I had intended to write something about:
- Whether it took longer to build the Hoover Dam or to finish a draft EIR for the cozy, little Monterey Downs project in Seaside.
- The ongoing congressional meltdown caused by House Republicans’ refusal to fund the Department of Homeland Security until it is renamed the Department of Building Impervious Border Fences and Catapulting 11 Million American Residents Somewhere Else.
- Sen. Rand Paul’s beautiful words about the passing of beloved Mr. Spock actor Leonard Nimoy, but I couldn’t find any statements about Nimoy issued by Trekkie-ish Paul or any other high-profile Republicans. I chalk it up to none of them wanting to appear soft on undocumented Vulcans after President Obama’s touching “I Loved Spock” statement. I leave it to right-wing “historian” Dinesh D’Souza to gauge what this means for Obama’s historically high, hating-America “D’Souza Ranking.” Hate long and prosper, Dinesh.
But, instead of any of that, a late-breaking report from the American Kennel Club demands immediate attention because it threatens a major domestic disturbance.
In 2014, dachshunds dropped off the AKC’s list of the top 10 most popular American dog breeds. I fear what happens when the two miniature dachshunds who control our household realize this depressing development. Minnie and Max don’t deal well with change.
If Max sees a suitcase being packed he starts trembling uncontrollably and no amount of doggie treats will console him. He fears his meal tickets are going on a trip from which no dog owner ever returns.
If Minnie hears a vacuum cleaner being plugged into a wall outlet she darts into a bedroom corner, slinks under her blanket and keeps repeating the dachsund mantra to endure the crisis: “Must eat, sleep and bark wildly at any person, animal or disembodied spirit that walks by house. Must eat, sleep ….”
Honestly, I can see how dachshunds may suffer the vicissitudes of popular taste. My own enthusiasm for dachshunds has been tempered by more than a decade of intimate knowledge of the breed. And I do mean intimate. Max sleeps under the covers with his entire length pressed against me, and he snores ferociously. When 5:30 a.m. strikes him as high time for breakfast, he employs a nose cold as a frozen blackberry to jolt random spots of my sleep-hungry flesh.
Just a few years ago, I was a big booster of dachshunds. What motor vehicle is more famous than the Weinermobile? None, thank you. Imagine the havoc that could be caused by a galumphing Golden Retrievermobile. Horrible.
Countless times I told patient souls how noble dachshunds were chased and kicked by “patriots” after the United States entered World War I to fight Germany, home of the tube-shaped canines created by German farmers to corner livestock-marauding badgers in badger dens. There were no reports of these cowardly dachshund haters kicking German shepherds.
And there were all the times I encountered parents pushing babies in strollers while I walked Max and Minnie. “(Gibberish) … WEENIE DOGS! … (Gibberish,)” the moppets exclaimed. Many young couples reported that “weenie” and “dogs” were the first words their children spoke. Strange, but true.
But lately my bullishness for the little bowsers has waned. They are stubborn cusses, difficult to train and able to emit a wide range of mournful whines when they don’t get what they want. Minnie has developed a whimper that sounds like a cooing 12-pound pigeon. It is impossible to ignore and can be stopped only by succumbing to her demands. Or by packing up and leaving, which throws Max into a trembling panic. Treats for two.
I’ve also discovered the aging dachshund is a more clinging dachshund.
Sit down and within seconds you will have Max in your lap. Go for a walk, and Minnie suddenly will be limping on legs that worked perfectly fine seconds before. She wants to be carried, of course. Her act deserves an Oscar (Meyer) nomination.
Still, there is much to be said for dachshunds. When two greet you at the front door, they produce such a whirlwind of joyous yelps, blurred tail-wagging and pawed ankles that you imagine a tiny marching band and colorful confetti falling on your shoes. Happy? You bet, their indentured servants are home.
I’ll keep the new AKC rankings under my hat. After all, it really means we dachshund owners are becoming a more select subset of dog owners, ever closer to some non-fungible 1 percent of folks with exquisite taste and little yappers.
For anyone foolishly interested in any dog breed but dachshunds, here are the 2014 AKC popularity rankings:
- Labrador retriever
- German shepherd
- Golden retriever
- Yorkshire terrier
- French bulldog