He followed my husband home one steamy hot July morning. There were plenty of other people out walking or jogging, but for some reason, this dog wanted to come home with my hubs. I was still lounging in bed about 7am, when I heard the front door open and my husband say, “Boys! Look what I have!” And then, I heard the dreaded phrase every Mother fears . . . “Oh Dad! Can we keep him?”
That was my cue to scream, “NO!” before I even knew what it was they were wanting to keep, I jumped from bed I tore down the hallway to discover the skinniest, long legged Dachshund I had ever seen.
He was pitiful. Ribs sticking out through his rough fur. The pads of his feet were torn and raw, and the worst thing, there was duct tape stuck around his bony belly where someone had tried to tape him to something.
Our Beagle Lois Lane sniffed hello, then left him alone, not interested in becoming friends. The long legged dog ate a full bowl of food, drank a full bowl of water, then collapsed on the family room rug. He stayed in that spot for over 24 hours and slept. We woke him and had to carry him outside, but when we brought him back, he collapsed again in the same spot.
That first night, I awoke and thought, “What are we doing letting a strange animal inside the house? He could wake up and eat the faces off my children!” I got up and tip-toed into the family room, where the dog slowly lifted his head. He looked at me with the saddest, sweetest face, almost as if he’d been crying. I knew then, we had an understanding between us. I would let him stay, and he would never eat my children.
Doug grew strong and healthy. He loved Lois the Beagle and she tolerated him. The boys insisted on naming him Doug (Dug) after the talking dog in the movie, “UP,” which is a fabulous movie if you haven’t seen it. The name choice caused all sorts of problems with the friends and family we have named Doug and Douglas. We always tell them our dog is extremely handsome, and that makes them feel better.
Doug was the fastest, happiest dog at the Fairhope Dog park, but after we had to board him for two weeks (at what we thought was a wonderful kennel), Doug didn’t . . . how shall I say it, “play well with others.” A better way to put it was, he freaked out. He spent the entire summer hiding in my closet.
Doug went from being the most popular guy at the park, to a gloomy, angry dog. We tried everything we could think of including hiring a “dog whisperer” who basically told us he was a nervous dog (no kidding – here’s $75 for that genius assessment) and time would heal his fears.
One day at the dog park, the Dog Catcher ( I think the politically correct term is Animal Czar Officer of the World) approached Doug. My husband warned her that he wasn’t fond of strangers, but she persisted and Doug . . . “snapped” at her. No skin was broken, I’m not even sure he made contact, but it scared the woman to death, and that was the day Doug had to go into hiding.
I’ve never written about Doug on my blog for fear the law was searching for him and he had a bounty on his head. Over the years, Doug has adjusted and grown calmer, sweeter, and happier with strangers. He was always that way with our family members. Whatever happened to him at that kennel was finally resolved and Doug became his old sweet self. He’s still scared of thunder, wind, guitars, sizzling bacon, and candles, but who knows what horrors he experienced before he moved in with us. Poor guy!
And although this photo looks like Doug really is eating my son who fell asleep on the floor, he’s only snuggling and guarding his little boy. Through DNA testing my husband insisted on getting (YOU DID WHAT? IT COST HOW MUCH?) we discovered Doug’s father was a Vizsla and his mother was (get this . . .) half Dachshund and half Lab. Yikes. So, I was correct in saying he looked like a long-legged dachshund.
And that’s the story of Doug.