Last night I dreamed about
Abby was our first dachshund, our first dog as a couple. Dad and Linda
had bred wiener dogs for years, and we knew that was the breed of dog we wanted.
I read once that a dachshund
possessed a “comic dignity”. There is nothing like a wiener dog, no other dog remotely like
them in temperament. Sure, individual dogs will vary, but the same basic quality is there that is distinctly
However, Abby, through no fault of her own, did not act this way.
I had found her at the Anderson County Humane Society. I was warned that she had bitten two previous
owners, but I insisted, and they showed her to me, anyway.
It was love at first sight.
She was thin, her coat was dull, her eyes both scared and defiant. I paid the cost and loaded her
in the truck for the ride home.
On the way home, I had tried to reach out and touch her, and she literally
levitated to get away from me. I mean this in the literal sense. She actually raised
her body straight up into the air, a trick she had her entire life.
For weeks she feared us, bit
us both several times, but we didn’t give up. She was a blue dapple, a rather rare color, and we began putting it all
together. She had been used as a breeder, trying to produce more dapples, which are much in demand.
She went nuts in a crate, which drew attention to the scar across her nose where she had been crated before, and fought
Over the years she lost most of her teeth, and we know it’s because
of abuse, malnutrition and biting and fighting that cage, trying to get out. All she had known her entire
life was confinement and mistreatment. She had an old injury she had in the lateral process in one vertebrae
in her neck that had been broken off and moved out of position. We started using a harness rather than
a collar, and that kept her neck from being irritated, and she seemed to have no trouble after that.
It literally took years before
she began to trust us. She loved and trusted me first, eventually learning to love Matt. In
the meantime, we had moved out to HiltonHouse and acquired Gus, who helped her learn how to be a pet, a wiener dog.
She didn’t know how to play, but she learned, at least in a small amount, from Gus.
I could tell you more about
the years we had her. Joys, triumphs, failures, pain. And she lived through them all, with an odd combination
of defiance and new-found love. Eventually, as with all living things, she left us. But
al least we know her final years she learned and enjoyed joy, love, and happiness.