“You do know on a 1–100 scale of canine intelligence, dachshunds were rated in the high nineties?” Greg informed me. Greg was our daughter Jennifer’s new husband.
“Well, I know that! They are extremely bright, among having other interesting qualities,” I said.
“You’ve got it wrong. One is the most intelligent, and 100 is …” Greg’s voice trailed off as I gave him “the look”: the one with the arched eyebrow, tense mouth, and steely eyes. A few seconds passed, then he said (as if to defend his position), “I really like large dogs.”
I could have launched into who had done the testing, how the subjects had been selected and tested, and so forth, but I didn’t. By the time he entered the family, we were well-trained dachshund lovers.
I don’t say “owners,” because you don’t “own” a dachshund. A dachshund owns you. I believe it happens quickly. Many dogs have expressive faces, but a dachshund reels you in with their chocolate, blue, or gray eyes that are touched with sadness and long suffering, a hint of royalty, and a sparkle of something you can’t quite identify. They don’t jump on you. They don’t rush at you and lick you. Even though it is impossible, I am sure they would not sniff private areas. Dachshunds simply look at you, and it’s all over. You are best friends for life.
Once you and your new companion are all settled in, you realize that these short-but-long-canines have many qualities. They can learn complex tricks; they are fierce protectors of their people and property. Dachshunds are affectionate, clever, playful, and loyal. The other side of the coin is that they like to get their own way and can be obstinate, mischievous, manipulative, and devious. In short, they are decidedly intelligent, with minds of their own.
If you read my first book, you know about the cookie caper. That happens to be based on a true story …
It was a mild evening, and the family was sitting outside on the patio. The sun was setting, and the lamp in the dining room illuminated the stage. Our daughter Heather’s famous chocolate-chunk macadamia-nut cookies that were slated for dessert were sitting on a platter in the middle of the empty dining room table. A performance was about to begin, and Princess was the star. Walking on stage, she pushed back the chair at the end of the table with her sturdy little body. It was then two short hops—first onto the seat and then onto the tabletop. She sauntered across the table, as if she did it every day, casually dipped her head to snap up one of the cookies, and ambled to the opposite end of the table. Then, in one fluid movement, she jumped down onto the chair and disappeared into the shadows.
“Was that Princess on the dining room table?” Heather asked in a questioning tone. Everyone turned to look, and before anyone could speak, the performance was repeated. A stash of cookies was found in a closet.
I turned to Greg and said sarcastically, “Not very intelligent, is she?”
Flash forward to the present. My husband, John, and I recently updated our living trust and will. During that process, we asked family members if they would take care of our dachshunds if we were not be able to care for them. Several family members came forward; among them were Greg and Jennifer. Somewhere through the years, someone had worked some doxie magic on a cynical heart. It starts with the eyes …
Heather’s Famous Chocolate-Chunk Macadamia-Nut Cookies
(Recipe can be doubled)
¾ cup room-temperature butter—not too soft
½ plus 1/8 cup granulated sugar
½ plus 1/8 cup brown sugar
½ tablespoon vanilla (yes, tablespoon)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups (or to your taste) chocolate chunks
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
Beat butter, sugars, vanilla, and egg on medium speed of mixer for at least 3 minutes and until mixture is light and fluffy.
Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt (dough will be stiff).
Stir in chocolate chunks.
On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by tablespoonfuls or use comparable cookie scoop 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly.
Bake at 350 degrees in center of oven for 11 to 13 minutes or until light brown. Centers will be soft.
Cool 1 to 2 minutes, then move to cooling rack.
Hide from dachshunds