by Simon Wood
I love wiener dogs, especially the longhaired variety. As a kid, I’d always wanted a Doberman, but that all changed when my mum brought home a longhaired Dachshund puppy when I was 12 years old. Over the last 30 years, there’s only been one kind of dog in my life. I suppose I put my love of these little dogs down to their personalities. They’re tough, funny, conniving and far too clever for their own good.
When I moved to the US, I came Dachshund-less and my wife knew how much I missed having one of these little guys around. Instead of going to a breeder, we went to the Northern California Dachshund Rescue and we ended up finding Royston. He was a six month old longhair, who’d been abandoned on a riverbank. We took him. How can you not fall in love with a dog when you see him steal melon from a pig? He was a handful at the beginning because he was undernourished but more challengingly, he suffered with separation anxiety. He also thought every meal was potentially his last to the extent that he would hide a portion of his meal so that he could come back for it later. It took a few months for us to gain his trust and instill his belief that we weren’t going anywhere.
Our dog owning skills were tested again a few years later when Royston ruptured a disc in his back, leaving him paralyzed. Luckily surgery restored control to his back legs, but it meant he’d need physiotherapy. Working with the therapists at UC Davis, they taught me how to help Royston get the strength back in his legs through physiotherapy where dog treats provided a great incentive.Rescuing Royston had a profound effect on my wife and me, especially my wife. She’d had dogs throughout her childhood, but she hadn’t had someone quite like Royston. We started fostering Dachshunds on an occasional basis. We’d comb the listings of our local pounds for the Dachshunds on doggy death row. Any we thought we could help, we took. Several have been through our doors and we’ve found them new homes. And not just Dachshunds, but other dogs and cats. We’ve probably rescued somewhere around 40-50 cats over the last ten years and the four cats we have, were rescues that we didn’t have the heart to let go.
Fostering has meant we’ve become pretty insightful pet owners, as we’re part amateur vets and animal trainers as well as caregivers. I think we can handle most things, but the one thing I do know is that there’ll always be a Dachshund in it.
Watch for a review of Simon’s latest mystery novel later this month and check out this fun video interview with him on KRL’s YouTube Channel.