I am the proud, loving and occasionally anxious mother to five wonderful dogs. They are my joy and my purgatory.
I’ve been a fan of the dachshund breed since I was a child. Apparently I like a challenge. When I was a tiny child my running buddy was a stuffed dog named Hot Dog who was a dachshund. I had a red smooth coat little girl named Lotus who introduced me to the vagaries that make up a dachshund’s personality. Later Bree, a long haired black and tan, found her way into my life and taught me more about the breed. Last year my husband and I decided to bring a little girl named Abigail Rose into our hearts. She is a tiny mini long haired dapple dachshund. She is dachshund personified.
And from Day 1 in our home, Abigail bonded to Bree in a very primal way. My daughter, who is a veterinarian, strongly believes that breed recognizes breed. After seeing Abby and Bree together there is no doubt in my mind.
To me this is proven out by the fact that Abby listens better to Bree than she does to any human who tries to direct the flow of Abby’s life. Oh sure, she eventually deigned to eat her meals with the rest of the dogs, without a human family member watching and applauding every mouthful, and she eventually agreed to (mostly) go to the bathroom outside – as long as its not raining. Although at some point house-breaking became more about Abby imitating the other dogs than her actually listening to her humans.
When it comes down to it, Bree is the boss of Abby.
Bree is the alpha dog. She raised Jezebel and still won’t hesitate to nip at Jezebel’s legs if she thinks that Jez is being too rough with one of the other dogs. Watching a ten pound dog bring a seventy pound dog to her knees is always somewhat awe-inspiring. Especially if you’ve spent a day with teenagers. But this is not the only piece of Abby & Bree’s connection.
More than once I’ve asked another human in the house where Abby is – and a minute later, Bree will walk up with Abby in tow. Several weeks ago Abby escaped the back fence. All the dogs were sitting by the back gate so I knew that Abs had squeezed through that small opening between fence and gate. First I took Jezebel with me to look. That was pretty useless. Then I brought Bree out with me. Bree walked halfway down the driveway, stopped, barked and sure enough, Abby trotted up right away. This is after about 10 minutes of me yelling for her.
This morning again I couldn’t find Abby in the back yard. I checked all of her “usual” spots and she wasn’t there. I checked the chicken pen – didn’t see her. I checked the fence, checked the gate, checked any soft spots in the fence – nothing. I was getting nervous but the dogs weren’t indicating that she was out of the yard – and if any of the pack is not in the right place, the rest lest me know! So I started taking another lap of the back yard when Bree came back out, barked and voila’ Abby comes running out of the chicken pen!
Bree turned and walked back inside. This little dog just drips self-confidence.
I don’t have any explanation for this. I don’t know whether to be amazed or annoyed that Abby respects Bree more than her humans. In some ways I’m pretty impressed with their relationship. It is very much mother and daughter. Sometimes you can even see Abigail Rose testing Bree’s boundaries and Bree will look at me with eyes that say “see what I do for you” as she curls her upper lip at Abby to tell her to back down. I don’t understand why they bonded like they did. But I’m glad we put them together.
How does this apply to my yoga practice? Not in any linear way but there is nothing like a pet to to draw you into the present moment. My mind could be anywhere, I can be deep into work or cleaning but as soon as I hear the unmistakable sounds of my two dachshunds playing, I’m immediately drawn to watch them play and run and roll around, sounding like Velociraptors as they tumble; suddenly its become a very sweet moment, and the day becomes that much brighter.