Within a year of Skippy’s arrival, it began to be obvious that she would be better off with a companion her own size, even though she fits in very well with the other two.
She is surprisingly intelligent and trainable and this has to be her Pinscher genes, because if there is one thing I have to admit about daxies, as much as I love the breed, they are not exactly candidates for MENSA, and their stubbornness and single-mindedness make them difficult to train.
She loves chasing a ball, but this has to be done in the house as Pixie considers all thrown balls to be her property. It took only one “snarge” (Tasha’s name for the Rottweiler Rush which includes a snarl of rage) for Skippy to learn to let Pixie have it. She is very much a Little Dog with a Big Attitude, but she is well aware that Pixie weighs 40 kg while she is not even a tenth of that.
Pixie did invite her to play tug-of-war with the mother-of-all-ropes, but when Skippy grabbed the other end, Pixie gave the rope one good shake and Skippy flew through the air and hit the ground several metres away. Since which time, Skippy has not accepted the invitation again.
And when Pixie and Bess wrestle, she does her best to join in by clamping her little jaws onto one of Bessie’s hind legs. (Never Pixie’s, just by the way.) Occasionally, she and Bessie have a game of tag, but Bessie, though generally very gentle with her, is too big and fast and powerful, and Skippy soon throws in the towel.
I began to scroll through social media sites looking for another dachshund.
After a few weeks of searching I saw Casper, a really handsome little guy who was in a shelter in Pretoria, and something about him just tugged at my heartstrings. When I saw him a second time, just before we were due to go the Kruger Park, I phoned the shelter and asked them if they allowed adoptions outside their area, and they said they did. As my parents were now living in Pretoria, this was very convenient.
We went to meet him and discovered more about his history.
The original owners of Casper and his two companions, a boerbull and a maltese poodle, had emigrated and left them in the care of their adult son. He, however, eventually decided that they were more trouble than he was prepared to tolerate and brought them to the shelter, pretending that he had found them at his new house, where they had been abandoned by the previous owner. When the shelter manager took steps to follow up on this, the truth came out.
Although there were no signs of severe neglect or abuse, all three dogs were terrified and had obviously received unkind treatment. They had been in the shelter for just a month, and Casper was the first of the three to be more or less rehabilitated and ready for adoption.
Both Barry and I liked him, so the shelter arranged for a property inspection via contacts in the Uvongo district while we went off to the Park (our favourite place on earth).
A week later we picked him up and brought him home.
The poor little guy was fairly emaciated, with crusted ears and a rough, dull coat, very much like Mimi’s had been.
He was also very nervous. Even though he had bonded with me on the car trip home, and he was reluctant to let me out of his sight, I had to be very careful. I have a habit of stroking our dogs with my foot if they are lying down when I walk past them. Unthinkingly, I did the same thing to Casper and he leapt away from me in terror. I can only assume that he had been deliberately kicked on several occasions.
He was also frightened by the sound of raised male voices, so we have come to the conclusion that there had been plenty of yelling at him and his companions as well.
I took him to the vet for his inoculations and a test revealed a severe worm infestation, which explained his physical condition. His teeth were also in a bad way. The shelter had been told he was two years old, but our vet said that, according to the condition of his teeth, he was anything between four and six! He went in again the following day to have his teeth cleaned.
Yes, not a cheap adoption.
Because none of us felt that he was a ‘Casper’ we set about trying to find a name.
Once again a job and a half to find a name we all liked, (at least we were spared ‘Trixie’) and we decided to wait until we knew him better.
Inside the house, he was submissive and rather fearful and depressed, but when he followed me outside while I was gardening, a completely different side to his personality emerged.
Like Wolfie, he has a thing about chasing butterflies and dragonflies. As we have plenty of both in the garden, he was soon racing around, his tail up and ears forward and alert. And, just like Wolfie, he found chasing the shadows to be an easy way of tracking these insects.
It was now that we finally heard him barking and this led to his new name.
He produces a husky ‘wuff’ (which actually sounds more like the honking of a goose) and as he has prolonged sessions of these abrupt barks while chasing butterflies, he became Wuffy. (This is to rhyme with rough and tough, by the way. It is not Woofy, nor is it Woffy, folks. Barry drives me crazy with ‘Woffy’, even though I have, on numerous occasions, tried to assist him by kindly pointing out that the dog is Wuffy, like Fluffy and Muffy, not Woffy like Toffee. But whether his teutonic tongue cannot handle the vowel, or whether it is revenge for my consistent refusal to agree to any Trixies, he continues to woffle!)
Back inside, though, Wuffy would resume his depressed air and he had absolutely no clue how to play.
But, never fear, folks, Skippy was at hand!
She simply would not take ‘no’ for an answer. Shoving her wiggling behind with madly waving tail in his face and gently biting him, she constantly invited him to chase or wrestle, and very gradually he began to catch on. It is now two years later and they play together beautifully, having become the very best of friends. She growls ferociously while they play, and he nibbles her in a fit of affection, occasionally causing her to squeak with indignation when his teeth penetrate her coat. As he nibbles his humans in the same way, I can attest to the fact that I, too, have emitted indignant squeaks!
It also took him a while to warm up to the other humans in the house.
Tasha won him over with the utmost gentleness and affection, with plenty of cuddles and blankie-rubs (which he loves). While she was dog-sitting during our next Kruger Park visit, she discovered that he is just a little lost dog who needs direction. When she constantly told him what to do and where to go, he became quite happy and self-confident. He is now equally happy with Tasha in her flat as he is with me in the house.
With the men it took a bit longer.
He continues to have an issue with the sound of men’s raised voices and if either Barry or Dieter call out to me, he growls menacingly and even rushes at them to bark in their faces. Or he would if he were tall enough! And when he hears either of their cars arriving, he immediately begins to growl. Dieter defuses the situation by coming inside and greeting him in a high-pitched voice. He stops growling, looks a bit non-plussed and then wags his tail.
The odd thing is that he will peacefully sit next to Barry or Dieter on the couch, with his head on their laps while submitting quite happily to their displays of affection. Yet, the very next time they are out, the growling and barking procedure follows anew on their return.
He is also completely terrified of the fly zapper.
Those of you who are familiar with this weapon will know that it is a racquet-shaped fly swat with electrified strings. You wave it at the offending fly and press a button, and if you are quick enough, the fly gets zapped.
Wuffy turns into a trembling jelly with a tail tucked between his legs and his eyes goggling in fear and trepidation. You don’t even have to be using the zapper. Just the sight of it sets him off. (As an aside, Bessie also hates the zapper. When Tasha finds Bessie lying in her flat on her bedside mat, she knows the zapper is being used in the house. It would appear that the mat has magical protective properties.)
Quite amazingly, considering his very submissive nature, he is the only one of the three who knows how to deal with Pixie.
If he has something she wants, and she does her snarge, he simply avoids eye contact, hunkers down, turns round while holding grimly onto what he has, and then calmly, though ever so slowly, walks away with it.
Pixie stands dumbstruck. You can see her thinking: But it’s always worked before!
If ever we needed proof that though she is top dog, she is essentially extremely good-natured and unaggressive, this was it. Wuffy remains perfectly safe.
Once he had put on weight and developed a shiny coat, it was plain that he is a beautifully bred dog. He is certainly the most handsome daxie we have ever owned.
So perfect is he, that next to him, Skippy, who looked pretty much like a daxie before he came on the scene, now looks like some sort of mutant!
However, he has one terrible fault, which occasionally makes me wish I had never seen his photo.
Now most daxies dig. This is what they were bred for. (For those of you who might not know, ‘dachshund’ is German for ‘badger hound’. They were bred to hunt badgers.)
But Wuffy takes it to extremes.
He is an avid hunter of geckos and skinks, and when one disappears into a crevice or under a stone, or plant, Wuffy digs. And he digs fast.
As I have already mentioned, he loves chasing butterflies and dragonflies and also chases their shadows (yes, he and Wolfie would have had great fun together). But Wolfie understood that when the shadows disappeared, the dragonfly had flown out of reach, whereas Wuffy is convinced that the last spot he saw the shadow is where it has gone to earth. Like a fox. So he digs. Fast.
(When he is on the sundeck and he sees a dragonfly shadow, he chases it to the wall, and then he runs along the wall, snuffling and snorting furiously, for all the world like a crazed coke sniffer.)
And then there are the happy holes.
Whenever he is excited, such as when we have been out and have just arrived home, he is SO happy to see us, he simply cannot contain himself. He must rush out to dig a hole! A nice deep hole! At a speed which you cannot believe until you’ve seen it!
Dieter has come up with a perfect name for him: He is the Wuffinator - Wuffy the Terminator of the Garden.
My garden is full of the evidence of his activities and whenever I go out to do some gardening, I first have to dewuffinate (the official term) it before I can get on with my other tasks. As I find this exasperating (and on occasion, when something I value is badly damaged, very, very annoying), Wuffy, as sweet as he is, is a very high-maintenance dog. We have to be ultra-vigilant and simply cannot just let him roam free in the garden as the other dogs do.
But he is an exceptionally sweet-natured, affectionate and loving little dog, and in the evenings, when he lies next to me on the couch, with his head resting on my lap, looking so innocent and angelic, what can I do but forgive him?
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You forget to mention he is my dog! 🙂
In your dreams!