Family

What our dachshunds taught me about parenting

I got Dixie Dog just over 7 years ago from a family in the country whose pet had a litter of puppies. Dixie and I lived alone for about a year until it came time to move into my future husband’s house. At first Dixie was a point of contention. Mitchell adamantly did not want an indoor pet, and for me Dixie and I were a package deal. So we compromised that if Dixie would be crated through the day then she was welcome to come stay too.

Dixie has an uncanny ability to grow on all people and animals who do not like her, even those who “just aren’t dog people”. She will not be intrusive, but she will be persistent and patient until inevitably she is on your lap and in your heart and that’s that. So Dixie grew on Mitchell, but after about a year she became lonely for puppy companionship. She started digging her way out of the backyard and running around the neighborhood in search of other dogs to hang out and play with. It soon became a safety concern, and we decided she needed a partner at home.

We found out that there was a dachshund rescue just a few miles from our house. When saw a picture of “Tiny” we instantly knew that he was our dog. We learned that Tiny was a stud dog who had been kept in a pin most of his life. His owner had been arrested on drug charges, and Tiny remained in his crate for an undetermined amount of time before being rescued. We brought Tiny home and re-named him Snickers because he is nougaty on bottom and chocolaty on top. His middle name, Dobby, came later. We installed a doggy door, and he has never had to stay in a crate since.

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Poor, poor , poor Snickers was such a timid dog. He was always shaking and scared, the opposite of social and confident Dixie. Snickers and Dixie did not even acknowledge each other for weeks, and Snickers could not be petted without urinating everywhere. We debated if he was the right fit for our home. Then one night while we were eating dinner they started to play together. Mitchell and I sat back quietly and watched. I’ll admit I think I was even crying. From then on the two have been inseparable. Snickers has made progress, but still to this day many times he cannot handle being petted without peeing. His idea of affection is sitting on your lap or next to you. We know that now though and can accommodate him better.

together

As we were preparing for the birth of our first child the dogs kept thinking all of the new fun stuff we were bringing home was for them. I caught Dixie in the baby’s swing, and Snickers curled up with the boppy. We were so curious how they would react to the new addition in our family. Fast forward a few years. . . .we have two kids. Our son is 3 ½, and our daughter is 1 ½ . Dixie sleeps at the foot of their beds, brings them toys to play fetch, and is always getting hugs and kisses. Even though Snickers tries to politely avoid the kids, when we have company he always positions himself between the kids and our company and is very protective of them. Oddly enough like Dixie Dog and Snickers Dobby, our son and our daughter get along very well and have very different personalities. If we are at busy restaurant with loud music, one of my kids will be dancing in their seat and saying hi to everyone that passes while the other will have their hands over their ears wanting to leave.

 

swing

Besides getting used to being peed on, these two dogs helped me prepare me to be a more understanding parent. I realize that what may work for one may not work for the other, and what one needs the other may not. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses and our quirks, but when you put them all together they are pieces that make up our family as a whole.

 

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