For as long as I can remember (around the age of two, to be exact) my family has included a smart, sassy, stubby-legged dachshund. With a bark loud enough to match its boisterous personality, the dachshund is truthfully one of a kind. Originally bred for hunting badgers, they really live up to their reputation of being fearless. They are strong willed and loving animals, and for the people that get to be in their lives, there is nothing better.
My obsession began early with the first dachshund to thunder into our lives, Daisy. I remember how her smooth coat and shiny red fur glowed in the sun. She was long, slender and sleek in her youth. In her golden years gray flecked her snout and eyebrows like snowflakes. She was mischievous, bossy, and the leader of the pack when it came to the other dogs in our family. Daisy lived a long life of 14 years and gave us plenty of laughs along the way.
One of her favorite things to do, like most dachshunds, was to burrow in blankets. It didn't matter if they were big blankets, small blankets, or someone else's blankets, she made them her own comfortable oasis. Occasionally, Daisy would confuse a sweater for a snuggly throw blanket and cuddle with it. One morning we found her profoundly stuck in the sleeve of a sweater. She looked up at us with chocolate brown eyes as if to say "A little help here?"
Another thing that Daisy was famous for was being a trash picker. Any chance she got she would start an expedition and go searching for yummy gems. One particular night she dug into the treasure pile and excavated a dinner roll, her shining trophy. Daisy was always on some type of adventure, and her antics always kept us eternally entertained. She made each member of the family feel special and truly loved, for she had no favorite person, she loved us all equally. Daisy truly was one of a kind.
We brought Riley home in my early teens, and even though she was meant to be my mom's dog, she chose me as her human. Fiercely protective of me, Riley was by my side at all times. She was known to nip a person or two in what she saw as gallant bravery; she thought she was protecting her human. When I battled anxiety so intensely that my stomach would ache, she would curl up against my abdomen and bring me peace, her presence warming me throughout. Her passing in 2018 was one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with. Cancer dug its ugly claws in, and I knew we only had a few precious months left together. On her final night, I slept over at my parent's house and for the last time she curled up against my stomach, warming my soul one last time. The hole a dog leaves in your heart when they pass away is one that can never be filled again. They really do take a piece of you with them when they go.
In 2020 I adopted my dog Frank. I found a listing on the internet that pleaded for a new home for a senior dog. I was told he was mostly blind and deaf, and that he was a good dog. Immediately I knew I wanted to be his mom. At the ripe old age of 12 he came into our lives and in an instant he took over. Frank owns our hearts and we bend to his will. After all, he is 13 years old now. When he demands that we let him on the couch, we faithfully pick him up and place him gently on the sofa. Frank's moments of puppy playfulness, and joy in the small things teach us to be grateful for every moment. Whether it's finding happiness playing with an empty water bottle, or wagging your tail when your people are finally home, life is truly incredible when you keep it simple and look for the good in everyday things.
I suppose one thing these three dogs, and dachshunds in general, all have in common is that life is never quite the same once they've entered it. While each dog's personality is different, you can bet that they won't be shy about showing it. They are fierce and loving animals. They have shown me that no matter how small you are to the world, for those you love, you can take up their whole heart. They are stoic, yet comical creatures. They seem to know when you are sad, and offer their unconditional companionship as comfort. When I’ve had a long day and come home, I know that Frank will be there to greet me, tail wagging with fervor. Dachshunds are full of snuggles and are the first one to suggest curling up in bed. Dachshunds are one of a kind and totally worth obsessing over. Let one into your heart, and I promise you won’t regret it.