In the last post, I introduced standard poodle Sam, the model for Kimberley West’s Rorschach, and confessed my humiliation when Sam decided to entertain the crowd at his one and only obedience competition. Today I’d like to introduce Tucker, the miniature longhaired dachshund who served as the model for Al in The Blue Diamond.
Tucker is Sam’s best buddy and, like most dachshunds, has no concept of his size. He’s also not aware that dachshunds are supposed to be, well, not exactly obedient. Unlike Sam, Tucker actually obtained his novice obedience title. In fact, the first time this darling dog competed in an obedience trial, he not only performed darn near flawlessly, he captured the coveted “High in Trial” title.
Yep, a dachshund — a breed known for its independent hunting ability — won an obedience trial. Sam, please note.
What??? You don’t like zoomies???
Most dachshunds you see are miniature versions of the original basset hound sized critters. With their long backs, short legs and proportionately huge feet, dachshunds were uniquely structured to chase badgers down into their holes.
At some point in history, people started breeding dachshunds as primarily companions. In addition to developing a small version, breeders tweaked dachshund temperaments and coat types by introducing terriers and spaniels into the breed. Dachshunds with terriers in their background have wiry fur and an even more feisty disposition than their ancestors. Spaniel influenced dachshunds like Tucker and Al have long, silky fur, an affinity for water and, usually, a tendency to cuddle.
I’m not cute!!!
Tucker does not do cuddle. His vision of himself is of a large, tough guy who can take on anyone. Whereas Sam views small critters as potential playmates, Tucker pursues them with the intensity of the Baskerville hound himself. Problem is, with his small size, masked face and fuzzy feet, Tucker looks more cute than ferocious.
We avoid using the two “c” words — cuddle and cute — around Tucker. Wouldn’t want to destroy his self-image.
However, what Tucker doesn’t understand is that his cuteness has, on more than one occasion, spared his life. True, Tucker wouldn’t dream of doing zoomies in an obedience ring. He saves his special skills for when no one is watching.
Al’s thieving ways — as noted in The Blue Diamond — were based on Tucker antics. I’ve actually watched this little guy push a kitchen chair over to a table, hop onto the chair, onto the table and, from there, onto the counter where tonight’s roast was defrosting. He showed no remorse when told this behavior is unacceptable.
Then there was the time Tucker and Sam were scheduled to perform at a big event two hours away. Along the way, Joan (Tucker’s keeper) purchased a small package of powdered sugar donuts. She ate one, then tucked the rest into the door pocket. We arrived at the show grounds and proceeded to unload our stuff, leaving the two dogs in the air conditioned car.
Knowing Tucker’s proclivity for trouble, we took turns policing him. And every single time one of us looked into the car, Tucker was sitting calmly in the same spot.
Apparently, however, Tucker had his own agenda. He somehow computed how long it took us to complete one trip from the car to the stage and back. After we’d unloaded all of the dogs’ stuff, we opened the car door to find Tucker sitting as before — with powdered sugar all over his face.