The Characters


 
Patches is an elderly dachshund who belongs to my brother. She was thought to be sterile for many years but then unexpectedly delivered a singleton pup (my Willow). She is my brother's joy and second only to his children and grandchildren. I'm not sure how old she is but definitely in the double-digits.
 
Fred is also a dachshund and was rescued from the freeway by a young lady who saw him get hit by a car. She fixed him up and then gave him to my brother. He has been horribly mistreated in his past. Any sudden movement still makes him scream, pee, and roll over. I am especially fond of him and carried him to my shop with me when he was here. He loves everyone these days although there was a time when he wouldn't let anyone touch him. Fred is also Will's dad.
 
Fred was attacked by something at my dad's house. The attack resulted in a broken "windpipe" or trachea. I honestly thought he would die before we could get him to the doc. The doc glued his windpipe back together - yep - like with some kind of surgical superglue. It worked and Fred is back to his old self but he doesn't wander very far any more (and I don't take Will to Dad's).
 
Hans and Gretchen are Patches and Fred's latest (and last) babes. Hans grew up to be a wonderful, well-adjusted 15 pound dachshund with his mom's severe overbite. Gretchen is a 10 pound, absolutely beautiful little girl who is afraid of strangers. Go figure. She was always shy and didn't like being picked up while Hans thrived on being held. When I wanted to play play with Gretchen, I had to lay on the floor. Then she would come alive, wiggling and squirming to plant puppy kisses on my face. Hans went to a home with children, Gretchen now owns two older folks.


 
Willow is now almost three years old. He has learned that he is not as tough as he always thought he was. Mac the boxer is now 2 years old and weighs close to 80 pounds. Although he is a sweetheart with everyone human, he is an unneutered male and demands respect from Iddy Biddy Willie. He visits almost daily.
 
My son and his family are here and they have 7 dogs with them, 5 American pit bull terriers, one Patterdale terrier, and one Pekingese. Except for the Peke, they're all wonderful dogs. Dale is concerned with pit bull rescue and is a careful breeder.
 
Christie is a 7 year old Pekingese who belongs to the other grandmother. She's a good example of why you should never buy a puppy from a flea market kind of place. She can be sweet but she is also spoiled and tries to bite when she doesn't get her way. She tolerates Will but refuses to get along with anyone else. She got out of the house last winter and was hit by a car. When they found her, they thought she was dead but then she took a breath. She had a small limp when she arrived and was underweight but she is looking much better in spite of her pop-eyes.
 
Boomer the Patterdale is 90% engery and 10% attitude. I think he has springs instead of legs. Patterdales are named for a village in northwest England where they are thought to have originated. They are not an AKC registered breed but have been around for about 100 years. Boomer is intelligent, loving, and a bouncing ball of fun. He stresses over the big dogs so we try not to let them suprise him.
 
Rosita is a 3 year old sweetie who has vision problems and will be going to a special home very soon. Rosita came from a different type of environment, a very harsh one, but she has adapted well and enjoys Will's company. She grooms him and tolerates all his dachshund quirks. She has attached herself to me and is lying next to me now. J and Sassy are outside so Rosie can have some "family time" with us. Sassy does not like having another mature girl around so we keep them seperated. J doesn't care about anything except getting his pets but is quite intimidating to Rosie so he is having "yard time", too. Rosita's vision problem has increased just since I've known her - since May. We're not completely sure what caused it since we don't know all that happened to her in her previous life but we don't think it is genetic, rather we suspect an injury. We have a vet investigating it.
**When Rosie first started staying in the house at night, she was afraid to leave her crate. She has earned my love and respect by overcoming her fears and her handicap to become a wonderful lady. I once wrote a poem about Plain Brown Dogs who never get enough attention. Rosie is a plain brown dog but she has a beautiful soul.
 
Squishy is 4 months old now and is also quite hyper but she loves to snuggle. She is what is called a "red nosed" pit bull. Dale doesn't generally like them but he got her anyway. She's a typical pup, into everything and falling asleep in the strangest places. We've moved the living room couch to storage so these guys have more room for play and now we have the "little dog races" around the living room every night. Alas, Squish is now bigger than Will and Boomer and tends to bump her head under chairs and tables.
 
Tinkerbell, Cantoo, and Strawberry Shortcake are the remnants of a litter and are 8 months old. Tink is deaf and we have found a home with a deaf child for her. The pups were in a kennel outside all summer and escaped at least once a day. They adore J and Sassy and, although the feeling is NOT mutual, there is no problem with aggression. The pups were orphaned pretty early by cancer so they think all the big dogs are Mom and Dad. Cantoo is 8 months old and probably weighs about 40 pounds. Rosita is three and weighs about the same. Cantoo may make it to 45 pounds. They are not 100+ pound, inbred, insane mutations but the result of careful breeding plan. Tink's deafness is caused by the same gene that causes deafness in Dalmatians and is related to her white and yellow coat. Tink is very well socialized having been raised in a home with two preschoolers but we do approach her cautiously since any dog may bite when startled and, being deaf creates a lot of opportunity for starting. Berry is the clown. She does cartwheels in the air and begs for attention. She and Squish both yodel when they are feeling left out and I'll try to get it on audio before they leave.


 
Mary Jane and Sorcha came to live with us after my daughter's stroke. Mary Jane is a dachshund wannabe with an attitude toward other dogs. Sorcha looks like a tiny blonde husky with an attitude toward people. Both dogs are about 15 pounds and Will is ecstatic at having two girlfriends his size. Mary Jane and Sorcha are older dogs and I believe I first met Mary Jane in 2000 when she was about 6 months old. Sorcha is about a year younger. Both dogs have settled in well but, since Mary Jane hates Sassy and J, we had to build a "contraption" for them.

The windows in our living room are about six inches off the floor. The porch outside is about a foot below the door. The ground at the end of the porch is almost four feet below that. We bought a cat-sized pet door and installed in a window. We built dog-porches on both sides of the window with a ramp to the porch outside. We cut a narrow slot from the porch rail and added some very steep steps down to the ground into the dog yard that we built five years ago for the pit bulls. Now the little dogs have access to the front yard and we don't worry so much about conflicts. A baby gate in a strategic location gives J and Sassy access to my computer room and they can lie in the hallway and keep an eye on us when we are in the TV/breakfast room. The little dogs sit in the recliner and watch TV with Jack.

Both girls have dealt with their issues; Mary Jane is often found sleeping next to Sassy and Sorcha no longer attacks people when they come to visit. Mary Jane is almost blind now from cataracts but Sorcha is amazingly healthy for a little old lady.


 
Dhango is a six month old heeler-catahoula cross - so we've been told. I believe the heeler part of it. He's another high energy, high intelligence maverick. As a kid, I once walked to the park to conduct an experiment. The restrooms at the park were built from cinder-blocks and I had a superball. I closed the door and gave the superball a mighty toss. In theory, the concrete walls would provide the ultimate hard surface to keep the ball going for several minutes. In practice, the soft body of a 13 year old girl was like a magnet. No matter where I stood, I seemed to get clobbered. That's kinda the way Dhango is. Or you might compare him and the house to a pinball machine with furniture, other dogs and people becoming the bumpers.

He has discovered that Mary Jane hates him and will go out of his way to pounce at her causing her to momentarily lose her mind and threaten to kill him. Thankfully, Sorcha is more than willing to play with him and Sassy tolerates his juvenile indescretions.


 
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