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Quiet Desperation

Sometimes when all seems good, that really is the case


If it’s on the floor, it’s on the menu. If it’s near the floor, it’s on the menu. Who would drink toilet water if he could reach it?

No, it’s not: 1. A Republican, or 2. A Democrat.

Who walks on four legs, and sleeps 18 hours a day? Who had a map of San Diego in his mouth this morning? Who has the power to improve a curmudgeon’s outlook with a brown-eyed glance?

You guessed it.

The word “puppy” comes from Old French “poupee,” which, in general, sums up Harry’s waking moments. That and chewing, shredding, and racing back and forth as if the Devil were trying to collect.

I haven’t seen anything like it since 1993. I bought a puppy that year too; Badger was my second dachshund.

Harry is my fourth. My fourth and final dachshund and dog and pet.

Smitty, my third, left last November. It was a very sad and lonely time around here. The house was all wrong without another life in it.

The search was on, the word went out, and, in short, I located Harry in Bevier, Missouri. How I got him here would be another column.

His given name was replaced with my father’s name.

But, to be honest, little Harry has been called “Smitty” more than once.

We have a routine. I wake at three or four and start the day with coffee and the newspaper. Harry, next to me on the couch, reads over my shoulder, and tries to get the pages in his pin-teeth and begin the Daily Shredding Cycle.

We have already become great friends.

I recommend dogs, unless you are allergic. Unless management won’t allow one. Be sure to do your research first.

If you want to adopt or purchase, you’ll be asked a lot of questions first. And you should be.

Remember pet stores at the malls with doggies in the window? You don’t see that anymore. A lot of those doggies came from mills, and the pet stores didn’t care who bought them.

That has changed. Mostly. Puppy mills still exist.

Harry came with letters of transit, a heath certificate, and proof of this and that. There have been numerous follow-up calls and reminders from the consultant.

After he has dispatched the morning paper, he goes to the floor as if he is exploring the New World. Nothing is safe.

I have emptied all of the lowest shelves in my office. Maps, envelopes, blank CDs, small books, manila envelopes. They were on the menu once.

He has toys: a bin of them. But he seems to prefer things that aren’t meant for him.

In the absence of children, my dogs have taken care of that adventure. The work is rewarded in unimaginable ways. If you know dogs, I don’t have to say another word.

Jennifer is co-parenting. She’ll take Harry for sleepovers and I’ll have a day or two by myself.

Harry, like Smitty, like Badger, like Hexe, is a red, smooth-coated dachshund. The big difference is that he will not get much bigger than he is right now: a little over eight pounds.

I was able to write this during his Basic Rest Cycle. The Basic Activity Cycle is coming right up.

Batten down the hatches.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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