In my last post back in October, I told about life with the three dachshunds that have been part of our family: Scrapple, Oskar and Toby. Not long after that, Toby (age 10) went downhill very quickly due to a Stage 4 cancer. The night before we took him to the vet, I pulled Toby's fluffy bed next to mine. When I woke in the wee hours, I knew he would need pain medicine. Toby surprised me by appearing in the hallway. I let him out and he made a loop around the pool. I fed him a scrambled egg and applesauce and we sat on the couch, spending a few precious hours together before the end came.
Although we still mourned Toby's passing and missed his presence in the house, I told Andy I wanted another dog. A friend told me about PetFinder, a service that lists dogs in shelter or foster care. I filled out an application specifying the type of dog we were wanted (a small dachshund a few years old, since we didn't want to start over with a puppy). A PetFinder representative told me about Ana, a five-year-old mini dachshund.
Ana had been the property of a "backyard breeder," producing an unknown number of litters in her five years of life. She was turned in to PetFinder when they didn't want her anymore. We scheduled a home visit with her foster family and the representative from PetFinder. While she was a little skittish and unsure, Ana warmed up to my husband very quickly and allowed me to hold her. We made arrangements to pick her up from the foster family after I returned from a trip to New York City with my daughter.
Though there were some problems the first few days, she soon began to acclimate to her new surroundings and walked around constantly wagging her tail, as if to say thank you. We found that she didn't want to be in the crate at all (possibly a reminder of her former life). Ana was not interested in sleeping next to me and preferred to snooze on a blanket in the family room. Then I bought her a little Snuggler bed, a round cushion with an attached blanket. I put it next the bed and Ana immediately claimed it as her own. When I'm getting ready for the night, she hops in and waits for me to cover her up. When she hears me stirring in the morning Ana jumps up on our bed and snuggles for a few minutes before breakfast.
Because of her history, Ana initially did not know what a treat was or what to do with a toy. When I tried rolling a ball to her, she just looked at me quizzically. While she doesn't play like most dogs, Ana loves having me grab her snout and move it back and forth. When I stop, she gets her nose under my hand and lifts it. Her favorite spot is in Toby's big fluffy bed in front of the fireplace.
Ana is very affectionate with both of us. She's right next to me when I'm sitting on the couch, but also loves to hop up on Andy's lap. Our grandson Noah adores her. She goes for a walk with me each day and loves to explore the back yard. We didn't hear her voice at first, but now she greets visitors with a few barks until she sees who it is or growls under her breath, which is hilarious. Like Toby, Ana loves to look out the front window from a perch on the arm chair.
While it's true that we rescued Ana from an unfortunate life, she also rescued us from a time of sadness and brought much-needed joy into our lives.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.