There's one being in my life who is apolitical, has no opinions, doesn't talk back and is always glad to see me. That would be our four-year-old standard dachshund Toby. We picked him out of a litter of seven adorable puppies when we still lived in Delaware. He was much darker brown than his siblings, so the breeder's husband called him Blackie. Apparently he would put him on his chest while watching TV, so he was already spoiled rotten by the time we got him. We decided to name him Tobler, after the Swiss chocolate bar that comes in a triangular yellow box. When I tell a man what his name is, the reaction is always, "Huh?" But when I tell a woman (who is most likely a chocoholic) her eyes light up and she says, "Aw, I get it. That is so cute."
Toby was preceded by Scrapple and Oskar, who both lived to the ripe old age of fifteen. Scrapple was a hunter at heart, and loved the woods behind our Pennsylvania home, although he once tangled with some animal and came back punctured in a couple places. Oskar was more of a lover than a fighter.
On his first night with us, I deposited Toby in the crate, but after a 30 minutes of his whimpering, I gave in. So guess where Toby sleeps now--cuddled up next to me under the covers. He is a real mama's boy and follows me from room to room all day. For all of his general adorableness, he can be a bully. When he thinks it's time to eat, he plants himself in my line of vision and gives me the death stare until I put some kibble in his dish. Going outside has to be Toby's idea, not ours. He would rather not put his delicate feet in wet grass. Sometimes Toby gets out of bed during the night and sits on the floor whining under his breath until I give him a handful of kibble. I know, I've created a monster. But he's our monster, and there's nothing better than his warm little body next to me on the couch.
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.