Guest Post by Sue Vosper
Joey is a miniature dachshund. We don’t know when Joey’s birthday is, because she came to us through the OSPCA and we don’t know anything about her time before us. Her exact age is not known either but we were told, and agree, that she was about six years old when we met her. I first saw Joey on April 6 and she moved in with us on the 8th of that month. So, we have made April 8th her birthday. Joey is now a spunky and sassy 18 year old. She has lived with us for the past twelve years.
Her name was not Joey when we adopted her. She was Totts, as in tater tot. That had to go. Joey was the nickname of my mother-in-law when she was a kid and she said that she would be “honoured” to have Joey as her namesake. She kind of looks like a baby kangaroo, anyway. Joey – not my mother-in-law. Joey gets called a lot of different names. Buttercup, wiener dog, whiny wiener, little girl, missy, muffin, punkin, brat, cutie pie, hey you – she comes to any and all of her nicknames. Joey doesn’t care what you call her – as long as it’s not “late for dinner”. I know, corny. Joey’s internal clock is so accurate that we can set our watches by her. She eats three small meals a day and if you are five minutes late, she will let you know. Hence, whiny wiener.
We live outside of town and share our space with many species of wildlife. Joey feels it is her job to make them keep their distance, big or small. Her personality is that of a happy, well adjusted “dog about town.” I’m sure that her time in the shelter was unsettling, with all of the strange smells and sounds. When I was there, to donate some food and towels, I took a walk through the kennels. I looked down, way down, and into a pair of beautiful brown eyes that went straight to my heart! I asked her to please stop staring up at me but she paid no attention. She has been happily ignoring me, as my companion and buddy, ever since.
Joey will obey commands and tries very hard to please but the hound in her only magnifies her selective hearing skills. Joeys loves the sunshine, warm rain, first snows, and just generally being outside. When new and exciting scents come to her on a warm breeze, she is nose to the wind and on high alert. She can track the path of a wild turkey, raccoon or any other visitor from the previous night with ease and single-mindedness. Something stinky to roll in, a hole not yet dug, a leaf that needs chasing down, a car ride, a knock on the door signalling a visitor – every day brings her delight in some way. I did discover that dachshunds are not built for swimming, though. I had her in with me, on a very hot day, thinking that she would enjoy the cool down. She did fine when she was going in a straight line but, when she looked back over her shoulder at me she flipped right over! Needless to say, she won’t go anywhere near the water now. Mud, shallow puddles and muck are right up her alley though.
Joey is a great little RV traveler with thousands of miles logged. I think New Orleans was her favourite destination (or maybe that was me). After all, who doesn’t love zydeco and Cajun music. Every fall we take a two week trip in the motor home. My sister and her lovely dog, Sherry, often accompanied us. Joey and Sherry were best friends, in spite of their differences – Joey being about the size of Sherry’s head! Sherry would wait for Joey to catch up when we were out hiking and Joey never minded being used as a pillow by Sherry. They ate out of each other’s dishes and slept in each other’s beds. Needless to say, Sherry didn’t fit into Joey’s bed very well.
Five or six years ago, Joey became suddenly paralyzed from her mid-back down to the tip of her tail. There were many trips to the doctor, x-rays, pain medication and a diagnosis of calcification on her spinal cord. We opted to have her treated with steroid injections and oral medication. This decision was made after much research into other options, like surgery. Joey also started going to a chiropractor monthly. She spent close to 6 months in her wheelchair or walking with the help of a scarf under her belly. Joey wore a diaper in the house and had more baths than she cared for during that time. The day we saw her tail move, just a little, we knew she would walk again. Both Barry and I had tears in our eyes!
Joey is spoiled daily, has a bed in every room and her own blanket and pillow on the big bed (yes, she sleeps with us). I made her a pillow out of an old shirt, that I had worn and not washed. We were leaving her with family when we were out of the country for a month and wanted her to have something that smelled like us so she wouldn’t be sad. If she was sad, at all, she just ate to compensate. She gained almost 3 pounds in a month! She normally weighs 11 pounds. That was about the time we started to make her food and I really believe that her diet is one of the reasons she is still strong, healthy and happy.
Joey has had some tough times but has transitioned well and become a much loved member of this family (even by all of her bratty dog cousins). I hope that she feels the love and never remembers any of the pain of losing her original people or the confusing and noisy time at the humane society.