Yappy Dog

It’s the day after Christmas and all through the house it’s quiet—blessedly quiet.

Over time I’ve come to suspect that the Man Upstairs not only reads my books, He has a wicked sense of humor.

One of my main fictional characters, in fact my first fictional character, J.P. Beaumont, has often, over the course of twenty-something books made his position on “yappy little dogs” painfully clear—he doesn’t like them. And for a long time, I didn’t like them either.

Beau’s problem with little dogs, especially dachshunds, grew out of my non-fictional husband’s long-ago experience. On the occasion of his first date with the woman who would become his first wife, he went to Lynn’s house to meet her parents. At that point, the family dog, a standard dachshund named Moxie, took one look at Bill, launched himself at Bill’s ankles, and nailed Bill’s achilles tendon, drawing blood and wrecking his sock. Bill and Lynn went on to fall in love and marry, but Moxie regarded Bill as public enemy number one as long as the dog remained on the planet. It seemed like a good story to me, so that became part of Beau’s history.

After a collection of family golden retrievers, Bill’s and my first experience with Doxies as a married couple came when we found a starving and terrified miniature long-haired dachshund abandoned on a busy 116th Avene here in Bellevue. We took her home and named her Bella. She was a dignified little princess of a dog who was able to carry off her duties of being Bella the Book Tour Dog with both aplomb and style. And she was so easy to get along with that we mistakenly assumed that was the nature of ALL miniature long-hairs. Let’s just say we were wrong.

So we came home with Jojo. She’s cute. She’s mischievous. She’s a perpetual puppy. I don’t believe she’s ever going to grow into having so much as a shred of dignity. And then, with Bella gone and Jojo lonely, we went back to the breeder and came home with Mary, a retired breeding mommy dog. It turns out that dogs used as breeders have a whole textbook of issues, and Mary exhibited all of them. It’s been a long learning curve for the whole family.

For the first two months, she remained glued to Bill’s chair, sitting beside him for hour after hour without making a sound. Ah, for the good old days! Quiet is no longer the order of the day.

This past Sunday, two days before Christmas, was Lil Jul Aften, our major family Christmas gathering. For the better part of three days, we had the better part of two dozen people coming and going from our house. And what happened?

Mary and Jojo barked every time someone entered the house and every time someone left the house. Okay, so they announce arrivals, that’s fair, I suppose, but do they have to announce each and every departure as well? And once a visitor has taken a seat somewhere, according to the dogs’ frame of reference, that’s where they are supposed to “sit and stay!” Each time a guest would move to a new location, that was also the occasion of another full-throated barking announcement.

Oh, and did I mention, they both disapprove of having short-legged guests. They did not appreciate having our now year-old great grandson grabbing toys out of their toy box or occupying their space.

So yes, it’s quiet around here, today, and I’m very grateful.

When we took Bella on book tours, there were plenty of small-dog lovers who reminded me of the previous error of my ways. They didn’t appreciate Beau’s snarky comments about their beloved little dogs, and now everybody is getting even.

Karma, as they say, is a bitch—in this case a pair of long-haired miniature dachshund ones. In fact, they’re barking right now. Someone must be in the driveway! End of the quiet. End of the story!

16 thoughts on “Yappy Dog

  1. I have only known about 4 or 5 weiner dogs well. Sweet and always underfoot. Do not remember yappy. Bad backs. I, even now, have an issue with yappy dogs as I walk the block. A few neighbors in the last 20 years have had little dogs. Often friendly, but properrty alarms! The ones who are the kids of the house seem possessive.

    I missed the news about a great grandson. Congratulations. The newest puppy in my family just turned one. Golden. He had a ball with my 6 greats at Christmas. Rarely barks. Good news, my daughter and her hubby are going to get a lab puppy.

  2. Thank you for your weekly “story”. I love it. Our current 4 yr. old dog was a “rescued from death” 9 week old puppy who was found in a cardboard box by the side of the road. He has learned to trust us, but he does NOT like changes to his schedule. If it is 3 PM and we aren’t following his routine, he wants to know why not and he barks just so we will notice. Our house is quiet since Christmas morning when the last guests left = it’s really nice. Happy New Year to you and yours. jan

  3. Our darling Chihuahua, Rowdy, has saved us from being murdered many times by mailmen, the garbage man, and countless others walking down the street. No squirrel or bird gets by him. A blowing leaf sends him into a frenzy. The neighbor’s barking dog drives us both nuts. Sometimes I believe he barks at the wind. We adore him, love him to death but, the barking, dear Lord, the barking.

  4. A leaf flying by usually sets off the two doxies next door. In their world, it is apparently normal behavior to bark for a good five minutes once the leaf has gone by.

    Of course, my lab/rottie mix will rush to the door so he too can see what there is to bark at. He’ll try to chime in with the doxies, but he gets told to hush rather quickly. That results in a groan and the giving of the evil eye.

    What would we do without our furbabies to keep us entertained?

  5. That is why I always love big dogs; retrievers. We had a black lab and he was friendly but did bark when strangers came but he thought they were coming to visit him so he got excited and ran around. But as you said little dogs are barkers or yappers and don’t like it all the time especially when you have company. Sadly our lab has been gone now for five years and our cat died a couple months ago and we have no animals and miss them. At our age we wonder if we should get any more; at 75 and 85 years old we can’t keep up with a puppy but I still look at areas that have rescue animals. Maybe some day.

  6. I just lost my almost 15 year old Chihuahua Tessa, and like your dogs she loved to announce every visitor with loud barking, then a repeat performance when they left, or if they moved from their seat…Don’t know why, but I understand. However I really miss the noise…the quite just makes me miss her more.

  7. Wow. You are preachin’ to the choir. We adopted Augie (age, 2, 3 or 4) a little over 9 years ago. He was used as a breeder in a puppy mill. Thankfully he was rescued and eventually made his way into our home.
    A huge learning curve ensued along with a lot of $$$ to a trainer. Hours and hours spent working with him.
    We adore him and he’s a major cuddle bunny . . . . but a barker. He loves us and a few others but that’s it. I could go on but the fact is that life for us changed a bit and we wish it was different but it isn’t and we’ve adapted because we love him.
    We’re very fortunate that we can easily board him with a woman that also loves him and, best of all, he loves her.
    You never know what you’re going to get – same goes for human kids – but you persevere.

  8. I do home health care so I get to interact with dogs on a regular basis. I always get a good sniffing because of my cats. I talk to them just like I do my cats and mostly we get along fine. My current clients ‘ daughter has two doxies. I have never seen such well behaved and quiet dogs. Totally amazed me! They bark to alert and that’s it, so nice.

  9. I’ve been around doxies most of my life. My favorite by far was Shaggy, a wire-haired doxie. He wasn’t the brightest dog in the world but he was sweet and loyal. As he got older he lost a lot of his hearing, which made him perfect for an apartment dog because he couldn’t hear anything to bark at. He’s been gone over 10 years and I still miss him. My current dog is a chiweenie (chihuahua/dachshund) rescue. The Humane Society thought he was 8 and I’ve had him 6 1/2 years. He’s finally loosing his hearing also and doesn’t always hear me call him. But he still sees fairly well and will bark at the neighbors and their dogs. I sometimes with I had a bigger dog to take on walks (Louie HATES walks) but he’s a good lap dog.

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