Dexter was a Dappled Dachshund (chocolate merle) and the best surprise gift I have ever received. Dixie Dog was five years old when Darin and Devin came home with Dexter, a tiny puppy, as a Mother's Day gift in 2001. My heart melted into a big ol' pile of mush when that tiny flop-eared pup got out of the truck and marched up to me with his proud little head held high. Dixie Dog was not exactly thrilled about her new roommate but eventually
Dexter had a bit of a wild hair and he wanted so much to be the alpha dog, a title Miss Dixie was not about to surrender. Dixie never left the yard. She knew the boundaries and stuck to them. Dexter...not so much. He went next door and barked at the neighbors when they were in the yard and ran circles around them while I tried to catch him, he was known to bite at the shoes and ankles of new people who came to the house and jump up in a chair at the table and eat your food right off your plate if you turned your back for too long.
But he was also a very sweet and loving little dachsie who, like most all dachsies, could steal your heart right out from under you. If I held him or put him in the bedroom until the new people were seated in the house I could then let him out and he would love them to pieces.
After Darin's accident though he became a little harder to handle. I believe he felt a little lost (well, all of us did) without the person he saw as the leader of his pack and thought it his utmost duty and honor to protect his family. And to him that meant biting our neighbor's ankles as she tried to take her daily walk.
I was struggling. With grief. With caring for a baby and a four year old on my own. With life as I knew it. We didn't live on a busy street and usually he'd go right out, do his business and come right back.
Well this particular day, I let him out and then went to tend to my crying baby when I heard him barking like mad. I went to the door to see him at the top of the driveway and the neighbor jumping around. I yelled at him and she yelled back at me, "Do you know your dog BITES?!"
I was between a rock and a hard place. He tended to get more brave if I was with him so my fear was that if I walked up there he would only bite her again. I decided to make my way up there and managed to wrangle him in though I think he did get a couple of more nips in first. She was gracious. She really was. She, after all, knew what I was going through. She just wanted to know if he had had all his shots which, thank goodness, he had.
I apologized profusely, took my bad little wiener in the house and went on about my day which consisted of running some errands. Later that afternoon when I picked the boys up at my mother-in-law's, my sister-in-law (who was there picking up her kids), informed me that the neighbor (who worked with her...it's a small town!) had come to see their nurse just to get her bites checked out because she was actually off that day.
And the nurse informed her that she had no other choice but to report it to the police because there was a law stating that if someone came to her with a dog bite, she had to report it. Well, my nerves did not need this!
I got home to find a police officer's card stuck in my front door. He had written... your dog bite a person please call me. I remember because the fact that he wrote bite instead of bit and did not capitalize or punctuate really got under my skin.
So I was a good citizen and called the police department to be told that I would need to come on down to the station to show proof of his rabies vaccination and to sign a form that stated I agreed to keep him quarantined for a few days. I honestly think he was trying to fight back laughter over the fact of the matter... this tiny little wiener dog had been reported for unruly conduct.
I wasted no time having my backyard fenced in, which he loathed, but it had to be done.
Dexter Dog got sick that Fall. The vets determined he had an autoimmune disease, Hemolytic Anemia, and despite all the efforts of the animal hospital team and all the money I spent, he died about three days later. I was, of course, devastated. He was only three and a half years old. And that was seven years ago this month.
But still to this day we laugh about little Dexter Dog stories, especially that one about the time he got in trouble with the law!