Friday, July 10, 2009


It's funny how much work a pup and teenage dachsi can be. The effort required has certainly surpassed my expectations.
For one thing, dachsunds have small bladders, so you really hafta watch 'em and take them outside often, normally every two hours, but sometimes more, and rarely, less.

Secondly, neither Patti nor I have ever had a young puppy. The youngest pup I recall having was six months old, and already housebroken.
So I searched the innernet and got plenty of info.

Only take them out for five or ten minutes, and once they do their thing, praise them and bring 'em right back inside.

Yeah, right. This may very well work with most breeds but not these dachsi's. They go when they are ready.

Put them in a kennel type carrier when they sleep, or when you can't watch them, because they won't go where they sleep at, is more advice.

Hyeah. Please. Now, with Skully that wasn't a problem, but Little Miss? Well, after you get over the incessant whining, and you never do, and the crying makes you feel guilty..."I'm a monster! Free the puppy! Poor thing. Awww, it's alright. Don't do that. Oh c'mon, it's only temporary."
And then she does indeed pee n' poop in the carrier. Strike that idea.

When Little Miss whines it can mean several things:
She has to go.
She's hungry and/or thirsty.
She's tricking you so she can play outside, then she'll pee or poop when she gets back in. Argh!
She's tired and needs a nap.

I've never had a dog that fights sleep like she does, but our youngest daughter was like that. Sigh. Our youngest daughter is now grown up and is workin' as a psychologist at Fort Bragg, where she served four years as a Soldier in the 81st Airborne while goin' to school at night to get her degree. So she wasn't adversely affected by the fightin' sleep syndrome.
Come to think of it, I often fought sleep so I could read books as a kid, by moonlight sometimes, or the small amount of light coming under the door, or a borrowed flashlight under the covers. But I digress.

What I have found works best for the pup is to sit her on my lap and pet her, turning off all the lights I can, and grabbin' her every time she tries to escape to attack Skully or Cammilu (she loves to wrestle/play fight). Sigh. As Caesar, the Dog Whisperer says: "be calm and assertive." And that works with most other dogs, but not Little Miss. No, she's a rebel, an outlaw who laughs at the rules. However, persistance is rewarded, after many long battles.

A few days ago I was about to go to the store and Skully, who is always well behaved darts out like black lightnin'! I immediately followed, callin' his name. At first I walked fast, tryin' not to scare him, but he just kept runnin' down an old, unused road that's mostly getting overgrown now.
So I ran faster to keep him in visual range, soon going into an outright sprint.

Now, I haven't ran like that for ages, but I couldn't let Skully get ate by coyotes, or a bear or cougar. Yeah, as most of you know we live in the boonies, and I did see a black bear once, and a cougar, as well as plenty of tracks. But coyotes are the biggest danger to small dogs and cats.

Skully sped up and so did I. I briefly wondered how long I could keep this up. As most of you guys know, it wasn't too long ago I was at death's door under the care of hospice nurses and my wife, Patti, unable to walk or talk, or even read without goin' into a seizure.
I have made great strides since then, but I still have very little physical energy or endurance.

I pushed the thought out of my mind. I refused to stop, although my muscles were screamin. Oddly, I wasn't huffin' and puffin' for breath, I remember thinkin'. Even when I was extremely fit, during my Navy days, I would be breathin' purty hard at this point.
I have a mission, I thought, and I would. Not. Stop. Until I had Skully securely in my arms. Period. I ran faster and felt my adrenaline kick in. The minutes went by, and I was sure I had passed a mile, but I could still see Skully, about fifty feet ahead.

Earlier, he wanted to walk down that old road, and we walk it often. He loves it, having been born and kept in a barn for two years before we got him. So this was all new and fascinating to him.
One thing I have learned with dachsi's and terriers is that they can become obsessed with something, be it a rabbit or a mole or a smell, or whatever. They don't forget it, and it will stay on their mind sometimes for days.
For Skully it's this old road, and wild rabbits.

The road turned into a trail, and then barely a trail. Soon we were runnin' through brush and a lot of branches from the logging the owner of the property did a few years ago. Amazing how fast the cleared out land became overgrown with more small trees and brush.

Fortunately, this slowed Skully down a bit, but it also increased the danger of a sprain ankle for me. I looked ahead and saw woods about two hundred yards ahead.
At one point I was close enough to tackle Skully, but I didn't wanna hurt him.
He surged ahead, outdistancing me. Damn! Maybe I should've tackled him while I had a chance, I berated myself.

I forced myself to keep going, runnin' ever faster. My legs burned, and felt like they were about to spaz out. You see, I have peripheral neuropathy in my feet and legs, and sometimes the muscles will knot up into a herd of charlie horses, not too mention burn like hell which happens most the time. That sucks, of course, but I'm thank God I can walk again, and even run when necessary.
But if my muscles spaz out no amount of willpower would enable me to walk, let alone sprint.

No, I thought. Don't go there. I steeled myself and stopped thinkin' about it, as sweat drenched by face and burned my eyes. I poured it on, ignoring the pain. I gotta catch Skully, I was thinkin'. I just gotta.
The woods edged ever closer, but so did Skully. An idea popped into my head. What if I yell "No!" very loudly? It could make Skully stop or it could make him run faster.

When we got Skully, a few months ago, he would often cringe when we would bend down to pet him or pick him up. That's usually a sign a dog wasn't well treated or perhaps he was ignored.
Cammilu, our terrier would also do that when we got her, but now she trusts us. We would never hit our pets, except with a newspaper in extreme cases, or, I found a squirt bottle with water works purty good whe they misbehave. Especially when they dislike getting water on them. At any rate, nothin' to hurt them but rather get their attention.

I realized time was runnin' out. I had to try somethin' before my legs gave out or before Skully got into the woods, where I would probably lose him. I hoped this would work.

"No!" I bellowed. Skully stopped and cringed. Yes! I thought, quickly closing the gap.
I got ten feet away when I steeped on a branch. It snapped loudly and Skully got up, ready to bolt as he usually does at loud sounds.

"No!" I yelled again, launchin' myself towards Skully and grabbing him as he began to run.
I picked him up, balancing myself on the branches that littered the ground.

"It's okay, boy," I said calmly, cradling him in one arm and petting him. He wagged his tail tentatively, and eventually realized I wasn't gonna hit him.

"Yeah, it's okay," I said, as I slowly walked back to our home.

Halfway back I saw Patti who was lookin' for us. She smiled when she spied Skully.
I knew she would be out soon to help me find Skully. It took awhile for her to find where we had gone, but she did. She always has my back, God bless her!

I felt good, although my legs were killin' me.
I can still do more than I think I can do, I thought. Not that I wanna run like that again, but simply knowin' I can feels good. Getting stronger...yeah, that feels great, but as I told Julie this mornin', replying to her e-mail, it feels like I'm in bootcamp at the end of the day, and I can barely keep my eyes open as I fight sleep, the pup finally asleep on my lap and Skully sleepin' beside me.
I'm exhausted but I'm gettin' stronger.

I sure do miss you guys. I'll try to blog n' comment at your blogs more often, as I get stronger, as once again I realize I can do more than I think I can.
That feels Good!


walt said...


I'm outa breath just from reading that!

Cougars and bears, eh? Here, too -- though I have yet to see any up close. Bobcats abound, and all the usual varmints. Not "pet-friendly"!

Glad yer indurance is increasing!

robinstarfish said...

Skully was jes' introducing you to your new exercise regimen, that's all. Good dog. ;-0

Good thing dachs have small bladders. Can you imagine a dog that was mostly bladder? Like a water balloon. Ha ha! Now I have to pee.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I'm glad to hear you're feeling better.

We had the same problems you're having with our dachshunds way back when. We tried everything the experts said, but our guys seemed determined to do the opposite of whatever we wanted.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Ah those damn snapping branches! Ben, did your eyes pop out like they do in the movies when the “sneaker’s” jig is up?
Capt Quint says, “We’ll drink to our legs.”

Jimmy J. said...

So, the dachsis have to go every two hours? I must be related to a dachsi.

I'm finding out I can do a lot more than I thought too. When you hit seventy-five the motor doesn't rev quite so strongly and you want to surrender gracefully the things of youth. However, the activities of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi have fostered a need to work off a surfeit of anger and bile. Which has been accomplished by attending the gym and pumping ye weighty iron until reduced to a quivering mass of protoplasm. Such foolhardy activity has rendered me into a semblance of fitness not seen in a decade or more. I would not have believed it possible. But it is. And so it is with you. It stirs the ancient memory that we are made for movement and work. It is what our bodies thrive on. Go, Ben, go!

mushroom said...

It is great to hear you doing so well, Ben. Your recovery is nothing short of miraculous.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Walt1

Surprisingly, bobcats are about the only wild animal I haven't seen up here. I used to see lots of signs of bobcats and a rare two sightings as a boy in Oregon.
It helped that my grandfather was once a "predatory animal hunter" for the government back in the '30's. He could track anything.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Dojo- LOLOL!

Yeah, Skully viewed it as an adventure! He still has plenty of puppy in him as well.
Now he is obsessed with catching one of the many cottentail rabbits in the area. He came very close a few days ago, but Dad (me) couldn't run fast enough behind him so brer rabbit hopped into the briars post haste, with about a foot to spare.

Now, if he did manage to catch a rabbit, I wouldn't mind, having acquired a taste for them as a kid.
Patti wouldn't be thrilled, though. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Andrew!

Glad to hear it ain't just me. Our last dachsi was the same. Right now they both pretty much go outside at best: 80-90% of the time, and I think that's as good as it'll get.
I didn't mention all the other tactics I tried after scouring the internet.
Dachsi's laugh at all those tactics. :^)
Good thing we got plenty of newspapers to put down on the floor.

You know, i also noticed, especially with the pup, some "tantrum" peeing when she don't always get what she wants. Thankfully, that's happening less and less. It's like the "terrible two's" or somethin'.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hey Rick!

Ha ha! Yes, I believe my eyes did pop out momentarily when I realized the gig was up.

Great quote from Cap'n Quint! Ha ha!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Jim!

I'm beginning to get to that point as well. No more holdin' my piss for 12 plus hours like we used to do in the Navy more times than I can count. Ha ha!
Of course, during extreme emergencies we always had empty soda cans.
The hard part was waitin' in line after getting off watch or GQ to wait your turn to use the head. Especially if we were afflicted with diarhea. Thankfully, I never had any accidents, but it was a very close call at times.

That's good news, my friend, you hittin' the gym and putting on some extra muscle mass. That truly inspires me to keep on keepin' on!
Those scurvy scoundrels in DC (and in our state, and the left-wing propaganda ministry, I mean, the MSM, not to mention some of those idjits in Hollywood) sure make it easy to get fired up these days.

It's nice to see more of the conservative/classical liberal/libertarians speakin' up, though.
I always liked Craig T. Nelson, but now I have a lot of respect for him as well. Same with Gary Graham, Jon Voight, Gary Sinise, and many others who have taken the time to do a bit of research to get at the truth and who care enough to risk their careers to speak the out.

It's very refreshing to listen to them or read what they write after hearing years of idiocy, paranoid delusions and vicious bile from Sean Penn, Michael Moore, Rosie Odonnel, and the rest of the red faction in the Hollyweird side of showbiz that far to many Democrats cozy up to, including Obama.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Mushroom!

Thank you! And thank you for your prayers, one and all! Miraculous is right!
Makes me wonder, you know? I have so much to be thankful for! :^)

Gecko said...

Skully as your personal trainer, who knew? Well, those that "wait upon the Lord can run and not be weary..." Ben, I am so grateful you are regaining your strength.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks, Gecko!

I don't think I can keep up with your brother yet. :^)
How is he doing?