Note: Mac was 15 years old this past November, and he was in a lot of physical discomfort. He was still dedicated to my daughter, but he had so many problems that she knew it was time. She had him put down a week ago today. We will all miss this great little dog, who had a wonderful life and brought a lot of happiness to the whole family. I wrote the following story about a year ago.
The last Christmas our daughter lived with us, we got her a puppy. He was the offspring of a friend’s tiny little Maltese and the neighborhood Dachshund who came visiting one day when she was out on a running leash in their back yard. This little five-pound momma had a litter of six finger-length pups, with all the varieties of color and markings you can imagine from such a combination.
Our daughter used to babysit for this family, and she immediately fell in love with one puppy in particular. When she first met him, he fit nicely into the palm of her hand. She talked about him all the time. That was in the late fall.
My husband got busy and built a crate for the pup, without telling our daughter, of course. Just before Christmas, he passed the crate over to our son, who stopped at the home of the puppies and picked up the one our daughter loved. He was too cute for words by that time. If memory serves he was about six weeks old.
When our son walked in the door on Christmas morning with the crate in his hands, Deb was completely taken by surprise. She was in tears pretty quickly, and Mac the Dachtese became our entertainment that day and for many months following.
That spring, Deb got her first phone call from the young man she would marriy. He was quickly a frequent visitor in our home, and Mac wasn’t especially thrilled. At four or five months old, Mac’s attachment to our daughter was very strong. When Aaron showed up, Mac would raise his little black lips and snarl. There was never an all-out attack, just the snarl. Often, Mac would insinuate himself between Deb and Aaron if they were sitting on the sofa. We laughed. Well, most of us did. Aaron wasn’t so sure.
Although Mac was doing well with house-training, we kept him off the living room carpet by propping a piece of plywood across the opening between the living room and dining room, exiling poor puppy to the back side of the house. One day when Aaron came over, Mac was especially unhappy. He growled and howled, but no one took much pity on him. We all went about our business.
In maybe fifteen minutes, I realized Mac was nowhere to be seen.
“Deb, do you know where the dog is? I haven’t seen him in several minutes.”
“Uh oh. Better check.” Deb got up and stepped across the plywood, checking first in the kitchen and then coming back through the dining room to the bedrooms. I’d gotten busy with something else, so when I heard her say, “Oh, NO! Mac! Bad dog! NO!” I had to go see what the problem was.
She found him in the bathroom. He had spun all the toilet paper off the roll and trailed it all over the place. Fun new trick. But that wasn’t all. In several places, this tiny little dog had dropped enough doodoo to make a whole new version of himself! Piles of it, all over the bathroom floor. Then he had sneakered out to a corner in the dining room, leaving another pile in one corner. When Deb found him, he was hiding behind the bathroom door.
“Oh gross! Oh man! I can’t believe this! How could such a little dog have that much in him! Mac, you little brat!” As she cleaned up the mess, though, she began to laugh. And so did all the rest of us–except Aaron. This was such a perfect display of alpha dog marking his territory, letting Aaron know who was boss, keeping Deb’s attention on himself.
Well, things are better now. Mac has reluctantly accepted Aaron’s alpha male position, and has even welcomed three new little people into the mix. He and Aaron aren’t exactly what you’d call soul mates, but they do all right.