I’ve watched him enough to know exactly how he poses.) When he was just a little baby (a month ago) he would lift his back leg and pee all over his front leg. His aim, although incorrect, was impressive. It’s a long distance back to front on a Dachshund, and his ability (or talent, as it were) to consistently pee on himself still amazes me.
If, for some reason, his antics don’t amaze but merely amuse, he gets all embarrassed and tries to change the subject to distract us. Like the time he tried to impress my brother with his jump-on-your-lap skills (comparable to nunchuck skills, which, for the grace of God and lack of opposable thumbs, Toby will never achieve) and didn’t get it done in one giant leap; instead it turned out to be a scrambling of wiener dog legs and grunting and finally a helping hand from my brother to get him up. This caused too much damage to his psyche; with lowered head and drooping tail he jumped off the lap and slunk away. But wait! A chance to save face! There, just a few feet away was Bunny, the stuffed toy he’d had since we brought him home. Bunny no longer has eyes, whiskers or tail, and Toby chewed most of stuffing out of its rear end. Bunny is Toby’s whipping boy. If Toby is embarrassed, ashamed, or just pissed off, he’ll grab Bunny by the hole in the butt and shake it as if it was a living thing.
Think starving shark, fat swimmer.
While he is whipping his head back and forth in his effort to snap the spine of a spineless toy, his eye is on his audience. When he hears a warm and loving “Blah Blah Blah Toby..Blah Blah Blah” he’ll finish his performance and wag his tail in appreciation of our adulations. (Note: ‘ Blah Blah Blah’ can mean anything from ” What a strong handsome dog you are! Such talent!” to ” Knock it off, you little bastard, you’re shaking Bunny stuffing all over the carpet!”, but to a dog, it’s all good, unless the words NO! or BAD DOG! or F**KING DOG CHEWED UP MY NEW CORDANI’S!” are included.)
Bunny has had a better life than most of Toby’s other toys. The sacred burial ground of doggy toys is scattered with the sad remains of squeaky toys that he chewed until he got the squeaker out ( thus rendering them useless to him), “indestructible ” balls made from old tires and kryptonite, completed destructed; frisbees, gloves, slippers, cardboard boxes, planks, chew toys passed up for designer shoes, and designer shoes. It’s common knowledge that puppies chew…they are teething, and just like a human baby, and they need the massaging effect of chewing on something to ease the pain of those erupting teeth. Unlike a baby, who gums up a biscuit or sucks on a cold teething ring to sooth the way for their pearly whites, dogs have snarly fangs which require massive amounts of gnawing to bring them out. You can set a teething baby down in an aisle at DSW and nothing will happen. Set a puppy down in a room where you have a new pair of pricey pumps tucked away on a shelf in a closet, and the animal will have them destroyed within seconds.
Toby is not my first Dachshund. There was Scratchy, the “ranch hand” dog who grew up with my daughters. Scratchy was a legend in the neighborhood, adventurous and daring but basically useless for anything but companionship and entertainment. He lived (or I should say survived, considering how many times he’d encounter a wild animal, been rolled by a pickup or kicked by a horse) to the ripe old age of 15. That was nearly 20 years ago, and the girls still get teary-eyed reminiscing about him, and the neighbors still laugh about Scratchy’s shenanigans. I have been yearning to get another Dachshund ever since, but my husband has always balked at getting a dog, especially a Dachshund because he was bitten by one when he was a child. He finally caved and now he and Toby are inseparable, by Toby’s design. My husband is discovering the personality and traits of Dachshunds and now knows why one bit him years ago: bottom line; they are assholes. Little jerks that bark when there’s nothing there but will wag their tails and lick the faces of strangers entering your home. Their idea of being a guard dog is to lie on their backs under a piece of furniture and bark and snarl ferociously, wanting to prove their worth but too lazy to get up to do it. They will find, and proceed to roll around in, any rotting animal carcass or garbage then offer to share the exquisite stench with you. They will stand in your way and act offended when you trip and fall over them. They will dig holes all over your lovely back yard lawn, eat acorns and puke them back up on your carpet, taunt cats, and chew up your shoes.
But there is something about a Dachshund I haven’t found in any other breed of dog. No matter where you go, or who you meet, someone will squeal “Oooo, a Wiener Dog!” And every one has a Dachshund story to tell, a loving memory of Uncle Jim’s little Trucker or Grandma’s Trixie.
And that is, in my opinion, the only thing that has kept us from eradicating the breed from the face of this earth.