If you have met me, within 45 minutes, it’s likely you will know I have a little dog named Daisy Petals. The sweetest dog I have ever known, she likes everyone and everything. But, it may take an acquaintance of, say, a few days, before you understand that I actually have two dogs: Miss Daisy, and, the king of our castle, Louie.
If Daisy is the Elizabeth Taylor of the canine world, fat, pretty, winsome, friendly, eyes you can melt in to, Louie is Dobby the House Elf, from Harry Potter, maybe mixed with a little Don Knotts. Like Daisy, he is a black, miniature dachshund. He is skinny as heck, usually shaking, with a worried look in his eyes. He does not cotton to strangers. In fact, I have had house guests for a few days at a time that have never even seen him; he’s that sly and wily. The only person aside from me that he really likes is my sister, and we think it’s because she sounds and looks so much like me.
With all that, Louie is very much the Alpha dog of our house. Behind closed doors, he is bossy, hilariously funny, and fairly aggressive about what he wants. He has pronounced likes: Daisy, string cheese, eggs, me, plush squeaky toys, McDonald’s French Fries, sleeping under a blanket, and having his belly rubbed. His dislikes are equally defined: vegetables, the vacuum cleaner, strangers, cheap dog food, and trips to the dog park.
Like all of my dogs, Louie has a back story, one that might explain his public timidity. In 1999, I went to a breeder’s house, to check out a litter of puppies. As an adorable pack of 6 week old pups frolicked around the room, I spied another dog, a bit older, with a black dappled coat and an anxious expression. Always attracted by the underdog, I picked the little guy up, as he squealed like a little pig, in terror. The breeder explained that he was 5 months old, left over from a previous litter, and nervous because he had had an unfortunate scare from a basset hound. She assured me that his timidity was temporary, he only needed love. Plus, he was on sale!
Never one to pass up a bargain, and certain my love would cure him of his trauma, Louie came home with me that day. 14 years later, he’s still reliving the trauma of the basset hound! Sometimes, just to mess with him, I will bay lightly in his ear when he is at rest. Oh, how we laugh and laugh at that!
For years, Louie had a bizarre and annoying habit. He would nibble at the hems of anyone wearing jeans in my house. Visitors would get up to leave and be quite distressed to find their expensive pants newly tailored by canine. Additionally, Louie would eat my pajama bottoms while I slept. Seriously, there was a significant period of time where all of my nightwear looked like Frankenstein’s pants, with jagged ends. But, when Daisy Petals joined our household, that weird behavior immediately ceased. Apparently, she completed him.
One more strange thing about Louie. He refuses to have his picture taken. I suspect it stems from some innate spiritual belief that his soul will be stolen, but it’s a bummer. I have spent many fruitless hours stalking the elusive wiener, to the result of maybe 5 pictures over his lifetime, as opposed to the hundreds I have snapped of Miss Petals, who will pose at the drop of a hat.
Louie is getting older now. At 14, which is 700 dog years, or something like that, he is gray about the muzzle and his dapple is more pronounced than ever. He snores like a grandpa, and on cold days, his back bothers him. But he still has the mischief of a puppy, given the right provocation. The other day I brought home a little bag from Mickey D’s, which I foolishly tossed on my dining table while I ran to catch a call. Two minutes later, I went back to the table to find Louie standing on it, head inserted in bag. I didn’t know if I should spank him, or applaud his effort, so I laughed instead. I wish I could show you a picture of this, but, well, you know.
The end, for now