Nothing brings me quite as much joy as the four little ten-pounders that share my home and my heart. The second in a series of accidental adoptions is Chilli, a dachshund. He is a comedian, professional, I swear. And mischievous. Sometimes just looking at him makes me laugh; all it takes is a sideways glance and I know he’s up to something. He will walk past me while keeping his eyes trained on mine so that I can see the whites, making him seem all the more suspicious.
As a formidable lizard hunter, I often find him on his back doing the shimmy on a fresh kill in the backyard. In the wild, animals will do this to throw off their natural scent, protecting them from predators. Because my tiny postage stamp backyard is wild. And full of predators. In his pursuit of lizards and other critters – he seems to like to catch mosquitoes as well – he often finds himself deep in the plumbego bushes emerging covered in sweet little purple flowers. Brave warrior hunter indeed..
He is a great communicator. When he wants something he will let us know. He actually has different inflections in his moans, groans and whines. And even different barks. There’s the there’s-a-predator-on-the-other-side-of-the fence- (a huge dog named Jake) and-I-must -save-my-kingdom-by-slaying-him bark. The let-me-in bark. Not to be confused with the let -me-out bark. And he has an alarm bark. He has used this bark only a handful of times. Once when our cat had a seizure in another room. And time or two when he encountered a very long lizard without feet – a snake.
When he’s not barking, he’s talking. He has trained us on the nuances of his many tones. We know when he wants to be lifted onto the bed, covered by a blanket on the sofa or when he has shoved a toy or treat under the stove and now wants it back. It’s clear when he is displeased with a situation and when he is content. He’s a great sigher.
He is cuddly, sweet, and a nuzzler. He honors the person holding him by wrapping his long, dignified nose around their neck and if he is released from this snuggle before he’s ready he will press his head into their neck creating a force that will not allow him to be removed until he’s ready. He hugs with his giant paws. And his is a kisser.
He likes to sleep in. He will often remain under the covers long after the rest of the pack. Unless of course there is food. Above all else, he is a champion eater. God help the dog who is not finished eating when Chilli is done. He will charge nose first into any bowl that may have a scrap of kibble left, shoving aside whatever dog belongs to that bowl. It’s just understood that you don’t fight Chilli for food. For this reason we feed him a few pieces at a time to give the others a chance to eat. I don’t think he actually chews his food. Ever. With his great anteater snout he simply places it over the food and inhales. We call him Hoover.
The little white hairs on his face tell me he’s aging, but his energy level and agility tell a different story. This little guy still believes he’s a puppy. And who am I to argue with that.