There is a lot of “turning corners” when you have puppies in your life. We have turned so many that we have been around the block several times. In a few days, the pups will be one year old, and looking back on our mutual path—a path that has at times seemed both rocky and uphill—it is hard to believe how far we have come . . .
I remember the day we picked up Sadie and Teddy. They were so tiny I could cradle both of them in my arms. They particularly liked my ancient red robe, where they could cuddle into the folds of the fabric. Those first few weeks, the pups were so sweet and innocent, spending most of their time sleeping in the kitchen, including 8 hours at night.
Little did we know that during that time, they were sizing us up. They soon let us know that sleeping downstairs while we were upstairs in that great big bed was a dachshund nonstarter. They communicated this by howling in high-pitched puppy voices at the bottom of the stairs. We had been advised not to put them in our beds, but our dear friends Lois and Luis, also doxie lovers, told us there was nothing sweeter than sleeping with a dachshund. They are right! Sadie and Teddy warm our feet and our hearts during the darkest and coldest hours of the night.
A trait many breeds of dog share is intuitively knowing your mood. After all, they spend a lot of time watching us, so reading us becomes second nature. Our pups seem to know just when we need a wet doggy kiss, when we need a distraction, and even when our feet are cold. This is probably why dogs have survived in human company so long. They even seem better at this than other humans. I could digress, but I won’t.
Dachshunds are notorious for being difficult to house train. Teddy and Sadie came to us paper trained, so it seemed natural to use newspaper and gradually move the paper outside. We never got that far. One day they decided that the newspapers and pee pads were toys—even if soiled. What did work was taking them outside a lot and using treats, until they got the idea. Doxies do love food! Still, it was a long haul, and then there was the issue of the rugs. But dachshunds are smart, if headstrong, and they love their canine comforts. They eventually figured out it was much more comfortable sitting on a rug than a hardwood floor. I’m happy to say all this was accomplished by the time they were ten months old (don’t roll your eyes!).
The second lockdown coincided with Sadie going into heat. That meant Teddy had to be out of the house. He went to our son Chris’s house, where he was loved and treasured. But it was not like home. And home was a tense place. Sadie barely ate. She didn’t play. She laid in her bed looking both irritated and tragic. I don’t know if she missed Teddy. What I do know is that he was on the receiving end of some pretty fierce hostility before he went to Chris’s. We visited Teddy every day, and one day as I left, I looked back and there he was, sitting in the hallway, with the saddest look on his face as he watched me leave.
But time passed, and we had a grand reunion. Within days we were in lockdown for the second time. For the next four months, we would be together. Even when we traveled to the desert, they accompanied us—a funny little family. And that brings us to the present . . .
Things are changing. Family is visiting. We see vaccinated friends. We go on walks that are slowly improving. It seems that every week, “the babies,” as we call them, master a new aspect of living with humans. Although they are becoming more “civilized,” they are still mischievous adolescents.
It is hard to believe they are a year old. At times I thought we had made a dreadful mistake getting two puppies. But when I think of how challenging the past year has been, I know the journey has been made much easier because of the two loving, intuitive, and annoying creatures that share our lives.
It is their birthday, but they were the gifts.
Happy Birthday, Sadie and Teddy!