The Senate has reached the mid-point of Trump’s impeachment trial, the point where it’ll become obvious even to the dimmest bulbs that no Republican has any intention of convicting him, and I say it’s dog content time.
When Mister B and I came back from our walk this morning, Maxie was sunning herself on the patio bricks. She let out an aroo by way of welcoming us home. It’s her happy sound, or so I like to think. The only times I ever hear her make it is when she’s saying hello or announcing that it’s dinnertime. She never says aroo when it’s time for a bath.
Maxie’s little aroo is the closest any of our dachshunds come to howling. There are plenty of howling doxies on YouTube, so I know they do it (little wolves, every one of them), but not ours. Schatzi, our first doxie (and the one we raised from a puppy) didn’t even learn to bark until she was around six months old and had a palo verde beetle the size of her head cornered on the back patio. We could hear her making chuffing sounds in her throat, and a week later she let out her first full-fledged bark when a coyote sauntered past the family room window. I miss Schatzi every single day … she’ll always be my girl.
Mister B is a great one for barking, and he has a nice deep one … except when it’s shrill, as it gets when he sees other doggies walking on his street. He’s the most vocal of the lot, the only one of our dogs to keep up a constant stream of chatter. It sounds like whining, but we know he’s talking. Where’s dad? Can I have a bite? Are we going in the car? Are we there yet? When he really wants to say something, though, like for example when he wants me to throw the ball he just laid down at my feet, he barks.
People use the phrase “rescue dog” too freely. We bought Shatzi from a breeder and raised her, but the other two, Maxie and Mister B, came to us as older dogs. Friends pat us on the back for rescuing them, but it’s not like we found them starving in some back alley. Maxie lived with a friend’s daughter, a young woman starting out on her own, at that stage where one bounces from apartment to apartment. She simply couldn’t keep Maxie any longer, and bequeathed her to us. Mister B was raised in a loving home, but his human, a widow, died when he was nine. Donna and I heard about this senior dog through a friend who knows the lady who runs the dachshund rescue charity in town, and that’s how we hooked up with him. We wanted them both and never thought of them as rescues … but at the same time I’m glad we were there to take them in when they needed new homes.
This is an old photo of Donna with our first dog, a coyote/collie mix named Duke, probably taken in 1969 or 70 when we lived in Sacramento, California. Duke’s previous owner kept him locked in an outdoor chicken-wire cage; at any rate he was locked up in one and furiously barking when we showed up to see about adopting him. I remember he was around two years old when we took him in. He was terrified of cars and would hunker down shivering in the footwell whenever we took him anywhere. One day I pulled a broom out of the closet to sweep up some cereal I’d spilled and he ran screaming to the other end of the house, where he cowered under the bed, so I’m pretty sure his first owner beat him. When it comes to Duke, I think rescue is the right word. He got over his fear of cars, and I learned not to use the broom around him, and he was a very good boy. We passed him on to a hippie friend when we left Sacramento for Montana and my first teaching job. Dukers was six then, with many years left to live. We hope he had a great life.
It gets my back up when people say dogs don’t have souls. If we have souls, so do they. When people talk about smartness in dogs, I have the same reaction. It’s irrelevant. Dogs are as smart as they need to be, and far smarter than most of us realize. I could happily spend the rest of my life with dogs. They’re better company than most people, and for one thing I’d be free of Facebook and Twitter. Well, maybe not Twitter, because when the news is shitty, as it is now, people post photos of their dogs.
© 2020, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.