My love affair with dachshunds began early in life. Mom, Dad, Omi (Dad’s mom), and I were living in Munich, Germany, in the early 1950’s when they decided it was time to get a dachshund puppy. Dagwood was a standard long haired red dachshund. Over the years I heard the humorous stories about how Dagwood and I grew up together.
Dagwood’s name, for instance, really had me stumped. No matter how often we practiced or how easy my folks tried to make it, I had my own version of my new dog’s name. The lesson unfolded like this:
Dagwood and I potty trained at the same time. If Dagwood had an accident he would stick his nose in the puddle and run outside; if I had an accident I swatted my backside and ran to sit on the potty chair.
Dagwood and I shared everything. He especially liked how I shared my sandwiches. One bite for me and one bite for him.
After leaving Germany our family moved to Monterey, California. Omi enjoyed her daily walks on the beach with Dagwood. She liked giving him the off-leash freedom to run along the shore. More often than not he came back after rolling in dead fish or some other rotting matter. The clean up would be relegated to Dad when he came home from work. The hardest “clean up” challenge occurred after Dagwood rolled himself up in wet cement!
I have fond memories of playing hour after hour with Dagwood. We have 8mm films of me dancing, running, kissing, and hugging Dagwood in pure childhood delight. Dagwood heard every one of my Sunday School stories and kindergarten lessons.
As was the life of an army daughter, I moved often and in the middle of the second grade we transferred back to Germany (Kitzigen and Stuttgart). This time our family would be living in military quarters. Dagwood would not be able to go with us.
I do not know how we found Dagwood’s new family. I only remember the father coming to get him and Dad saying, “Don’t know if he will live many more years or drop off tomorrow…” Then Dagwood jumped into his new family’s car and was gone. I recall Mom telling people how Dagwood hated to ride in the car but seemed to understand this was his new life. He jumped in and never looked back.
I have no personal memory of what happened after Dagwood drove away. Did I run to Omi crying? Did I hide in my room? I do not remember how I coped with my grief, but I do know that from the moment he left my life an empty spot remained.
I also realize the gift my parents gave me by bringing Dagwood into my life for those few formative years. This began a lifelong affinity for these endearing creatures with unique physical characteristics and personalities.
I learned that to take a dachshund into my heart meant one day letting it go. I came to understand the old adage, “It is better to have loved (a dachshund) and lost, than never to have loved at all.”
I look forward to sharing stories about the dachshunds that have enriched my life. I welcome hearing about your special dachshund memories, as well.