The last puppy that came to our home was Trixie, soon to be renamed Trixie Noodle by my grandson James. That was in 1998. As I recall, we bought a bed, puppy food, a cat collar and leash (because she was so tiny), and that was that. Princess, our ten-year-old dachshund, was helpful in teaching Noodle where to potty, how to chase a ball, and what a delightful thing dirty laundry was. Although Princess tried, Trixie never was able to catch a treat midair, but she did excel in eating a string of dangling spaghetti!
Now it is 2020, and we are expecting two puppies. I have bought two books on dachshunds. One book was written by the “experts in the field,” each one offering their opinion on a variety of subjects. I just wish that these folks had had a few Zoom conferences before they went to press … One thing they agreed on is that dachshunds are intelligent, loving, energetic, have delicate backs, and will run the household. Just ask Marcy Mary—she will tell you that is the dachshund role.
A lot has changed in the puppy world in twenty-two years, and this time around, the first thing I considered was equipment: puppy playpen, training pads, crates (which we have), approved toys, and bedding, not to mention gates to keep them safe and to protect the rugs. There are also special harnesses for teaching them to walk on a leash—and an amazing array of dog clothing!
But this was nothing compared to the shark-infested waters of dog food. I literally spent hours and hours trying to find the best food for our pups. We even went to a specialty pet-food store and bought a high-end dog food, only to discover that it was implicated in canine dilated cardiomyopathy, which affects the dog’s heart muscle. More research and more confusion. Then a thought crossed my mind: why not call our veterinarian? And it was so easy! Three choices, and voila! I crossed that off my list.
But here is an unexpected and lovely thing: the person who answered the phone at the vet’s office recognized me. During Archie’s last two years, we spent a lot of time there, and on his last day, there was not a dry eye in the clinic. He was kissed and loved on. That’s how close we were. Ashley, the vet tech I spoke to, was so excited for us and told me that we had been missed. Unspoken was the thought on both our minds: we all missed Archie.
As I got off the phone, that lovely scripture in Isaiah came to mind:
“I will give you beauty for ashes.”
A year ago I could not even consider another dog, but little by little, healing happens. I’m looking forward to introducing our new babies to our friends at the clinic. It will be a time of reunion and happiness. And if I look out of the corner of my eye, I may even see Archie’s shadow in the corner, reminding me of another reunion sometime in the future …