By Sue Murphy
Meet Dave, my new dog. He’s a miniature dachshund. At his last vet visit, he weighed 2½ pounds.
Dave is a departure for me. My last dog, Freeway, was a Collie/German Shepherd mix who happily lived her life outside. The late, great Buster Joe Murphy was … well, we were never really sure, but he weighed a lot more than two pounds.
I’ve always been a dog person. Actually, I’m a cat person, too, and a ferret person and a pony person and a person who likes pot-bellied pigs. I like all kinds of animals, except chickens. For some reason, I cannot warm up to chickens. It’s a flaw in my character and I’m working on it. Maybe I just need to spend more time with them.
I decided to get a small dog this time around so I could pick him up if need be and bathe him in the laundry room sink. My daughter has a dachshund, Sophie Lou Who, who’s a gentle but quirky soul, an excellent addition to the family. As far as I’m concerned, you can never have too much quirk in your life so a dachshund it was.
Dave and I hit it off right away, although I think he is less taken with me now that I have gone into serious dog mother mode. At this point, our house is not a democracy. Because of my size advantage and seniority, I declared myself the leader of our two-person pack and have made it my job to transform Dave into a contributing member of the group.
Don’t worry. I’m a benevolent dictator. I only have two rules: 1) Don’t bite, and 2) go to the bathroom outside. (That one’s for Dave. The neighbors already think I’m weird enough.) I haven’t bitten anyone in a long time, and Dave’s biting is just rookie puppy play, but I want him to be a no-biting pro by the time my grandchildren come for Easter.
The going to the bathroom outside part is an ongoing struggle. It hasn’t helped that the weather has been so lousy. It’s hard to talk a dog into voluntarily venturing out into the rain or no-show-snow when the grass is four inches long and his legs are only two. Think about it. Wouldn’t that put a crimp in your regularity? Still, outside pottying is the rule, so out we go.
Oh yes, I’m out there with him. Because Dave is so small, he would be a tasty morsel for a passing coyote or hawk, so I am out in the rain and cold right along with him. Spring can’t come soon enough.
Dave only has one job, and that is to sit with me while I knit in the evenings and watch TV. He doesn’t have to watch the show, just sit by and be my stalwart companion. For my part, I will provide food and shelter and blankets and toys and appropriate medical care. It’s a sweet deal if you ask me. I hope you will tell Dave that if you see him because he is looking out the window right now at the rain and thinking I am the meanest benevolent dictator he knows.
Of course, you probably won’t run into Dave any time soon. He is not keen on riding in the car, and he’s not very focused when we walk. I’ll have to start leash training him soon. Don’t tell him that either. The performance anxiety might be too much for the little guy. I mean, he only weighs 2½ pounds.