I was looking for a new puppy (did you know that new puppies smell almost as good as newborn babies?). Not too big, not too small. I was told that dachshunds had very good temperaments and that they were great with children.
I went looking…
In the West Village, a store was selling puppies, but they had no dachshunds. The salesperson asked me what I was interested in and I said,
“A dapple dachshund.”
“Ahhh,” he told me. “We have one, but nobody wants him. He’s on sale.”
“Where is he?” I asked.
“Downstairs,” I was told.
What was downstairs? I pictured a dark, dank basement with little cages lined up in rows and columns. Dirty, smelly. Nobody to play with.
Up came the dog. He was definitely bigger than what I was expecting. There’s always something so nice about a brand new puppy who is twelve weeks old or so. You fall in love before you can even think about all the crying they will do, the training you will do, the sleep you will lose. This one wasn’t so cute. He was a dapple dachshund — brown and black and grey. He was six months old rather than twelve weeks.
He looked at me with the sweetest little ugly face and I was immediately in love.
“He’s half price,” the owner told me. Clearly she thought she had finally found the sucker who would take this one off of her hands.
She was right.
I picked my daughter up at school and we immediately drove over to see him. She fell in love with him the instant they met.
“We’ll take him,” I said happily/warily.
My daughter named him Grandpa, much to my father’s horror. “Why would you name an ugly little hotdog after me?” he has asked us time and again. We send him adorable photos of Grandpa whenever we really want to annoy him and he always replies by telling us that Grandpa is the ugliest dog he has ever seen. It makes us laugh.
When we call his name on the streets, or on the beach, or in the park, old men turn to stare. Calling “Grandpa” is similar to a young child calling out “Mommy” in a park. How many women turn their heads? It is unavoidable.
Grandpa is a great dog. He is sweet and cuddly. He sleeps under the covers, getting as close as possible. He is a living, breathing hot water bottle.
Grandpa is a city dog. He likes to go to the bathroom on pavement. Take him to a park or a yard and he is at a loss. He will look for a hard surface before relieving himself. Grass is for rolling in, nothing more, nothing less.
Grandpa likes other dogs. He has a friend named Goliath — a big Great Dane. Grandpa doesn’t realize that Goliath is bigger than him. He does not discriminate based on size.
Grandpa made friends with a deer a few summers ago in East Hampton. He loved the deer and she loved him. Grandpa does not discriminate based on race.
We saved Grandpa from whatever fate awaited him at that puppy store years ago. He is a special little boy. He is our best little friend.